Altruism

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Edith
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Altruism

Post by Edith » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:46 pm

What is 'Perfect Altruism'?

Is it attainable?

If it is not, can we relate selflessness to altruism or take on properties of altruism in some sort of measurable form?

How do we determine how altruistic an action or a person is?

owiekapowie
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Re: Altruism

Post by owiekapowie » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:20 pm

Well perfect altruism as I see it is that of the enlightened man, take the Buddha or Jesus as an example, that example aside, I do not think that there is such a thing as perfect altruism as it would require every other living being to believe that you are altruistic in every sense, and that is a near impossibility, to achieve such a thing you would have to be a leader capable of manipulating every person that sees you as something wrong into seeing you as something right, and in doing that you would be taking away humanities system of self as we currently know it, which could be a great thing for humanity as a whole, but as it would require ulterior motives then it would not be altruistic. As for taking selflessness and being partially altruistic it could be argued that you could do such a thing, but altruism by definition is (if I'm not mistaken) being beyond selflessness, so really you wouldn't really be altruistic just a good person, which really no person is able to do things in a way that is truly altruistic, everybody has a want of some kind, and even if it is fir the best of things want will always bring about a darkness in your heart and that makes altruism impossible itself, because I see no way to be altruistic without wanting to help others in some way... and for something to be thought as altruistic it comes down to perception, because what group a sees isn't what group b sees, it is one of the greatest strengths and at times the greatest weakness of humanity

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Re: Altruism

Post by Edith » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:57 pm

owiekapowie wrote:Well perfect altruism as I see it is that of the enlightened man, take the Buddha or Jesus as an example, that example aside, I do not think that there is such a thing as perfect altruism as it would require every other living being to believe that you are altruistic in every sense, and that is a near impossibility, to achieve such a thing you would have to be a leader capable of manipulating every person that sees you as something wrong into seeing you as something right, and in doing that you would be taking away humanities system of self as we currently know it, which could be a great thing for humanity as a whole, but as it would require ulterior motives then it would not be altruistic.
That's a pretty interesting way to look at it. I wonder if you might be describing a perfect action, as opposed to something inherently altruistic? As in, you seem to be stressing the need for perfect information (especially with regard to humans) in order to make a decision. This decision, based of of said perfect information, can be used for a variety of purposes and the intent of good will or something altruistic is only one example.

On one hand it seems important to that our information is perfect. On the other, it seems that our intent is essential. Something internal and something external, as our criterion.

I'm curious about what you mean with:
but as it would require ulterior motives then it would not be altruistic.
Are the motives here that which is not altruistic or is it the methods which are tainted (if so, I'm not sure if they would qualify yet as being 'un-altruistic')?
As for taking selflessness and being partially altruistic it could be argued that you could do such a thing, but altruism by definition is (if I'm not mistaken) being beyond selflessness, so really you wouldn't really be altruistic just a good person, which really no person is able to do things in a way that is truly altruistic, everybody has a want of some kind, and even if it is fir the best of things want will always bring about a darkness in your heart and that makes altruism impossible itself, because I see no way to be altruistic without wanting to help others in some way... and for something to be thought as altruistic it comes down to perception, because what group a sees isn't what group b sees, it is one of the greatest strengths and at times the greatest weakness of humanity
How comparable are Selflessness and Altruism?

How, exactly, do you define Altruism? What makes something Altruistic as opposed to Selfless?

What darkness are you referring to? The awareness, perhaps, that something might benefit you in some way? An unknown mechanism that occurs in our minds, causing us to only act in a manner of self interest, at least to a degree?

This last sentence brings up something that seems recurrent in your views:
and for something to be thought as altruistic it comes down to perception, because what group a sees isn't what group b sees, it is one of the greatest strengths and at times the greatest weakness of humanity
Intent, once again, is not good enough. The effects must also have some sort of qualification for the action or the person to be considered altruistic.

But, could it not be possible that a person from Group A does something that they believe is altruistic and which is also perceived by Group B as being such? The effect is felt and appreciated by Group B?

I feel like it's an important thing to stress... that our ability to associate something 'good' or 'bad' to things... our perception of things... is pretty important to the discussion. I tend to come into discussions concerning Altruism with the assumption that it is impossible because I usually feel like we can rationalise a 'good' or 'bad' from any situation if we broaden our scope and shift our perspective enough. Therefore, we can always make an argument that somebody is doing something from self interest, whether consciously or not.

I suppose I wonder if the brain really does have the capacity to reason in that manner no matter what the circumstances are. Are there limitations to this ability to rationalise?

One argument against Altruism is that every action we take is an act of self interest, because before we can make an action we have to process data through a value system which dictates how we interact with reality. From this internal process, we act in a manner that suits our finite, subjective experience, making our actions serving our own perspectives at the very least.

If Altruism is an entirely separate concept and this argument is true then I do not think that it could be possible. But I do wonder how others might perceive the concept. What definitions they may use to describe it.

I want to know, I think, which actions are 'closest to' altruistic. And what might that say about altruism as a concept, itself?

I tend to view Altruism as making the most sacrifice for the least amount of gain with good intentions. The desire to make a good effect.

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Re: Altruism

Post by pessimist » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:19 am

I was never one for a messianic complex. Being selfish is necessary for survival, even love is selfish.

When you see a homeless person in the street, do you give him money? Do you express pity? If so, did you ever ask yourself why? Could it possibly be you view yourself as superior? Someone who feels obligated to help the lowly and downtrodden because they're unable to help themselves?

I think when we talk about 'altruism' we should look at it from multiple perspectives.

