Jump to content

Altruism - The Ultimate Selfishness


deathdawg
 Share

Recommended Posts

Altruism is the ultimate selfishness. This seems on the surface to be a paradox, but with closer investigation we find that even science lends support to the theory. For example, in our current society we see that people that end up getting favors from those who they may not have even helped directly due to their personal sacrifices. This phenomena is what has been the basis to the "what goes around comes around" cliché as well as the "it is better to give than receive."

Speaking from personal experience, altruistic acts have improved my quality of life. There are also scientific studies on patients who have offered altruistic deeds to those in similar or worse dilemmas. These studies show increased improvement in the "giver's" confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, and a reduction in their depression and stress levels. I think it is directly linked to the change of perspective. When you are sick and focused in on your own sickness, it tends to compound the problem. Reality can easily be distorted and the situation can seem much worse than it actually is. When we are confronted with this situation and use altruism, our point of view can change. Anytime we see a person that is worse off than we are, and we reach out to that person driven by our empathy, we see ourselves in a different light, usually a clearer light with less distortion. This leads us to the realization that "hey, maybe my situation is not as bad as I thought" and our own well being has benefited from our altruistic deed.

Also while we are stressed, depressed or otherwise overwhelmed we usually do not feel much like we are capable of an altruistic deed. But science has shown that if we are able to overcome this, that a part of our brain is activated that is associated with positive feelings. I have experienced this myself as well. So it is my opinion, based on personal experience and SCIENCE, altruism is beneficial to MYSELF, possibly more than it is to the person for whom I did the deed.

Not only does altruistic acts benefit the giver and receiver, but you often motivate the receiver to do altruistic deeds for others, and this phenomenon grows. It can also effect people not in that chain of events, just by them witnessing the altruistic deed they gain a motivation to pass it on to someone else!

A pretty wise man once said You must be the change you want to see in the world." While I do not subscribe to hinduism, judaism, islam or the christian belief systems they all seem to have this one belief in common. I think it would behoove anyone to investigate the benefits of altruism before discarding it so easily as heresy.

I was wondering if those that are against altruism (Egoist) would post the benefits of an anti-altruistic attitude.

This is a commercial I saw recently, while I don't necessisarily endorse the Insurance Company, the underlying theme is altruism and it's effect (over simplified). Enjoy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its my belief that altruism is not real.

First off....someone's innate instinct, if held in a cell and starving, is to eat the food presented to them...not give it to their loved ones. Would a mother give the food to her child? Yes, usually....but not after first, if just briefly, contemplating eating it herself.

Secondly...any person that is willing to help someone at the expense of themselves(altruism) does in fact seek to do so, in part, to achieve the feeling it gives them when they help others.

Altruism only exists in some of Earth's creatures...usually Eusocial insects, and thats it. Humans, and our "higher" understanding, contemplate how helping someone else would achieve a goal for ourselves...not for the greater good.

This of course can be debated all day...that is the fun in talking about ethereal subject matters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: "No." Altruism says: "Yes."

It is your mind that they want you to surrender all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: "It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others" end up by saying: "It is selfish to uphold your convictions, you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others."
Now there is one word a single word which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand the word: "Why?" Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given.

It is only mysticism that can permit moralists to get away with it. It was mysticism, the unearthly, the supernatural, the irrational that has always been called upon to justify it or, to be exact, to escape the necessity of justification. One does not justify the irrational, one just takes it on faith. What most moralists and few of their victims realize is that reason and altruism are incompatible

Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?

The answer you evade, the monstrous answer is: No, the takers are not evil, provided they did not earn the value you gave them. It is not immoral for them to accept it, provided they are unable to produce it, unable to deserve it, unable to give you any value in return. It is not immoral for them to enjoy it, provided they do not obtain it by right.

Such is the secret core of your creed, the other half of your double standard: it is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others it is immoral to consume your own product, but moral to consume the products of others it is immoral to earn, but moral to mooch it is the parasites who are the moral justification for the existence of the producers, but the existence of the parasites is an end in itself it is evil to profit by achievement, but good to profit by sacrifice it is evil to create your own happiness, but good to enjoy it at the price of the blood of others.

