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Self-sacrifice, the act of deliberately following a course of action that has a high risk or certainty of suffering or death (which could otherwise be avoided), in order to achieve a perceived benefit for certain others, is a powerful theme with a well established place in many cultures, myths, and societies. Self-sacrifice may also be more broadly defined as selflessness, or the readiness to inflict pain upon yourself to save others; it is this definition which, for example, Leo Tolstoy embraced and espoused.

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