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What Is Your Top Selfish Reason for Going to Professional School?

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What Is Your Top Selfish Reason for Going to Professional School?

  • Financial Security

    Votes: 57 22.0%
  • Love Biomedical Science

    Votes: 14 5.4%
  • Respect

    Votes: 26 10.0%
  • The Challenge of It

    Votes: 52 20.1%
  • Make Family/Friends Proud

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • Power

    Votes: 6 2.3%
  • Prestige

    Votes: 26 10.0%
  • No Other Good Career Options

    Votes: 12 4.6%
  • Multiple Selfish Reasons

    Votes: 53 20.5%
  • Other (post below)

    Votes: 11 4.2%

  • Total voters
    259

QofQuimica

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To go along with mafunk's thread about politically incorrect reasons for wanting to be a doctor, here is a completely unscientific but hopefully still interesting poll on the same topic. Hopefully all of us have some altruistic reasons for wanting to go into a health profession, but what is your biggest selfish reason for wanting to make the change?

For me, I guess I would have to say that I liked the challenge of it. If medicine were easy, everyone would do it, right? :)
 

Morsetlis

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This is literally the only job I can do.
 

6SAnthony

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I started off planning on doing a PhD in clinical psychology before deciding (late in the game) to go to medical school for psychiatry. Outside of the better fit and more in line with my interests, the prestige of being a "MD" and better money were the last reasons on my list but still they were there.
 

Nasrudin

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Power. But not over others. Just enough to not always be at the mercy of some ****ty office person.

As a trained doc. I'm either gonna have to screw up bad. Or somebody's gonna have to have a damn good reason to threaten me.

I can't stand bullies. Had my unlucky fill of them. My hard-earned skill set means that not just any bully on the block will be able to threaten my job security.

Once I'm board-certified of course.
 
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n3xa

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So I can whip and mold the next generation. They will learn a lot, work their asses off, show up on time, be respectful and most importantly, humble. I can't give students credit for tasks they did not complete.

I'd probably do just that no matter what field I'm in.
 

FiremedicMike

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I'm tired of getting out of bed at 3am and going out into the cold, freezing rain, only to take care of someone who refuses to take care of themselves and insists I transport them to the ER.

Subtract the "cold freezing rain" and add $100,000 per year and it makes it more palatable for me. Plus my interests within medicine are such that I would avoid a good chunk of these people.
 

LifeTake2

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I'm hoping to find a trophy wife and upgrade :)

JUST KIDDING!!!
 
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dsoz

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Many many years of being a high school teacher kinda burns you out. I want to rewrite the story of my life and learn something new. Maybe interact with some adults for a while.

Oh ya, doubling or tripling my salary would be nice (I will still be ahead even after student loans... I hope).

The intellectual challenge also sounds good right now. I had a pre-med advisor tell me that I should take some science classes before applying to show that I don't have brain damage... I told her that I teach high school, of course I have brain damage. Ha Ha.

dsoz
 

Chip N Sawbones

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Medicine or slog around in the mud building houses? Hmmm, let me think... Oh, right, there aren't any jobs building houses anymore. I guess the only choice for me is medicine.
 

Morsetlis

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Am I the only one that chose no other good career options?

Cause I can only do medicine :(
 
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mauberley

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"I became a doctor for the same four reasons everybody does: chicks, money, power, and chicks."
 
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stefspets

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My top reason is the challenge. But respect and financial security are on the list, as well (though farther down).
 

theseeker4

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In no particular order: the challenge of the job, I want to be in a position where I am the farthest in expertise and training available, yet never run out of new things to learn. The financial security, which will be present in medicine for quite a while still under any reasonable prediction of the near future. The respect of being a doctor, being the one in charge of patient care, consulting with equals as needed but not always "under" someone else as a mid-level has to be. Possibly most importantly, the fact that I got it in my head years ago that I wanted to be a doctor, and despite trying other things, nothing has come close to changing my mind about it.
 

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I don't think I have a selfish reason. I am pursuing medicine because I believe it is the right career choice for me and my abilities.
 
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Nasrudin

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I don't think I have a selfish reason. I am pursuing medicine because I believe it is the right career choice for me and my abilities.

Well OK. But it ain't the zen in anyone that keeps them pushing along up the hill. In this game one feels the loss of academic points and squandered opportunities to impress like punches to the throat.

Unselfish. Ha!

Well. I suppose it's possible.

Maybe I'll try it.

The lord wants me to kick @ss in academics and climb to the top of this mountain. Who am I to deny his grace. For god and country lads. Heave ho!