Your code divides mankind into two castes and commands them to live by opposite rules: those who may desire anything and those who may desire nothing, the chosen and the damned, the riders and the carriers, the eaters and the eaten. What standard determines your caste? What passkey admits you to the moral elite? The passkey is lack of value.

Whatever the value involved, it is your lack of it that gives you a claim upon those who don't lack it. It is your need that gives you a claim to rewards. If you are able to satisfy your need, your ability annuls your right to satisfy it. But a need you are unable to satisfy gives you first right to the lives of mankind.

If you succeed, any man who fails is your master; if you fail, any man who succeeds is your serf. Whether your failure is just or not, whether your wishes are rational or not, whether your misfortune is undeserved or the result of your vices, it is misfortune that gives you a right to rewards. It is pain, regardless of its nature or cause, pain as a primary absolute, that gives you a mortgage on all of existence.

If you heal your pain by your own effort, you receive no moral credit: your code regards it scornfully as an act of self-interest. Whatever value you seek to acquire, be it wealth or food or love or rights, if you acquire it by means of your virtue, your code does not regard it as a moral acquisition: you occasion no loss to anyone, it is a trade, not alms; a payment, not a sacrifice. The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other. To demand rewards for your virtue is selfish and immoral; it is your lack of virtue that transforms your demand into a moral right.

A morality that holds need as a claim, holds emptiness non-existence as its standard of value; it rewards an absence, a defect: weakness, inability, incompetence, suffering, disease, disaster, the lack, the fault, the flaw the zero.

Since nature does not provide man with an automatic form of survival, since he has to support his life by his own effort, the doctrine that concern with one's own interests is evil means that man's desire to live is evil that man's life, as such, is evil. No doctrine could be more evil than that.

Yet that is the meaning of altruism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The success of egoism is made evident in the success of capitalism. It is only in the system of capitalism where men are allowed to buy, sell and trade to advance their own lives for their own interests on their own voluntary consent.

Observe the paradoxes built up about capitalism. It has been called a system of selfishness (which, in my sense of the term, it is) yet it is the only system that drew men to unite on a large scale into great countries, and peacefully to cooperate across national boundaries, while all the collectivist, internationalist, One-World systems are splitting the world into Balkanized tribes.

Capitalism has been called a system of greed yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.

Capitalism has been called nationalistic yet it is the only system that banished ethnicity, and made it possible, in the United States, for men of various, formerly antagonistic nationalities to live together in peace.

Capitalism has been called cruel yet it brought such hope, progress and general good will that the young people of today, who have not seen it, find it hard to believe.

As to pride, dignity, self-confidence, self-esteem these are characteristics that mark a man for martyrdom in a tribal society and under any social system except capitalism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the good, the virtuous, the morally ideal is suffering and self-sacrifice then, by that standard, capitalism had to be damned as evil. Capitalism does not tell men to suffer, but to pursue enjoyment and achievement, here, on earth capitalism does not tell men to serve and sacrifice, but to produce and profit capitalism does not preach passivity, humility, resignation, but independence, self-confidence, self-reliance and, above all, capitalism does not permit anyone to expect or demand, to give or to take the unearned. In all human relationships private or public, spiritual or material, social or political or economic or moral capitalism requires that men be guided by a principle which is the antithesis of altruism: the principle of justice.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Egoist (3/22/2008)

If the good, the virtuous, the morally ideal is suffering and self-sacrifice then, by that standard, capitalism had to be damned as evil. Capitalism does not tell men to suffer, but to pursue enjoyment and achievement, here, on earth capitalism does not tell men to serve and sacrifice, but to produce and profit capitalism does not preach passivity, humility, resignation, but independence, self-confidence, self-reliance and, above all, capitalism does not permit anyone to expect or demand, to give or to take the unearned. In all human relationships private or public, spiritual or material, social or political or economic or moral capitalism requires that men be guided by a principle which is the antithesis of altruism: the principle of justice.

