In my opinion, there are two main types of ambition, personal and global. Personal ambition is egotistical and aimed at increasing a person’s power, wealth, possessions etc. Global ambition is an ambition to perform acts which will be for the betterment of society. Of course, the world is not black and white and an individual’s intentions may lie somewhere in between.

Society, while praising the latter, seems to encourage the former. When we meet someone new, one of the first questions we are asked is “What do you do?”. What we do of course, is a product of our ambition. If we look at the views of the general population, our success in life is judged from our ability to accumulate wealth, power etc. and this is a direct indicator of the amount of personal ambition we have as individuals.

I personally would prefer the general population to judge (if they had to judge at all) individuals on their global ambition, for it is this ambition that the general population themselves benefit most from.

Agree/Disagree? Comments?

that reminds me somewhat of J.S Mill, in on liberty & Utilitarianism.
he the good man :slight_smile:

Well the awnser to “What do you do” can be one that reffers to global ambition as you put it. Example: What do you do? I’m in the peace corps… ect.

The reaction you get to the awnser of the question is the judge on where the person places his value in. Not in the question itself.

I would have to disagree with you. I don’t think society benefits from anybody’s ambition, personal or global. If you look at the Holy books, they have been one person’s ambition towards enforcing others to a certain perspective. Result? Religions! And what does religion do? Well for one it creates fanatics, more crimes I know are committed in the name of religion than anything else, etc. Those who don’t follow it, are they bad people? Not necessarily, they might actually be the good ones. It depends how good you are at heart. It’s the ones that DON’T believe in God who are bad because to them there will be no consequences to doing something bad. As to God, we don’t need religion to believe in God. God is a higher power, some Higher Justice that will still be there despite one’s belief or no belief in religion. God only sends us religion to become more humane. But do we? And God, He will still provide peace, hope and solace in times of adversity.

Personally, I believe that the most society ever benefits from is a person who lives his life responsibly, in the sense that he’s a good samaritan. Lives responsibly and sets the same example for others. Benefit has nothing to do with anybody’s personal or global ambition. Whatever. That’s what I believe.

P.S Did you see those termites on websites recently? They infiltrate everywhere, particularly our words and sit on them making links to their site or company, to make money for themselves. I am the one brainstorming here, who has given them the right to sit on top of my spoken word and make it a link to their interest? That is not just a violation of my rights but unethical too. Do they care? Nope! They are ambitious! Sooooooooooooo ambitious that when there is all this empty space on websites to put their add at, they will not do that! They choose our words to persuade the others and that messes MY WORK because it takes emphasis away from what I’m stressing to placing emphasis on their interests. Do they care about our benefit? NO! Their own benefit is the reason they sit upon our written word illegally! Who has given them this right that violates our rights? NEW AGE TERMITES! INVADING WEBSITES! *******:evil: Ambition, bringing another benefit? My Foot!

My message to these termites: GET OFF MY TERRITORY! AND NOW!

Obviously they know not how to co-exist together in a way that we don’t step upon another’s feelings or rights. By this I mean to say that these companies that have made links using our words in posts, they get out of our territory and start to advertise themselves in the empty space on this forum, away from the space enclosed within my writing. I don’t care how many adds I see, but I care if you’re going to sit on top of my written and brainstormed word and make money when I don’t! Do you think I’d like to put money in your pocket without you moving your butt? Huh? Why can’t we both win? In which case you have to remove your presence from my territory because I do not invade yours at all and make money. If I did that, let me assure you, you would not like that nor would you support it at all!

The links these companies have made from our written word here can only be seen from some computers, not all.

What do you guys feel about that?

Ben? I know I left but can I come back please! And I’m really sorry if I hurt your feelings.

And one day GOD owes me some explanations for something, not the other way round baby, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND!

Yes, that is what I was getting at, maybe I could have worded it better. My point was not referring to getting asked that question, but as you say, the reaction to the answer of that question and how we are judged from it.

