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the golden rule vs. gold reward - Logic vs World

Red posting in Logic vs World
User: logicvsworld (posted by redtranslation)
Date: 2007-08-19 22:04
Subject: the golden rule vs. gold reward
Security: Public
Mood:quixotic - hah
Music:black sunday - the skatalites
what do you think about altruism?

for the purpose of this question and the most common definition, i believe... altruism means serving others through placing their interests above one's own without the expectation of reward or benefit.

it's argued by some that while it's possible for people to -behave- altruistically it's simply not possible for them to have sincerely altruistic motivations.  if  an act is performed that is beneficial to others with the expectation of being rewarded in some way, then it isn't an altruistically motivated act obviously. however, can there be any altruistically motivated act  at all? aren't we rewarded by the certain knowledge that we are a "good person" for behaving in an altruistic manner? or are material gains the only way to measure benefits/rewards? what about the attention, recognition and admiration we receive from others for being so giving? that "feel good" feeling is pretty powerful and some state it is the center or base for any good act we do unto others.

thoughts?

also...

are we morally obligated, in general, to help others?

do you think that by placing others needs above your own you have devalued your own worth?
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Feral
User: dacnomaniac
Date: 2007-08-20 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Altruism is simply another species-survival strategy. Nothing less, and nothing more. It does, sometimes, subjugate the individual to the mass, but the whole point is that survival of the species is infinitely more important than survival of the individual gene packets involved.

Thus, it is possible to both behave altruistically, and have genuine 'altruistic' motives, because altruistic behavior doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the individuals involved, per se. And the supporter gets a genetic benefit, BTW, just as much as the supported does. The children of people involved in mutually supportive groups, even when one individual does most of the supporting of the other, tend to make it to maturity far more consistently than those of directly competing individuals/groups -- meaning cooperation results in *both sides'* genes being spread further than they would go otherwise.

Even when there is no obvious Now reward, there is almost always a reward for the altruist in the future that would not come about if the altruism behavior were not engaged in. This is why the behavior hasn't died out as the question of the survival of the human species, in a traditional sense, has become much less urgent.

That isn't to 'devalue' altruism, mind, but that's a huge part of the Why.

Also, though, it's important to note that not everyone gets that "good feeling". I respond to problems by instantly and instinctually trying to fix them, especially if it's someone else's problem and I've got ideas, but when I manage it, I usually feel tired, not... somehow all fuzzy and glowy. That's done, time to do something else now, I guess.
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Red
User: redtranslation
Date: 2007-08-21 03:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
first, i wasn't talking about unconscious altruistic behavior, for lack of a better term... which is what i would consider the behaviors you're talking about... benefiting the species, etc.

second, i'm confused. you start by stating that it's possible to have genuine altruistic motives, by that i assume you mean acting without any benefit expected or realized, and then show that there ARE benefits realized all around.

i don't think it makes a difference if the benefit is individualized or not, the same way the benefit shouldn't, or maybe even can't, be measured in purely material ways. since you gave an example from your own life, whether or not the benefit is that fuzzy, glowy feeling or something else, it's still a benefit. you've been given an opportunity to exercise your brain, be helpful, solve a problem or, at the very least, had something to distract you from whichever problems you -can't- solve (your own?)

just a thought.

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Metal Mozart
User: oceansofchaos
Date: 2007-08-27 18:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I believe the altruism is intrinsic. Altruism does exist through the simple act of empathy. As a mother would care for a child or for a succession in progress in order to believe in a purpose. These are both biological IMO make of human beings. These are innate values incorporated into our survivability and instinctual reasoning. Altruism is a social characteristic that I associate with "pack"-like or social groups. I don't believe any one person or being is constantly altruistically and have other needs that can override altruism, but at the same time, I don't think its a unique ability.It's universal.
Morally Obligated? Not in the USA. I think as long as you don't break the law, that's all that matters.Noone cares about morals anymore except for those dictated by religion and even that is eskewed by the churches that dictate them unfortunately.
I do think that you can either devalue or not devalue yourself with altruism. That depends on how attached you are with the subject of concern. I think one can be vicarious which can often be confused with altruism.
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