Are you from ****? omg, such anger. scary really. sheesh. I don't believe I have ever heard altruism attacked with such malice, the purest form of capitalism that you profess is as extreme as socialism. The middle way is the most ethical, providing opportunity and prosperity. I am a capitalist with an altruistic librium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

robpanama (3/22/2008)
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

I dont oppose occasional gifting but continuous gifting will reduce the well being and independence of the receiver.

If most folks on welfare was unemployed, then I'd agree with you.

But I know a lot of people on welfare -- and they all work. Most people on welfare work, they're not lazy like they are portrayed.

@ Topic

I believe in altruism as much as I believe in basic good will. It's just that we are often distracted by our daily affairs (most of which we would acknowledge as trivial if given the question). We forget about our brothers and sisters who are suffering, and we forget about God.

That's why we need reminders. For me, that comes in the form of prayer and fasting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

deathdawg (3/22/2008)

Are you from ****? omg, such anger. scary really. sheesh. I don't believe I have ever heard altruism attacked with such malice, the purest form of capitalism that you profess is as extreme as socialism. The middle way is the most ethical, providing opportunity and prosperity. I am a capitalist with an altruistic librium.

That sounds suspiciously like whining. I post clear points for you to refute and you tell me I'm angry? I'm from ****? Don't dare attack Steve for his fallacious arguements and turn around and tell me I'm from ****. Especially when you don't answer a single one of my points. All you did was parade a middle way without a supporting reason or fact. Which, by the way, is a logical fallacy in and of itself.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html

deathdawg, I deal with the natural. My method of doing so is with logic and reason. Don't tell me to support the "middle" way without a single reason to do so. Don't call me angry and ignore every single one of my points.

I will tell you Altruism and Capitalism are incompatible. Altruism demands self-sacrifice - capitalism demands self-interest. You tell me I am from ****. I tell you I am from earth. My philosophy is one for living. It takes action to support one's life. Altruism demands that action from others, as slavery. I demand that action come from that individual. This is justice - and you say that this is from ****? I think that says a lot about your own message.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Egoist (3/22/2008)

What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

Perversion. No right to exist for his own sake? This is not a part of altruism. Reality is, we do exist and have the right to exist, even if we are pervaded by selfishness. No one is REQUIRED to be altruistic, but when one sees the benefits of altruism for SELF, then it can be implemented in their lives.

Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.

Again a VERY distorted view of one of the most beautiful aspects of being human. As I proposed before, altruism is the ultimate selfishness because the results benefit the giver more than the receiver. (it is better to give than receive).

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: "No." Altruism says: "Yes."

Of course you have the right to exist with giving the beggar a dime, altruism is a voluntary action. If I forced you by gunpoint to give to a beggar I have broken the moral code of altruism and it is no longer altruism.  Using the word sacrifice denotes even more distortion in the view of altruism. The word sacrifice itself has been poluted over the centuries because of its association with animal sacrifice to gods, human sacrifice to gods... When practicing altruism "self sacrifice" if you want to use that word, is illusory. The benefits of altruism are ultimately a selfish VIRTUE.

It is your mind that they want you to surrender all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: "It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others" end up by saying: "It is selfish to uphold your convictions, you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others."

They? who is this THEY you speak of? Only I can CHOOSE to be altruistic, for MYSELF, if someone forces me to take the actions of altruism without MY own self motivation then YES, this is FALSE ALTRUISM and is as evil as a dictatorship.

Now there is one word a single word which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand the word: "Why?" Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given.

WHY? Because altruism is a selfish INVESTMENT. I plant seeds in the ground because I want eat. I plant altruistic deeds because I want to reap the benefits.

It is only mysticism that can permit moralists to get away with it. It was mysticism, the unearthly, the supernatural, the irrational that has always been called upon to justify it or, to be exact, to escape the necessity of justification. One does not justify the irrational, one just takes it on faith. What most moralists and few of their victims realize is that reason and altruism are incompatible

Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?

Again more distorted views, you are still refusing to see the SELFISH interest in altruism which is what makes it moral. You are assuming there is black and white only and no gray in between, this is a fallacy. This puts your view in similar categories with faith based religious beliefs.