An example:
Jill asking Bob, “What do you do?”

Scenario 1:
Bob: “I am an investment banker who earns 400K a year”
Jill: “Wow! Do you want to go out for dinner?”

Scenario 2:
Bob: “I am a philosopher who works part-time at pizza hut, which allows me to spend more time thinking about how to improve the world”
Jill: “Oh i see, bye”

Bob number 1 has plenty of personal ambition, but what he does not necessarily contribute anything of value to society. What he contributes to society is not what he is judged on though, he is judged on his 400K a year.

Bob number 2 has global ambition, he strives to make the world a better place for all. However, he is judged immediately on his lack of personal ambition (in a general case, if he said that to another who was more philosophically inclined, things might be different) and might even be branded a “loser”.

So you don’t think that society benefits from say, medical researchers, peace keepers, charity workers etc.? Of course it does. If it were not for people like these we would still be dying of plague, genocides would be allowed to proceed unopposed etc. If you think about it there are many, many examples where society has reaped the benefits of people with global ambition.

Some of these people may have some personal ambition, but I would say the overwhelming reason they got into such careers would be global ambition, a desire to contribute to the greater good. The point I am trying to make here is that it should be these people who get the praise and admiration from the general community, not the investment bankers who only work for their own personal interests.

You start going off on a bit of a tangent there about God and termites which I am not going to get into, it doesn’t really make much sense in the context of this discussion.

Reguarding the Bob’s,

The way I see it, a man who earns $400k/yr is in a better position to positively affect the world than one who makes, say 10k/yr at pizza hut. I say this because, like it or not, money does rule the world. While it may be true that a job at pizza hut “allows me to spend more time thinking about how to improve the world,” there is a very big difference between thinking and doing.

As an example, let’s say we want to help feed a group of starving people. 3/4 of $400k buys much, much more food than 3/4 of a pizza man’s salary (I’m thinking of my friend who gets tipped in nickels, dimes, and quarters). The money left over allows the richer man to live very well, while the pizza man may in fact be starving on 1/4 of his salary.

Sitting around thinking is overrated. Everyone knows that there are people who really need to be helped out; I don’t think the anyone needs to dedicate an overly significant portion of his life in study to recognize this. In the end, he can help more people, live comfortably, AND he gets the girl. To me, it’s a win-win.


You have a point. Sitting around thinking does not appear to accomplish much. However, it does and is very necessary. Do you think you can develop great ideas while you are going about your daily business? Do you think all the great scientific discoveries were made without sitting around and thinking?

Lets change Bob number 2’s occupation. Lets make him a clerk in a patents office for instance, not exactly a high earning job and its not about to get him enormous amounts of respect from the general community (or many shags for that matter). But in his spare time lets say he does a lot of sitting around and thinking and he comes up with the Theory of Relativity. Hmm…sitting around thinking is overrated? I personally don’t think so.

Anyway, we are getting off track here. Perhaps my example could have been worded better. Lets replace Bob number 2’s occupation again and make him a medical researcher. He is on a crappy wage because his research grant leaves a lot to be desired. However, he is investigating ways to cure cancer, AIDS [insert another debilitating/life threatening disease] etc and is making headway. Should he receive any less respect from the community than the guy who is earning 400K?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people having personal ambitions to earn as much money as possible, climb the career ladder etc. but I think that society’s definition of success and its dealing out of respect needs a little re-adjusting.

You’re right though, money does seem to rule the world. Shame that


Are you sure that you’re not confusing between ambition, and desire for the common good? I worked with a girl who was taking courses for being in a charity organization. I asked her did she like doing charity work, she said, "Oh! No! But there’s big money there. She’s also FAT! Would you not like me to say THAT even though she is fat? Would you also deny that was her ambition? You can’t, that’s selfish ambition to make money sitting doing not much.

