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No-name
11-02-06, 20:15
Why should people be giving, loving or caring? Why not just look out for #1? What reasons do you feel for being generous and kind? Why care?

Here is an article from a politically liberal Christian website called Sojo.net about U2's Bono and his attempts to fight global poverty and the role religion plays in it: "Bono, after years of skepticism, finds partner in religion"

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=news.display_article&mode=s&NewsID=5211

afailedaffair
11-02-06, 21:52
Why should people be giving, loving or caring? Why not just look out for #1? What reasons do you feel for being generous and kind? Why care?
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=news.display_article&mode=s&NewsID=5211

If you can see man's injustice to man, you'll realize all the reasons why you would want such a thing to occur.
We need to learn to co-exist and help each other, not to create classes, and onle be motivited for benifit of one's self.

kumo
12-02-06, 00:06
Why should people be giving, loving or caring? Why not just look out for #1? What reasons do you feel for being generous and kind? Why care?
Altruism is not just about being generous and kind; it demands more than that: it demands sacrifice. In most cases, helping other people is both a generous and a egoistic act. There is always some kind of benefit from helping people, even if it is a long term one, simply feeling good about yourself, or being respected by your community. Even when sacrifice is involved, most people will only try to help if the reward (real or imagined) involved justifies the risk.
I would go as far as saying that altruism, in its literal meaning, is against human nature, and that humans are not capable of being selfless.
So, answering your question: the motive for altruism is, paradoxically, egoism.
I'm not saying altruism is bad; I am saying altruism is just a disguised form of egoism, and egoism is good.
Being egoistic is not running slipshod over people in order to achieve arbitrary desires; it's simply acting on one's best interests, which, on the long run, almost always coincide with that of others.

Sabro, can you give an example of true altruism, real or hypothetical? (I repeat, without long term gains or "feeling good about yourself")

No-name
12-02-06, 02:45
Kumo, I tend to agree with you on this, altruism is against human nature and if you rule out even the emotional rewards or psychological motives, there would be no "true" altruism. I'm not certain that it requires sacrifice, although some trade-off is suggested. The truth is, if I break down on the highway and someone stops to help- I don't care at that time whether he is doing it to feel good, to earn his way into heaven, to sow some good Karma, to make the world better, to fill some personal void, or to pay forward an act of kindness by someone else... I will be grateful that he stopped to help. I would definitely want them to feel good about themselves.

An example of true altruism: does parenthood count? or do most parents really want the love they give children reciprocated? I remember reading about a 16 year old that drove by a line of homeless in W. Hollywood waiting in the rain for soup from the back of a truck. It was good old guilt that got her to voluteer for that charity, but what keeps her comming back and giving year after year? When does it become an act of selfless sacrifice? Does the person have to feel upset or pain while doing good?

Thinking out loud: Why when people "hear voices" don't the voices ever seem to be telling them to do something senselessly kind?

Mars Man
12-02-06, 03:40
Seems like a nice philosophical subject to discuss, for sure. I will, for the moment, take up the postition that altruism, in whatever degree, has it roots in nature--call that 'human' nature or not. (though I will say pure, overall nature here.)

I will not post all at once, but little by little as the discussion flows. For now, I will posit that for the reasons of and pressures causing group bonding and the need for happiness, altruistic settings developed in human and, to a much lesser degree but nevertheless so, in a few lines among the Great Apes.

That's all for now. . . but, I shall return !!

kumo
12-02-06, 04:14
Kumo, I tend to agree with you on this, altruism is against human nature and if you rule out even the emotional rewards or psychological motives, there would be no "true" altruism.
Just furthering my point:
There is not much of a difference between a emotional and a "physical" reward. After all, all material possessions serves ultimately to make you happy (emotional reward), they are of no use by themselves. I would say that doing something because it makes you feel good is just a more direct way to achieve your objective, kind of a "short cut". Again, there's nothing wrong with that, I just think we should recognize it by what it truly is -- egoism.

The truth is, if I break down on the highway and someone stops to help- I don't care at that time whether he is doing it to feel good, to earn his way into heaven, to sow some good Karma, to make the world better, to fill some personal void, or to pay forward an act of kindness by someone else... I will be grateful that he stopped to help. I would definitely want them to feel good about themselves.
I agree. I too would be grateful whatever the motive was.

An example of true altruism: does parenthood count? or do most parents really want the love they give children reciprocated?
I'm pretty sure they do. Just ask parents with autistic children how frustrating it is to not have their love reciprocated. Of course, just seeing your children growing up and being happy is enough of a reward for most people.