Maybe there's something to that sort of bland certainty.

In any case. Nasrudin's consultation with the baby jesus has his money on tidal waves of would be suits crashing the gates of medicine--the one last golden candybar wrapper. The last pass into the now Willy Wonkaesque upper middle class.

On the subject of rational self interest. Somewhat...
 

malpractician

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Ever seen Malice? "I am god"

But really, probably the combination of science meeting humanity. There's something very visceral about that, and I like it.
 

n3xa

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"I became a doctor for the same four reasons everybody does: chicks, money, power, and chicks."


Ixnay on the Snoopy tie, future pediatrician. :p
 

Lubeckd

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where is helping society? It's called professional school for a reason, it's deemed --needed-- for society.
All of those reasons are good, but Im probably doing it for respect.
 

Spears56

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I grew up in a house with the electricity and water always going off... So I am not doing that again! Financial security is a must!:thumbup:
 
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QofQuimica

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simondiamond said:
I don't think I have a selfish reason. I am pursuing medicine because I believe it is the right career choice for me and my abilities.
Sorry, dude(tte), you don't get off that easy. Everyone has a selfish reason for going to professional school. Your selfish reason is that you want to do it because it's what you like. So you either fall in the "love biomedical science" category, or else "love the challenge of it," depending on why you think medicine is the right career choice for you. I'm guessing "love the challenge of it" since you say it's a good match for your abilities.

Nasrudin said:
In any case. Nasrudin's consultation with the baby jesus has his money on tidal waves of would be suits crashing the gates of medicine--the one last golden candybar wrapper. The last pass into the now Willy Wonkaesque upper middle class.
It's a golden *ticket*, not a golden candy bar wrapper. A golden candy bar wrapper would be way too obvious to the casual observer. Sheesh.

where is helping society? It's called professional school for a reason, it's deemed --needed-- for society.
It's not there because helping society is not a selfish reason.
 

Nasrudin

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Sorry, dude(tte), you don't get off that easy. Everyone has a selfish reason for going to professional school. Your selfish reason is that you want to do it because it's what you like. So you either fall in the "love biomedical science" category, or else "love the challenge of it," depending on why you think medicine is the right career choice for you. I'm guessing "love the challenge of it" since you say it's a good match for your abilities.


It's a golden *ticket*, not a golden candy bar wrapper. A golden candy bar wrapper would be way too obvious to the casual observer. Sheesh.


It's not there because helping society is not a selfish reason.

Yeah. I f'd that up. I do cross check my metaphors sometimes. Using the google. But. These are the things that comprise my mediocrity. Selfish as it is. I like watching movies in my underwear too much. To be awesome. I'm selfish like that.

That's the irony some of the posters seem to miss. None of us are pure reflections of god. Doing all things with selfless intent. Solemn and exact in purpose.

The mind of the extremely successful climber of mount medicine. Is typically deficient of some form of contentedness. Some need to fill some void. To be loved, respected, appreciated, thought smart, etc. Looonley dooork...(50's melody for lonely girl...)

Nobody pays these dues for free. There's a take. An envelope with specified billage. Tucked in the pocket at regular intervals. One big greasy machine. Even the fundamentalists get theirs in salvation.

That's why I like this thread. It acknowledges us. As maggots. All.
 

TriagePreMed

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Anyone that claims they don't have some selfish motivations is just plain lying. The problem is when you only have selfish motivations to do it.
 

Morsetlis

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Anyone that claims they don't have some selfish motivations is just plain lying. The problem is when you only have selfish motivations to do it.

I can't believe anybody going into medicine would have only selfish motivations.
 

notbobtrustme

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No other career provides the stability and financial security that medicine offers.

Looking 10 years out, there's nothing I could reasonably do that would provide for my family as well as medicine can. It's as simple as that. America has spent the last 20 years gutting the middle class and the end result is that the good, decent jobs are few and far between.
 

Gigantron

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Where's the "Chicks, money, power, and chicks" option? :confused:
 

Nasrudin

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Anyone that claims they don't have some selfish motivations is just plain lying. The problem is when you only have selfish motivations to do it.

Agreed. Some function of the soul that is less involved the mundane imbroglio of our existence is properly commissioned to engineer positive interactions.

But the conception of selfish descriptors versus non selfish. Is not sufficient to manage the problem. The amount of social conditioning getting put down to get to and to do well in medical school is astounding.