Ambition does not always have to be selfish but it is almost always PERSONAL even when the world might be involved. As for medical research my dear, a professional researcher first and foremost sees his own interest and then society’s interest. But desire is free and does not have to be selfish because desire arises from the heart! Desire to do something or not can be born out of just wanting to help others or not. I don’t think Mother Teresa was ambitious but she had a great desire to help the needy! And Florence Nightingale, when she helped the needy, do you think that was ambition? No! It was just desire to do that, a desire from the heart. It’s people with desire in their hearts for the common good that help and not people who are ambitious.

Only DESIRE can help another not ambition because ambition is always personal. However within ambition you can have a person who has a desire to help. Then yes! You can say that others will benefit from this ambition. And don’t see who is aspiring for what ambition, see what he does when it’s fulfilled and you just might be a little shocked.

And no, people who have an ambition to climb Mt. Everest, become a teacher, charity worker, in the army, peace keeper, researcher, doctor, etc., they do not benefit society, only the ones that care also about society’s welfare do. People like Mosher, Loren Mosher do. He was kicked out of the psychiatric establishment in the US even though he was the head because he figured that schizophrenics did not need medication to improve their condition, loving company was the main requirement. He was kicked out by the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric establishment that received big money for research. Now! They’ll just keep the research going in a way that THEY benefit the most! Sure, in decades, some small discovery WILL come up, isn’t that to be expected? I just wanted to say that the ones that have a desire in them to care about society and its welfare, they are the ones who benefit society, not others. The rest are like the termites I talk about down below.

As to that termite thing, if you write a brilliant composition here and some company makes a link to their site from one of the words in it and their doing this makes your whole composition borshit because it takes emphasis away from the main point and lays emphasis on that word they have linked, how would you like that? Not only that they walk away with making money from your work too and you make zip! Again how would you like that? Go and open up this site from another computer if you can’t see the links from your own and then you’ll know what I’m talking about before you criticise me.

Firstly, that termite thing. I was only critising you because it had basically nothing to do with what we were talking about. I don’t really care about them personally.

Ok, I made a definition of global ambition is an ambition to perform acts which will be for the betterment of society, or in other words the common good.

The definition of ambition is: An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.

Seeing as we were talking about global ambition, which I defined above, i’ll replace it in your quote. So your sentence is basically saying: “Are you sure that you’re not confusing [A strong desire to achieve the common good], and desire for the common good?”. How can I confuse it if it basically means the same thing?

Your desire vs ambition argument doesn’t make any sense, because ambition is a desire to achieve something. So if you have ambition for the common good, that means you desire to achieve the common good. Mother Theresa had a desire to help the needy, thus she had ambition to help the needy.

Anyway, back to the point. I explicitly said that the world was not black and white and that each persons intentions would lie somewhere in between personal and global ambition. Your fat friend has personal ambition in my definition outlined in the first post i.e. I desire to obtain big money. I’m sure not everyone who works in charity organisations will have global ambition, but I would assume most would be sitting towards that end of the spectrum.

I think you are missing my point. I’ll repeat it again. Society seems to be set up to give admiration and respect to those who have personal ambition i.e. Those who work for their own good and not necessarily anyone else. I believe that society should give just as much, if not more, admiration and respect to those who have global ambition i.e. a desire to achieve the best they can for society. It seems only sensible that society in general should have the most admiration for those who contribute the most to it.

I find something mildly suspicious in general about the attitude of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were nice?” Sure it would. That has little to do with what actually happens.

The premise: “We should support people who are supportive,” is also a little obvious.

Ambition alone does not create our careers. It’s a strong influence but not excusive. Opportunity also plays a role. A person with mild ambition and a lot of opportunity can go far.

Its easy to talk about how society should be, should act, etc. How can you actually change society? Change is easy to envision, hard to implement.

Meliorism will likely never have the strongest influence on society.