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Re: Altruism

Post by crow » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:23 pm

Edith wrote:What is 'Perfect Altruism'?
Is it attainable?
If it is not, can we relate selflessness to altruism or take on properties of altruism in some sort of measurable form?
How do we determine how altruistic an action or a person is?


Perfect altruism is empathy preceding selflessness, in the absence of self as a modifier.
Yes, it is attainable, but probably not by all, or even many.
Either you have the necessary capabilities/qualities, or you don't. It's hardly something you'd measure.
We don't determine how altruistic a person is, or isn't. They do that for themselves.

Virtually all altruism, as defined by moderns, is no such thing. It is almost always selfishly inspired. But not always.
To the few that manifest it, it does not bear the label 'altruism'. It is, simply, what such people do, should they happen to decide to do it.
Anything else is no more than a display, to influence observers, thereby increasing social standing.
And you don't get much more non-altruistic than that.

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Re: Altruism

Post by crow » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:17 pm

If you wish to help, then practice doing no harm.

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Re: Altruism

Post by Entity » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:35 pm

That reminds me of the first line of the Hippocratic Code, "Do no harm". It seems to work well for doctors, so why not everyone else?
"A penny saved is a penny you keep." -Me

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Re: Altruism

Post by Reticent J » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:25 pm

I ventured into this topic a few months ago. Here's something I had written up on it:

~not a complete or finished product
~just pure conjecture on my part

● Altruistic behavior emerges from distress signals.
● Distress signals beget more distress.
● To return to comfort, people seek to eliminate the distress signal.
● Altruism in one method is eliminating distress. The other is Egoism.
● Altruism seeks to eliminate distress at the source; alleviating their own secondary distress by alleviating the one who sent the signal.
● Egoism seeks to eliminate distress by negating the distress signal by going into a state of detachment.


Responses to Distress

a.) Commit
b.) External Obligation and Internal Guilt (undecided)
c.) Withdraw


I’ll now provide general thinking processes of each stage, following, perhaps, a scream.


1. Those who seek (external) distress intending to aid the distressed thereby eliminating the signal.

“I will” or “I should” or “I can”...”I want to help”


2. Those who recognize the distress signal but haven’t decided whether or not to act on it.

“I could”...”I feel bad/concerned for the distress”...yet “I’m glad that it wasn’t me”


3. Those who avoid the distress signal by denying or quietly dismissing it. (disregard any emotional attachment; nothing to worry about)

“I can’t” or “I won’t”...”I want nothing to do with it.”


I assume most fall into the middle category.

There’s the presence of some external obligation (cultural or religious) as well as possible guilt, but that usually isn’t enough to pull someone into the Commit or Withdraw category.


Those on the verge of deciding will be swayed by the people around them.


To withdraw is far easier than to commit.


Yet, occasionally, someone might commit despite that, possibly influencing others to do it too.


So the question is Why?...so I looked to potential benefits.


Altruism = Survival boost fueled by sacrifice. (life value/length)


1. A “moral contract” is Initiated via the before mentioned distress signal.
2. What follows after is slightly different based on who sent that signal.
3. If the one dependent on you is a stranger…
4. The cultural/social/religious obligations go into play.
5. If dismissed: egoism. If acknowledged, the moral contract, at this point, is Accepted/Challenged.
6. Factors weighing against risk and inconvenience: the desire to please others, the desire for gratification, a sense of purpose, adventure, curiosity, to insure self-importance, praise, likeability, debt, social acceptance.
7. Now if the distressed is someone familiar to you...
8. You might share a mutual obligation, the fulfilment of favors.
9. To the point that is becomes automatic, resulting in devotion, free manipulation,
10. Reward received. Moral Contract Sustained/Resolved
11. Non-compliance/betrayal, Moral Contract Terminated.
12. If the moral contract becomes inconvenient for both parties: mutual Neutralization.


I concluded that Altruism must be a sort of Advanced or Enduring, “Reciprocal Egoism” at the core.

Not that that’s a bad thing. You must benefit society in order to benefit from it, more often than not.


Followed up by some creative writing summarizing my findings:

"Ego's First Breathe"

So the curious, malefic essence was born unto the world, infused within the core of some new, hapless vessel, an unsuspecting host. It squirmed its way into the ranks of mankind as naturally as its devious resemblance permitted, undetected at first, inevitable later... triggering the spark of life, a confusing existence at its doorstep. And like all things, it must feed-- not feed others. So be its intrinsic survival bias: A sort of necessary corruption to satisfy its appetite, that is, until it becomes developed enough to grasp that cycle of obligation and incentive, which is not without its own necessary corruption. It learns to indulge in itself, yet impose certain restraints...to mask its selfish intent with a selfless deed in order to gain a mutual reward...to persist by the convenient moderation of urges...complex in technique, simple in thought. Its meaning is derived first externally and secondly inward, after all...A lasting benefit is reached only through lasting ambition and sacrifice. The sting of sin resides in the foundation of all action, of all philanthropy...thus, the suggestion of a dualistic ego, of a primitive sophistication, of a forged humanity.

Humanity of the ego is heralded as a magnificent gem, carefully molded into shape by the core beliefs and absolute laws of culture; a product of one particular order or another. All in great lengths of effort to disguise that fragile stone that once was, and still is, albeit unrecognizable to the untrained eye. It denies its roots to facilitate a certain comfort, security, and equality, tolerance and acceptance. To manipulate and control itself in such a way that is appropriate to the mark of sanity, deserved citizenship. Social creatures satisfy the dependency of one another to satisfy their own dependency.
Inanity is Sanity.

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