It's best understood as a pathological state. And loathing it's metastasis into the self. Is an inadequate and ineffective response. As I've come to figure out.

Putting out some love to my fellow wretched travelers is the only that has felt better to me. Since beginning to wander here.

Edit. One other thing that helps amalgamate the positive is choosing people to be around--wherever possbile--that have that inexplicable effect on you. For example, medical culture says gravitate to the most successful person and emulate. Whereas I say pick the person who can make you laugh. And feel relaxed. Whoever facilitates you being the you that you would be without all the incessant pressure.
 
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lsu hopeful

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My selfish reasons: (1) the feeling I get from knowing I directly helped an individual in a substantial way, (2) the challenge keeping me on my toes regularly, (3) professional stability (how ironic is it that you go through some of the most unstable years of your life to reach that stability)
 

simondimond

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I'm shocked at some of these responses.

I would think that as a non-trad you can't argue that the reason you are pursuing medicine is for selfish reasons. I am putting my life on hold to go back to school and to go to med school.

I would argue that pursuing medicine is the opposite of selfish.
 
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mauberley

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I'm shocked at some of these responses.

I would think that as a non-trad you can't argue that the reason you are pursuing medicine is for selfish reasons. I am putting my life on hold to go back to school and to go to med school.

I would argue that pursuing medicine is the opposite of selfish.

No one here has said their only reason is selfish, but that we have some reasons that are selfish.

I hope you're not judging us for being honest.
 

wholeheartedly

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It's not there because helping society is not a selfish reason.



I had a guy in one of my classes debate the instructor for an hour about how there is no such thing as a purely altruistic act. Just doing something because it makes you feel good could be considered selfish. Instinctively I rebel against that idea, but I think there is a little bit of truth to that.

Take mine, I like the feeling helping someone else gives me. I'm definitely benefitting there and serving my own interest while serving someone else's.
 

Nasrudin

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I had a guy in one of my classes debate the instructor for an hour about how there is no such thing as a purely altruistic act. Just doing something because it makes you feel good could be considered selfish. Instinctively I rebel against that idea, but I think there is a little bit of truth to that.

Take mine, I like the feeling helping someone else gives me. I'm definitely benefitting there and serving my own interest while serving someone else's.

Right. It's perfectly health to have some self-interested objectives.

Funny though. In this thread. That the missionary mind cannot see it's own corruptibility. I propose that the selection bias for medical school candidates ups the dosage of this active ingredient in our collective.

This thread is one of my all-time fave's.
 

Rexasaurus83

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power. But not over others. Just enough to not always be at the mercy of some ****ty office person.

As a trained doc. I'm either gonna have to screw up bad. Or somebody's gonna have to have a damn good reason to threaten me.

I can't stand bullies. Had my unlucky fill of them. My hard-earned skill set means that not just any bully on the block will be able to threaten my job security.

Once i'm board-certified of course.

amen.
 

QofQuimica

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Anyone that claims they don't have some selfish motivations is just plain lying.
Or just lacks insight.

No one here has said their only reason is selfish, but that we have some reasons that are selfish.
This.

People are complex. We all have multiple reasons for doing everything we do. As I said in the OP, hopefully we all have at least some altruistic reasons for going to professional school. However, we all still have some selfish reasons as well. Acknowledging this is actually a strength, not a weakness. It forces us to go beyond the superficial explanations of why we want to be clinicians, and deep dive into the core of what it means for each of us to become a health care professional. It also provides us with the means of potentially avoiding hubris because of lack of awareness of the potential conflicts that could arise between our selfish motivations and patient interest. What I mean is that most of us aren't setting out along this path with the intent of putting our own interests above those of our patients, or becoming miniature despots to our subordinates. So why do some of us end up doing those things, then?

I had a guy in one of my classes debate the instructor for an hour about how there is no such thing as a purely altruistic act. Just doing something because it makes you feel good could be considered selfish. Instinctively I rebel against that idea, but I think there is a little bit of truth to that.

Take mine, I like the feeling helping someone else gives me. I'm definitely benefitting there and serving my own interest while serving someone else's.
This is almost a Kant-like kind of argument, that the only moral (altruistic?) acts are the ones that are done out of a sense of duty and not out of natural inclination. I don't take that view. I would argue that the reason you like the feeling of helping someone is because you know you are acting virtuously. In other words, your feeling is the result of doing what you know to be good, not the cause of it. It also helps that you aren't a sociopath. ;)

This thread is one of my all-time fave's.
Glad I could oblige you. Though I'm not nearly as cynical as you and Job are.
 

dmf2682

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Catch my sister in the degree race. Until she got her PhD this past may we were tied at two bachelor's and a masters. I can tie with an md or beat her with an md/ms program. I'm looking at you, case western!
 