I’m not missing any points NoelyG. “Ambition is a desire” that will lead to your becoming something. Desire to help the general public will not lead to your becoming something. See the difference? And where ambition’s aim is to become something, desire’s aim in helping does not aim at becoming something :smiley:

No utilitarians.— "Power against which much ill is done and meditated is worth more than impotence which encounters only good"—thus the Greeks felt. That is to say: they valued the feeling of power more highly than any sort of utility or good reputation.
– Nietsche

On a personal note: ambition for money, gives you a sense of pleasure and security, coupled with the feelings of greatness in the face of buying power.

Love, lust and alot of sexual experiences: future child security, which normally goes out the window in the future anyways, or turns into something you would never wish for.

Some more sex fetish’s… … im all out of ideas, my peace is my ambition. see/read you guys/gals when im back on the web waves hope my intellect enlighten’s your soul in times of inert ponderings.

Of course. I’m not about to try and kick off some sort of revolution though, as I am quite happy with my lot in life. I don’t see the harm in pointing out the injustices in society however. Are we just supposed to sit around and not comment on issues we don’t think are fair, just because they are hard to change? Everything is hard to change in society.

I never said anything about support, just admiration and respect.

However, you are right, this is just wishing in the wind. As long as it there is lust for power in general human nature, it is those who have it that will be admired, irrespective of whether they are actually doing anything good with that power.

You make some fine points here, I’m not sure if you have yet, I’ll read the other posts in a minute, but if you have could you extend this idea for me so I may have the same scope as yourself?

P.S, If it’s not much trouble, could you express your perception of the ambition to which you speak. Please I mean no offense, but ambition can be a goal, an aim, a desire, an appetite, aspiration, craving, drive, spirit, keeness, & a great many other things. :smiley:

These are good points & you’re right, but ambition does have a hand in shaping one’s carreer, as to say an individual with both unlimited ambitions & opportunities would become more successful in his venues then that of an individual with mild ambitions, & unlimited opportunities. If the individual had unlimited ambition & no opportunities he still would not be as successful. It appears both opportunity & ambition need to be present to succeed in either venue of life, personal or global. And the extent of the present of each is both neccasary & may determine an outcome of a sort. This is just me though, you can extend if ye like I’m sure I left something out!

You may point out the flaws of society as much as you want, but I can assure you, someone has already pointed out this flaw and nothing has been done. This is why action is respected, and questions of society such as this one seam pointless.

Obviously a problem such as this can only be solved by completely altering society and everyone’s way of life.

There are so many other problems also, and none shall be solved. We are forever prisoner to such problems as this, or at least until our lifestyles are drastically altered.

However, to attempt to take a stab at this question while ignoring that the solution you crave lies only in a much larger almost impossible task, I will tell you this…

It is unfortunate but reading, writing, philosophizing etc, are all out of style in this world amongst most. Of course some of us still realize the importance of such learning, but others find no need and are content not knowing the truths and potential change of the world.

That is why the woman would turn you down upon learning of your philosophy and low paying job. It does not fit her interests. She wants a man who, like her, is content with the world and would like to carry on living without much consideration for new ideals. Or perhaps she would love you for it, it all depends on the woman. But learning of anothers ambitions will help determine compatability.

Also, without aknowledgement by the people, why does a writer deserve credit from others? They have no idea what he is writing about, and it is only when his ideas are observed as revolutionary or helpful to society should he be given credit. By no right does a man deserve support from others for simply working on a project of his. It needs to be something great to gain support, and if his project IS great, only then should we aknowledge and realize the man deserves our support.

We leave it up to a publisher, or something of the sort, to bring forth into light those who deserve credit.

Bah…sorry for the length of the post.

You may point out the flaws of society as much as you want, but I can assure you, someone has already pointed out this flaw and nothing has been done. This is why action is respected, and questions of society such as this one seam pointless…

That was an excellent point, the entire post was (But it was a bit long!) :slight_smile: