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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Philosophy is Phun Blog # 57 – Sacrifice

With Thanksgiving’s passing, it is important to realize how fortunate we are and we need to make sure we pass on this blessing by sacrificing for others. I have in the past done a video on sacrifices where Tommy and I discussed the decision making process in regards to sacrifices. I ultimately believe the concept of altruism is nonexistent. I believe that every action is motivated with some sense of selfishness because every action you take has a direct implication on your life and well being. While you can say that sacrificing your time to help out someone else, you are still getting something out of that. You are bettering your relationship with that individual you sacrificed for because they respect you for being there to support them. They could also potentially owe you a favor or you are returning the favor for a past deed. Regardless of the scenario, you can almost always find something that you will benefit from if you sacrifice something else. That being said, sacrificing for others is an important part of life because you are helping others achieve success and opportunities that they probably wouldn’t be given otherwise.

This brings me to another point about opportunity costs. As I mentioned in the podcast a long time ago, sacrifices are essentially opportunity costs because you are giving up one thing in favor of another. There isn’t enough time in the day to be able to do everything that you could possibly want to do regardless of if you were to sacrifice or not. Sacrifices also don’t have to just be done externally onto other individuals. In fact, most of your sacrifices in life will be done to better yourself in some form. Think about it this way, there are different priorities and goals that we all have in life and depending on their importance, we will most likely give up or make adjustments that will allow us to better complete said goals. I get the feeling that most of the times sacrifice gets a negative connotation because when you hear the word sacrifice, most people automatically assume you must give up something you enjoy to make way for something that is important but may not necessarily make you happy. This is a reasonable assumption however because why would you be doing something unenjoyable in the first place way before it came time to give it up as a part of a sacrifice. The example I used in the podcast before was giving up videogames in order to study or do homework. You sacrifice the entertainment that videogames provide you in order to become better educated and better prepared for your next exam and thus a better grade.

It doesn’t always have to be like this scenario (what many people would call a win-lose situation) and there can be possible benefits for making a sacrifice that are unforeseen. There are literally unlimited amount of events that sacrifices are applicable to but one sacrifice you could think of that provides win-win benefits is breaking a drug addiction. While you may think initially that the withdrawal side effects of ending an addiction are a negative, you save your health, time, money, and relationships in the long run that continuing to do drugs would have never afforded you.

This brings me to my next point about the difference between long term and short term implications and consequences of a sacrifice. The results of a particular sacrifice may never be seen for years to come while in other situations you can potentially see immediate results. I believe that the quicker you can visibly and clearly see the difference that your sacrifice is making, the more likely you will be willing to make that sacrifice, depending on the benefits of course. We live in an age where immediate satisfaction has become a necessity with the proliferation of things like the internet. We need to see the effects of what we’re doing right here and right now or else we get antsy and impatient. If we can’t see the results of the sacrifices we’ve made within a short duration of time, people can get the feeling that their sacrifice is useless and they could potentially be giving up something they really enjoy for no reason at all. This is why many people can’t finish diets. They give up tasty but fatty foods in order to get a healthier palette but it takes a while to lose weight and get in shape so in the short term they perceive themselves as only giving up something they cherish while getting nothing in return. I ultimately believe that sacrifices are a necessity in life because they allow us to prioritize our actions and goals more effectively through a focused lens and really allows us to direct our lives down the most desirable path.

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