Nasrudin

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Or just lacks insight.


This.

People are complex. We all have multiple reasons for doing everything we do. As I said in the OP, hopefully we all have at least some altruistic reasons for going to professional school. However, we all still have some selfish reasons as well. Acknowledging this is actually a strength, not a weakness. It forces us to go beyond the superficial explanations of why we want to be clinicians, and deep dive into the core of what it means for each of us to become a health care professional. It also provides us with the means of potentially avoiding hubris because of lack of awareness of the potential conflicts that could arise between our selfish motivations and patient interest. What I mean is that most of us aren't setting out along this path with the intent of putting our own interests above those of our patients, or becoming miniature despots to our subordinates. So why do some of us end up doing those things, then?


This is almost a Kant-like kind of argument, that the only moral (altruistic?) acts are the ones that are done out of a sense of duty and not out of natural inclination. I don't take that view. I would argue that the reason you like the feeling of helping someone is because you know you are acting virtuously. In other words, your feeling is the result of doing what you know to be good, not the cause of it. It also helps that you aren't a sociopath. ;)


Glad I could oblige you. Though I'm not nearly as cynical as you and Job are.

Job the Abrahamic figure? hmmm. The reference is lost on me.

But this is how I'm catching your drift.

There's very little of substance we disagree about. Except elements of style. Which include choices in preferred habitats. You are familiar with some things I remain deliberately and self-satisfyingly separated from. You take this as being cynical. Because I ascribe darker motives to the sources of power and culture of our lovely lady of medicine. She is more hopeful to you. Sinister and corrupted to me. But this is criticism of the cultural mind. If that's cynical, fine, I'll take it. But keep in mind this entirely separate from how I deal with individuals. Aside from showing up to a job interview in full introspective demolition, wearing cloth diaper and munching locusts. I have not had a cross word with anyone.

I derail further.

I just read an article on the reopening of some international criminal cases against lower level prison guards of Nazi death camps. The idea of motives and the influence of corruptive culture fascinate me. The presence of powerful sociopaths is one thing. But the corruption of weaker minds under the influence of culture is far more disturbing to me. That there are those among us who if not masterminding Mengele-like experimentation might be the guy who works in the operating room. Or taking the vital signs. And so on.

My cynical opinion of medicine is in this context. That at every turn a robust immune response against corruption is undermined. From inside of our minds in the womb out.

Why do they praise narrow forms of achievement such that we climb over each other to grab the carrot. And then turn around and wonder why we turn into hardened spirits?

This is not the work of individuals. But the lack of individual resistance to the greater cultural mind.
 

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Yes, yes, yes...I can identify with/agree with all these responses. I want the respect (to command it really), to be a leader, to have job security/flexibility/options, to be challenged, the adrenaline rush (hopefully ED), etc. and to make good money of course! :)

Good luck to all!

And, I completely acknowledge and agree that my pursuing this is selfish. I am putting/will continue to put my family through some tough **** in the next 10 years. Absolutely selfish. In the long run, I know that it will pay off and we will all lead better lives for it. I also know that my patients will benefit from having me as their physician and so I believe this whole undertaking of pursuit will be a win-win scenario, in its most positive sense. This belief and understanding is what's pushing me.
 
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n3xa

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If I didn't I would turn into TigerMom(TM).
 

kevinnbass

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Women. As far as selfish reasons are concerned, it's all about women. Barring those altruism-is-really-selfishness arguments.
 
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Or just lacks insight.

Probably a lot of this. I think people are unwilling to reflect on those things (or just uncomfortable doing so) because they're afraid of what they might see. Sometimes it seems like people are trying so hard to convince others that their motivations are good that they forget it's human and okay if they have other motivations as well.

I do think some of the people that wind up frustrated with medicine might have been one's who didn't really try to identify what their true motivations were and figure out if medicine could really satisfy those.

Wanting to help people is great, but there are so many things interfering with your ability to do that it's going to be rough if that really is your only motivation. I can see that just in my job. You bust your butt trying to help someone and they still don't make it.
 

Morsetlis

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Women. As far as selfish reasons are concerned, it's all about women. Barring those altruism-is-really-selfishness arguments.

I don't get it. Women? Really?
 