The answer you evade, the monstrous answer is: No, the takers are not evil, provided they did not earn the value you gave them. It is not immoral for them to accept it, provided they are unable to produce it, unable to deserve it, unable to give you any value in return. It is not immoral for them to enjoy it, provided they do not obtain it by right.

lol, when did I say the TAKERS are evil? MORE DISTORTION, IT IS NOT IMMORAL FOR THEM TO ACCEPT IT.

If I offer you food and you take it you have not commited evil, that is preposterous! And this is not the view of altruism.

Such is the secret core of your creed, the other half of your double standard: it is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others it is immoral to consume your own product, but moral to consume the products of others it is immoral to earn, but moral to mooch it is the parasites who are the moral justification for the existence of the producers, but the existence of the parasites is an end in itself it is evil to profit by achievement, but good to profit by sacrifice it is evil to create your own happiness, but good to enjoy it at the price of the blood of others.

More black/white fallacy, thanks for describing something other than altruism to justify your view that everyone should fend for themself only and not help others.

Your code divides mankind into two castes and commands them to live by opposite rules: those who may desire anything and those who may desire nothing, the chosen and the damned, the riders and the carriers, the eaters and the eaten. What standard determines your caste? What passkey admits you to the moral elite? The passkey is lack of value.

Whatever the value involved, it is your lack of it that gives you a claim upon those who don't lack it. It is your need that gives you a claim to rewards. If you are able to satisfy your need, your ability annuls your right to satisfy it. But a need you are unable to satisfy gives you first right to the lives of mankind.

If you succeed, any man who fails is your master; if you fail, any man who succeeds is your serf. Whether your failure is just or not, whether your wishes are rational or not, whether your misfortune is undeserved or the result of your vices, it is misfortune that gives you a right to rewards. It is pain, regardless of its nature or cause, pain as a primary absolute, that gives you a mortgage on all of existence.

If you heal your pain by your own effort, you receive no moral credit: your code regards it scornfully as an act of self-interest. Whatever value you seek to acquire, be it wealth or food or love or rights, if you acquire it by means of your virtue, your code does not regard it as a moral acquisition: you occasion no loss to anyone, it is a trade, not alms; a payment, not a sacrifice. The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other. To demand rewards for your virtue is selfish and immoral; it is your lack of virtue that transforms your demand into a moral right.

A morality that holds need as a claim, holds emptiness non-existence as its standard of value; it rewards an absence, a defect: weakness, inability, incompetence, suffering, disease, disaster, the lack, the fault, the flaw the zero.

Since nature does not provide man with an automatic form of survival, since he has to support his life by his own effort, the doctrine that concern with one's own interests is evil means that man's desire to live is evil that man's life, as such, is evil. No doctrine could be more evil than that.

Yet that is the meaning of altruism.

That is your distorted extremist view of altruism and in my view it is nothing more than a false doctrine.

Some people act out of goodhearted impulse, this does not make them evil as you have suggested. Others act on principles while others act on appearance of honor and reputation, then there are those that act on self-interest. None of these are inherently evil, but given over to extremism they all can be perverted. This is why balance is necessary, this is why I am a proponent of the middle way. Embracing just ONE of these philosophies is the real fallacy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

robpanama (3/22/2008)
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

I dont oppose occasional gifting but continuous gifting will reduce the well being and independence of the receiver.

That is a balanced view, we have to be concerned with our own well being as well. But if we only focus on ourself and lose total sight of others we become unbalanced.

When walking the line of life I want to stay in the middle where it is safe for MY OWN SAKE, getting on the fringes is where one falls off into extremism.

Extremism the enemy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

kicker23 (3/23/2008)
I'm pretty sure that by its very definition, an altruistic person CAN'T be selfish.

Altruism is when an act is committed that benefits another while being detrimental to the donor.

If you are completely without selfishness you would cease to survive in the physical world we live in. If you gave up every morsel of food you earned and every dime to others you would die of starvation. This is called aesteticism which is also destructive doctrine, it is as extreme as egoism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...