Your motive is the reason you do or say or think what you do.

A feeling is not a motive but you can turn it into one.  "I will do x for I feel I want to."  A motive is like, "I must wave to the neighbours or they will think I am standoffish." 

Philosophy says your motive is one of these: good, bad or neutral (neither good or bad or both which is the same thing). To do something with the intention of hurting another person unduly is to have a bad motive. To do something with the opposite intention is to have a good motive.

Only the personal reason you have for doing something decides which of the following categories you belong in.

There is altruism, doing good without wanting anything for yourself. This is sometimes called unselfishness.

There is egoism which is helping others and looking for benefits for yourself such as feeling good. It is helping others not to help them but because you enjoy it. It is one kind of selfishness.

There is egotism which will not do good. It is the other kind of selfishness.

Three options. There are three only. Only one of them is right.

There is good selfishness which is egoism. You help suffering John because you want to be good in your own eyes and not because he is suffering. And there is bad selfishness which is egotism. You help suffering John to help yourself to his cash.


Others have to take your word for it about your motives.

Love according to the altruist is intentionally sacrificing yourself to suffer for others and avoiding taking any pleasure in it. If you take pleasure regardless that is regarded as okay as long as it is not your fault. Altruists do selfless things so that others can have pleasure instead but if pleasure is so bad then how can it be right to give it to others? So you love others and not yourself.

With this nobody knows if you really don't aim for the pleasure you get.

By loving others the egoist means helping them because you love yourself and put yourself first. The egoist loves herself by doing good for them. She wants to see her reflection of herself and her happiness in them so she helps them.

The egoist only values herself alone because she can’t do other than that for the good is done for her pleasure and not for the other people. When you like something that is finding your own fulfilment in it. Just doing it is reward enough. It is not the act that matters to you but the gratification doing it gives you.

Love according to the egoist is not sacrificing yourself but making yourself happy through making others happy. You can’t make others happy unless you are happy yourself so it starts with putting yourself first. You want them to share in your happiness which makes you happier. So when the egoist seems to sacrifice she is doing it because it makes or keeps her happy and the egoist recognises that you cannot love others unless you love yourself. This is not real sacrifice.

The egoist generally never admits what he or she is so many egoists are classed as altruists! It is hard to tell.

The altruist will not advertise their selflessness either so you never know if they are the real thing or are egoists.

We see then there is no reliable never mind scientific test that tells for sure if anybody really has the motive you think they have.

It tells us they have a cover so we should assume they are for themselves more than they let on.

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