Altruism

human1111

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Quahom1 said:
There are those who do things for others, yet receive no personal reward for those acts, unless you consider feeling "relief" from concern over another's welfare to be some sort of reward.
Perhaps. I mean reward does not have to be monetary! Reward could be a pleasant feeling, feeling of superiority, or even a good addition to a resume.

For example surving those who you consider great is a personal reward. Nobody would be a slave to a nobody. But if the Pope (or whoever famous such as a politician a sport or rock star) asked you to volunteer you would, because that is a reward for you.

I find nothing selfish or self serving from becoming concerned for another. In fact it seems to go against the very selfish nature of man.
There is nothing selfish about being altruist, as long as you are altruist. External motions mean NOTHING, a bank officer giving money - is he doing it out of altruistic intentions?

Do you consider wanting others to succeed, to be a selfish thought? Why do we cheer for the underdog when the underdog overcomes? Are we putting ourselves in their place, or are we just pleased to see them succeed?

All the world loves a winner, and adores they who refuse to give up regardless of the obstacles before them. We want them to win for their own sake. If by some chance we have the means to help them, then so be it. Alturists do not take inventory and declare "yep, they succeeded because of my contribution to their success". In fact I submit the true altruist does not even consider what impact (if any since that would be presumptuous and arrogant), they might have had.
This reminds me of a question as to why a person cries when someone dies.
World is full of suffering and impermanence, so much that death seems preferable to life.Why did people cry when Pope (or anyone else famous) died? I thought about this question and I got only one logical reason:
when you see someone else die, you unconsiously (or consiously) realise that the same fate will affect you, regardless of your status (rich or poor, janitor or CEO).

About cheering for winners and underdogs, maybe you do it because it conciously or unconsiosly reinforcing your egoism (if he can do it, so can I), or atleast it entertains you.

I would like to know if anyone can do this:
Work for no personal benefit which means following these (and maybe more)
parameters:
a) No monetary compensation
b) No fame or recognision of anykind
c)No reference for the resume
d) Not for Kamma or some sort of post mortem reward
e) No kind of "feeling good"
f) not working for someone famous
g) Not because someone forces you

My humble 2 cents.
 

path_of_one

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As I've said before, I do not think that feeling good after an altruistic act makes the act selfish. There is motivation, and then there is consequence, and the two are different. If one is motivated by the possibility of a feel-good response, the act is not purely altruistic. But if one is motivated simply out of concern for others, a consequence of feeling good after the fact does not negate the prior unselfish action. It is not logical to say that it does. Altruism is inherently about motivations, not consequences, since we can not ever fully foresee the consequences of our actions.

Secondly, I appreciate all the opinions that animals and other life-forms are without consciousness, or are extremely limited, etc., but the fact remains that we don't know. There are scientists and philosophers on both sides of the debate. Animals may be biologically motivated only, but I doubt it based on the behaviors I have seen. Preserving genetic material doesn't explain why many animals, both domestic and wild, have given their lives, time, and energy to helping people, which cannot possibly further their genes. Furthermore, there are instances of other interspecies altruism in which one species "adopts" an injured or orphaned young of another species and cares for it, expending its own time and energy that could be spent on procreation. Obviously, it isn't just about genes. Maybe it's about a nurturing drive or something, but that still begs the question of why some animals spontaneously decide to help out other species with no apparent benefit to themselves.

It is illogical to say that animals' altruistic acts are always instinctual, when they obviously are sometimes not (as in the above examples), or to say that animals' altruistic acts are for a feel-good response (as many have in humans) if one also is saying animals are limited in their emotionality and consciousness. Personally, I find no consistency in assuming other social animals are so different from humans, as all the studies I've read simply shows a continuum of more or less self-awareness and sociability (a continuum, by the way, that we find in finer gradations among humans). There is no clear dividing line between "them" and "us," at least in both my scientific and philosophic opinion. Of course, we are all of us biased by our religions/faiths and experience in the matter, and being a modern Druid, we interact with animals and the natural world a bit differently than many, I suppose. My experience has been that animals certainly think differently than us (how could they not- even we think differently from one another, and we have the same brain structure?), but there is emotion there, and reason (at least among certain primates, who are able to learn language among other things).