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Being poor and obscure is not conducive to obtaining the company of beautiful, stimulating women. Being wealthy, powerful, and good at what one does is. Even when I put on the mask of pride, it is only a mask of servitude to great women.
 
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dmf2682

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Being poor and obscure is not conducive to obtaining the company of beautiful, stimulating women. Being wealthy, powerful, and good at what one does is. Even when I put on the mask of pride, it is only a mask of servitude to great women.

No offense but you should just grow a pair. All women are looking for is self confidence. Be happy with who you are and what you do and you'll find one. Don't need to be a doctor.
 

theseeker4

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This is almost a Kant-like kind of argument, that the only moral (altruistic?) acts are the ones that are done out of a sense of duty and not out of natural inclination. I don't take that view. I would argue that the reason you like the feeling of helping someone is because you know you are acting virtuously. In other words, your feeling is the result of doing what you know to be good, not the cause of it. It also helps that you aren't a sociopath. ;)
I guess it depends on how you define altruistic. To play devil's advocate, if you define altruism as doing something that has more concrete, tangible benefits to another than it does to yourself, then yes, altruism exists. If you define altruism as doing something entirely to benefit someone else, with no regard to any positive effect on yourself, I would argue altruism is mythical. Even one who sacrifices themselves to help another, such as trying to save a drowning stranger, does so because for them, the risk to their life is worth the opportunity to help. At the moment the decision is made, the person trying to save the drowning stranger decides that they would rather take the risk of their own death to try to prevent the death of the stranger, and that the negative consequences for them would be greater in their mind if they stood by and did nothing. Sure, the personal tangible benefits of not risking their lives is much greater than the personal tangible benefits of trying to save the stranger, but the internal costs of doing nothing are greater than the risk of doing something.

This brings up the question of why does something have to be "altruistic" to be virtuous? Isn't feeling good about helping others a virtue? Aren't there plenty of people who, judging by their actions, really don't care if bad things happen to others? I would argue, though, that the actions of those who want to help others are never truly altruistic, meaning done only for the benefit of another without any regard to their own benefit. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping others because you gain something from it; in fact having the mindset that helping others is a better use of your time than simply doing other things you enjoy is truly a virtue. I would simply argue it is not a completely selfless action, and the fact that one chooses voluntarily to do so proves that the internal benefits of helping and internal costs of not helping tip the balance toward the supposedly altruistic action.

Not sure if I was able to write this as clearly as I thought it, so if clarification is required feel free to ask.
 

Nasrudin

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I guess it depends on how you define altruistic. To play devil's advocate, if you define altruism as doing something that has more concrete, tangible benefits to another than it does to yourself, then yes, altruism exists. If you define altruism as doing something entirely to benefit someone else, with no regard to any positive effect on yourself, I would argue altruism is mythical. Even one who sacrifices themselves to help another, such as trying to save a drowning stranger, does so because for them, the risk to their life is worth the opportunity to help. At the moment the decision is made, the person trying to save the drowning stranger decides that they would rather take the risk of their own death to try to prevent the death of the stranger, and that the negative consequences for them would be greater in their mind if they stood by and did nothing. Sure, the personal tangible benefits of not risking their lives is much greater than the personal tangible benefits of trying to save the stranger, but the internal costs of doing nothing are greater than the risk of doing something.

This brings up the question of why does something have to be "altruistic" to be virtuous? Isn't feeling good about helping others a virtue? Aren't there plenty of people who, judging by their actions, really don't care if bad things happen to others? I would argue, though, that the actions of those who want to help others are never truly altruistic, meaning done only for the benefit of another without any regard to their own benefit. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping others because you gain something from it; in fact having the mindset that helping others is a better use of your time than simply doing other things you enjoy is truly a virtue. I would simply argue it is not a completely selfless action, and the fact that one chooses voluntarily to do so proves that the internal benefits of helping and internal costs of not helping tip the balance toward the supposedly altruistic action.

Not sure if I was able to write this as clearly as I thought it, so if clarification is required feel free to ask.

Yeah. This thing has a tendency towards semantics. That's why what interests me is always a real gutcheck situation. Even if hypothetical. The third reich has move into your town. Taken over the hospital/school. The deans/admins have all caved. Big surprise. Some strange physician wants to open an SS run wing for secret activities.

How many of your brown-nosing colleagues would do it if involved currying favor with the new power structure. Who would feel uneasy. Who would actively resist. Who would risk their life.

I look around at what is going into shaping the minds of physicians. And I vomit in my mouth at the spinelessness of it all. F'n rat race. And the making of rat minds.
 
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