No-name
13-02-06, 01:17
I'm not certain that just because a person gets a good feeling about doing something good, if that qualifies it as egoism. Perhaps I am not understand this correctly. It seems as although good feelings may be a motive, they may not be the motive for altruism or at least not the chief motivation. The question remains as to why commit some action that is selfless and kind?

bossel
13-02-06, 04:53
The question remains as to why commit some action that is selfless and kind?
Depends on how you define selfless. Evolutionary it was of a certain interest for the individual to sacrifice time, energy, health or even its life for the sake of others. It furthered the survival chances of genes related to the altruist individual. If you call this selfless, then altruism exists.

Kinsao
13-02-06, 12:34
Altruism isn't really against human nature. It's at least partly to do with the survival of the species. You know, sacrificing one to save the group - that kind of thing.

That's not to say I believe that's all it's about, but at the most basic level, there's the root.

No-name
13-02-06, 19:08
You are reminded me of a psych experiment with either candies or dollars added to a jar- and some kind of wait and share rule- or take the loot... let me see if I can find it somewhere...

No-name
13-02-06, 19:42
There is an evolutionary altruism theory....
There is also a distinct advantage to selfishness....

MeAndroo
14-02-06, 01:17
Altruism isn't really against human nature. It's at least partly to do with the survival of the species. You know, sacrificing one to save the group - that kind of thing.
That's not to say I believe that's all it's about, but at the most basic level, there's the root.

I suppose this can be a case of nurture vs nature, because it's rare to see a person be naturally selfless. Much of it is taught by parents and teachers. Children, for all their innocence, can be some of the most selfish creatures if not kept in check by their parents. Perhaps it's natural when already involved in a society, but I think the difference in selfishness across different societies is a result of different mentalities, not different human nature.

That said, love is often said to be one cause of altruistic behavior. Depending on the case, can it be said that sometimes people sacrifice for their loved ones because they have been sacrificed for in the past? Or just to maintain a relationship? Certainly there is the time-honored phrase "I just want you to be happy," but how often is that the entire truth? (Not having experienced it myself, I plead ignorance)

Tsuyoiko
14-02-06, 17:26
Since I think that feeling good is one of the good reasons to be alive, I don't think that there is anything negative about acting altruistically in order to feel good. Feeling good is good, and if you can feel good while making some else feel good then it's even better.

Mars Man
16-03-06, 08:39
From Research News--Opportunities in Science and Theology Sep. 2002, Vol 3, No 1; p1

In the article entitled, Why Cooperation Feels So Good we find the following: "An Emory University study indicates that cooperation, teamwork, and reciprocated altruism stimulate areas of the brain that result in feelings of pleasure. Brain scans have revealed a biologically embedded basis for cooperation."

As reported on in that magazine, a study which had been done by James K. Rilling and Gregory S. Bern, and which had been covered in the July 8, 2002 issue of Neuron, provides evidence through studies done with a brain scanner while subjects engauged in the game "Prisoner's Dilemma".

In summing up the findings, Berns is quoted as saying," Our study shows, for the first time, that social cooperation is intrinsically rewarding to the human brain, even in the face of pressures to the contrary. It suggests that the altruistic drive to cooperate is biologically embedded--either genetically programmed or acquired through socialization during childhood and adolescence."

The area of the brain that lit up when people cooperated with each other wasin the lymbic system [that system which consists of several sub-organs dealing with emotional demands] and prefrontal areas. Particularly when cooperation was reciprocated, activity in the area of the brain associated with pleasure, famous in drug studies, was activated. This area is rich in neurons which resond to dopamine, the brain chemical that produces the pleasureable sensation activated by certain drugs and other addictive behaviors.

The article closed with the following: "The reason altruism and the spirit of cooperation have evolved in humans is still not completely understood. But whatever the biological or evolutionary reasons, this function of the brain has developed, and now we know why being nice feels so good."

There are some good articles which follow up on a couple of views of altruism which I'll try to post for information later on. :-) :wave:

Revenant
17-03-06, 16:56
I've posted a thread on it in the Religion in Japan forum. According to neuroscientists, meditations on compassion (actually trying to feel another's suffering) strongly activate the same area of the brain that has been identified as the locus for positive emotions. I'd just say that humans are social animals, and we are built to take pleasure in empathizing and connecting with each other.

Mars Man
16-04-06, 11:11
A good point Revenant chan, and I hope to take it up in other aspects later on too.

Mitsuo
19-04-06, 00:56
I don't know why I care, I just seem to care about others and like to make sure people are happy.

But I think the world is such a great place when people are loving and caring.
We can think of driving with this. Some people aren't such caring drivers,a dn they don't let you in when you want to merge, or they drive slow in the fast lane. It slows everything down and makes things harder to do. So I think by caring and loving one another, it helps the world more efficient, makes things easier to do, and makes it tolerable for one to be with other people.

No-name
19-04-06, 08:14
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'