My inclination is to suggest that pure altruism stems from an emotional (or spiritual, if you like) response, and not a rational one. Rationally, altruistic acts would rarely be worth it. But in the numerous cases cited here, in the heat of the moment (and often there only is a moment for a decision to be made), emotion wins out. I don't buy that on a subconscious level we are weighing this and that reward in the seconds we often have to make decisions. After working on how people think about decision-making and their environment for a few years now, with scientists who have done it for decades, my admittedly ingracious conclusion is that people are not rational creatures. We are emotional ones. So my opinion would be that if we cultivate our emotional and spiritual response even further, becoming more compassionate, altruistic acts- acting for others' welfare rather than one's own- become more probable. I would extend this to animals- that animals are altruistic either because of instinct (as are we) or because of emotion (as are we), but not always because of only one or the other. Reason comes in to play when we have the time to ponder our possible courses of action, as in the case of charitable giving and such. Many decisions do not allow for this contemplative process.

Just my 2c.
 

Bandit

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Cerealkiller said:
Just a thought here. People often talk about giving their life as the greatest possible sacrifice. However, if you really consider it, choosing to die for another can be seen as a very selfish act. If someone were to take a man and his wife and tell them one of them would die and the other would live, choosing death would possibly be the more pleasant option. Consider, if he lets his wife die, she moves on to whatever occurs after death. The man is left to mourn her, to feel bad for letting her die, and all those other unpleasant situations. If he chooses to die, his suffering simply ends. death is not always a bad thing compared to the potential for a life of suffering over the loss of a loved one. Hence, grieving to death, risking your life for your children or other loved one, aren't truly altruistic. Death may be better than the shame of not trying.
well you can see it that way, but there is another way to see it. when one lays down there life so that another or others may have a longer life or escape death, then there is no greater love than that.
suicide is usually selfish, but not laying down your life for someone else to have life, which I believe there is no greater love than that.
 

Quahom1

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kabbalah said:
...To anyone who thinks that there is altruism in this world, I challenge you to perform one act of altruism without thinking about yourself at all. Try to do just one thing with no calculation of feeling good about yourself. You'll find it is not possible.

Altruism does exist however. God is 100% altruistic and created us to be 100% egoistic. It is possible to become altruistic only if God gives us a second nature: the will to bestow. Kabbalists who acheive this have written books telling us that once one acheives this second nature, they are able to sense the spiritual world, which is pure altruism, but only to the degree that God has corrected their egoism. They leave books to teach us how we can too reach altruism.
Apparently you have answered your own question, and there are many out in this world who have achieved this second nature, with or without Kabbalistic assistance. Therefore there is altruism in this world, just not of it. ;)

v/r

Q
 

JonMarc

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Quahom1 said:
Apparently you have answered your own question, and there are many out in this world who have achieved this second nature, with or without Kabbalistic assistance. Therefore there is altruism in this world, just not of it. ;)

v/r

Q
very well put:D
 

Cerealkiller

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"Or before he dies, he greives for what he will never have, then has to suffer the ignoble act of being murdered as well. No, your concept doesn't fly. "


I don't know about you, but I have no fear of death. I would much rather be dead than see my loved ones die and live with the pain.



To me the case against altruism is fairly basic. People only ever do what they want. You cannot do something you don't want to do, because you must will something before you enact it. Therefore, every action you take follows your own will. Fulfillment of your will is the essence of egoism. All actions are then egoistic. I don't see anything wrong with this, however, as many people have a good will. Any intelligent egoist know that it is almost always in his best interest to protect and defend others, because it creates a culture of protection and defense.
 

Bandit

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for some reason, some are only seeing one side of this. people do a lot of things they may not really want to do to make things better & just the opposite some do what they want to make things worse.

i have to do & deal with a lot of things against my own will.
it is a very good topic, but I can see both sides or all ten sides (so to speak):)
 
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