One of the complexities involved with “love” and relationships is that often “selfless” acts are done for ultimately selfish reasons.
For example, the way —— was with certain men she had encounters with. The things she did may seem selfless and “for him,” but they were really all about her, they were for her, to feel in control, to feel power, to feel attractive, or wanted; all of which speaks to a craving or need in her. It may be “for” him, but it all about (and thus ultimately for) her, which is what actually makes it selfish.
Now, the situation is more complex when we look at —— and her mother. What —— did by helping her mother was obviously very selfless and out of an immense love. But what that kind of selflessness did in her was to make her focused more on herself outside of that situation. Because she was so occupied with selfless work when it came to taking care of her mother, and the lack of attention to herself (to her ego) through that work, it left a craving to get it outside of that situation, which is why when —— was not helping her mother, she was always so self-involved.
It is another example of the importance of how something is done rather than what is done. For while selfless acts end up being done, they are done by a person who does not really know how to do selfless acts selflessly, for they do not understand the truth of the self and ego they mistake for who they are.
Adherents of pragmatism do not see a problem with this because they have the attitude that a good deed is a good deed, and it does not matter the motivation behind it, just that it is done. The problem with it is that while —— might be doing selfless acts out of love when it comes to her mother, the fact that she is, in reality, incapable of doing selfless acts selflessly (because she is still so controlled by her ego, by its needs and cravings), which means that when she is out in the world, she acts selfishly and does not really love other people, because, as I have always joked, “it’s all about ——.” This is not good for ——, and it’s not good for those around her, and ultimately, it’s not even good for her mother.
This is why motivation matters, because as many “good deeds” are done regardless of the motivation, as many deeds will be done that are in-line with the motivation. And not only that, but the supposed good deed will not triumph over the long-term.
From my personal notes, 7/12/00