do people care?

This comment made on Karen’s blog made me think for a while.

When are you going to realise that people don’t actually care about each other, its a façade to allow the to extract benefits from each other.

Look closely at any time it appears someone is caring for someone else and cut it up into the basic motivations and reasons, look closer, do they do it because they choose to do it, or were trained to do it out of politeness as a child?

Question every small action… Teachings from parents, brainwashing from school, expectations and falsehoods creating the shell around the ghost, a totally perfect shell protecting a fearful ghost inside.

After some initial questioning, I think I disagree.

If you’re talking about a pet, then this might be the case: you train them, give them rewards and punishments, and they seem to be keen to see you, but in reality, perhaps they’re only looking for another treat.

To look at people in this way is to sell them short, I think.

From a Christian point of view, you would play the “made in God’s image” card from Genesis 1:26, and arguing that people are capable of relationship in a way that animals are not.

But even at a gut-feel level, this feels wrong. Even people who have been deeply wounded, and lack trust will still occasionally take a risk in a relationship, and dare to be worried enough about someone to do something without expecting benefit for themselves.

What do you think – agree or disagree?

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5 Comments

  1. I also disagree.

    The whole debate makes me think of all the stuff I learnt in psychology classes about altruistic behaviour. Long story short, many animals will help one another for no immediate gain themselves. Why? Psychologists think it’s because cooperation improves the whole group’s chance of survival.

    We’re not animals, and there definitely are a select few scheming humans who are solely motivated by what they can get out of people. But most of us have realised that getting along with one another makes sense — and genuinely caring certainly helps!

  2. I also disagree. There are people, and sadly times when care for someone is because of selfish gain, but in general I think it is something that is deeply built into the human makeup. I agree with Bargain Queen on the co-operation improving chances of survival, but I do believe that it goes deeper than that. Most of us can find at least another human being that we can identify with or “walk in their shoes”… and I would hate to credit most of my teachers and my parents with “teaching” me to care… Kath 🙂

  3. I think the person who made the orginal comment doesn’t believe in love.
    I think this is really sad.

    In the sermon today, the minister quoted C.S. Lewis: Lewis says that the only way to stop your heart getting broken is to put it in a box and not love anyone. But then your heart becomes dead.
    It is better to love and be vulnerable and get hurt than to have a dead heart.

  4. I am sorely tempted to agree, but have to concur with everyone else and disagree. It’s essentially an evolutionary argument – we only do what is require to advance ourselves, survival of the fittest, etc, and the product of a consistently secular worldview.

    You could argue that even we are appearing to be altruistic, we are really being selfish, because we are seeking a feeling of inner satisfaction that we can obtain by helping others.

    If you take God and/or community out of the equation, then I think the comment is alarmingly accurate. I think people do at times act in the interests of community, rather than the individual.

  5. While I agree that it’s wrong to say that people just do things because of a sense of what they can get out of it, it is important to remember that, at the heart of all mankind is sin. One good definition of sin is that, instead of letting God rule our lives, we all like to rule our own lives.

    When you translate that into the area of personal relationships, it means that our natural tendency is to serve ourselves, and not other people. Certainly, with God’s grace, we can overcome that, and followers of Jesus are called to be truly self-sacrificing and focused on serving others.

    But, the natural tendence of all mankind is to be their own boss, and that will lead to everybody making the world revolving around them. If this person has noticed that a lot of people, even those who appear to be helpful to others, are doing it to serve themselves, then they are noticing something that is quite real.

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