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#32446 - 12/01/09 03:51 PM Selfless acts
sibly Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 7
Loc: UK
Hi there, I’ve been lurking around and just reading for a while, but I do have a question.

I think I am correct in saying that the Satanist who does something for somebody else, or for charity for example, is really doing it for themselves, for personal gratification. Maybe rather, they just understand the fact that all acts of this nature are actually inherently selfish, whereas others may be deluded in thinking they are getting nothing personally out of it. I understand this totally- I have felt good after giving time or money to a charitable cause, and on reflection the good feeling itself is for me, not for anyone else.

Is it therefore realistically impossible to partake in a totally selfless act of generosity for another? Taking the most extreme example, would giving your life for another be considered selfless, as no feeling of personal gratification can be had once the act is complete? Any thoughts?

sibly
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#32447 - 12/01/09 04:25 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: sibly]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Giving your life for someone else? That sounds "selfless" on one hand, but stupid on the other. I know there are times when people say that a soldier "selflessly" gave his life for others, and on the face of it, it might seem that way. The language is rhetoric for public consumption, but mostly when it happens, it's a tactical move to accomplish a goal or to protect someone's flank or back in a firefight or, jumping on a grenade... probably panic and temporary insanity and over romanticized immersion into one's sense of heroics. In the case of, for instance, a secret service member placing himself between an assassin and the person he is guarding. These aren't "selfless" acts per se, but the result of training and automatic response to a hostile stimulus.

But "giving your life for another..." what would that even look like? At best it would to my mind be suicidal. John needs my heart... I'll give it to him because he's a good guy and deserves to live. Sorry... leave me your car in your will, pal.
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#32448 - 12/01/09 04:32 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Jake999]
sibly Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 7
Loc: UK
I agree with you- I'm struggling to think of anything that could be really termed a 'selfless act'. I think that this thought saddens me a little, but then I suppose that is just the way I have been brought up; with a faith in people's humanity, and never really considering that when I did something for someone, i was getting pleasure myself from the act. I'm not sure of a situation where one would really die for another person, it was more just picking the most extreme example to question.
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#32449 - 12/01/09 04:36 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: sibly]
GillesdeRais Offline
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Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 141
No one denies that people act on desires for specific things or to benefit other people. What the 'psychological egoist' claims is that when one acts on desires for specific things or to benefit other people one does so because one believes that doing so will be instrumental to promoting one’s own happiness. We can distinguish between one’s ultimate aims – what one desires for its own sake – and one’s instrumental aims – what one desires as a means of bringing about something else that one’s desires. We can then characterize psychological egoism as the claim an agent’s ultimate aim is always his own happiness or self-interest.
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Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

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#32450 - 12/01/09 04:47 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: GillesdeRais]
sibly Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 7
Loc: UK
Thanks for the responce- I'm just about to have a read about psychological egoism. On brief examination of Wikipedia, it seems I may be getting myself into a complex psychological debate here, which isn't really within my field of knowleage!

Reading what you have mentioned GillesdeRais, to me it sounds like the Satanic view surely is that it is human nature for everything to be ultimately aimed towards ones own self-interest, and that people who claim differently are just ignoring this fact as they don't like the idea; they prefer to think they really are doing things for others. Would it therefore be said, in a Satanic point of view, that the 'psychological egoist' is correct?
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#32451 - 12/01/09 04:48 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: sibly]
CJB Offline
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Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
A completely selfless act doesn't really exist. Not that I can think of, anyway. Partially selfless? Yeah. You can give that beggar a twenty, and even though you do get something out of it (warm fuzzy feeling, gratitude, etc., if that's your kind of thing, or maybe an avoidance of guilt), the other party gets more out of it than you do. More or less sacrificing a bit of yourself in order to feel good.

In the case of dying for someone else, if you would rather be dead than have the knowledge that you could've saved someone you care about...than yeah, self-sacrifice of this magnitude would make sense. If little Johnny needs your heart, and you love little Johnny enough, and you (perhaps irrationally) think that life wouldn't be worth living without little Johnny...than yeah, the logical conclusion would be to give little Johnny your heart. Such things are viewed as a complete act of selflessness, but in truth, it's still a selfish act. If you believe in a cause so much that failing it would make the world unbearable to you, than you might sacrifice yourself to that cause. If failure means death anyway, all the more reason to go out with a bang than a whimper.

The only time I can really think of when someone may do a completely, honest selfless act is if they're mentally incompetent, and even that might be disqualified because the person wouldn't know what they were doing. Life is a game of weighing options and cost/benefit analyses...only a person incapable of making those calculations would do something that provided absolute zero benefit to himself.
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"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
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#32539 - 12/04/09 07:28 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: CJB]
Room 101 Offline
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Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Scotland
The selfless act is a misnomer.

That is to say that there is no act without forethought of “self”.

No deed, action nor act of contrition could be deemed selfless.
Simple fact, “I think therefore I am”. This equates to actions that are seemingly selfless.

A Satanist (or as I would define myself), realises this fact and embraces it. Do not shy away from the fact that you derive satisfaction from acts of good, it does not detract from the fact that you have DONE good.

Only those that deserve help should receive it, but you should not feel guilt in its implementation.


Edited by Room 101 (12/04/09 07:31 PM)
Edit Reason: Fat Hands
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#32574 - 12/06/09 02:25 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: CJB]
FriendlyS Offline
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Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: CJB
Partially selfless? Yeah. You can give that beggar a twenty, and even though you do get something out of it (warm fuzzy feeling, gratitude, etc., if that's your kind of thing, or maybe an avoidance of guilt), the other party gets more out of it than you do. More or less sacrificing a bit of yourself in order to feel good.
I wouldn't consider this partially selfless because of the exchange taking place (the money for the good feeling). At least personally, the amount of money given is proportionate to how good I feel after. For example, I felt good after giving a homeless guy a smoke but I felt better after buying another homeless person a hot dog. So as long as the amount spent remains small enough so that it doesn't really affect me, the more spent the better I feel. Even though it might appear like the person I'm giving something to is getting more out of it, I would say this is untrue because I am getting an equal amount of "good feeling" as they are money, if that makes sense.

Now, there are still people who give more than they might feel good giving or so much that it has a negative impact on their personal situation. This might be considered selfless but I do not believe that it ultimately is. For example, here in Peru, priests seem to follow the bible a bit more than in Canada and live in poverty giving away everything they own, making their lives pretty crappy. This might seem selfless, but really, they're doing it with themselves in mind, expecting to be rewarded later on. Even though they are giving way more than they will be getting, they get the peace of mind that they will have a good afterlife. Again, I wouldn't even consider this partially selfless.

As for the rest of your response, I agree with it. If living your life without someone would be too unbearable, then it would make sense to give up your life for that person. This is a completely selfish act because you're giving up your life so that you won't have to live in what you foresee as a life full of pain. I wouldn't give my life for my neighbour because my life wouldn't be any worse with them gone. I would be willing to give my life for some family members because I would feel like shit for the rest of my life for 2 reasons: I knew I could have helped them and didn't, and I would feel bad without them. Obviously, I wouldn't give my life for them if it would make no difference, so this is not a selfless act.

 Originally Posted By: CJB
The only time I can really think of when someone may do a completely, honest selfless act is if they're mentally incompetent, and even that might be disqualified because the person wouldn't know what they were doing.
Agreed, and I would disqualify them because if they knew what they were doing and still chose to do it, then it wouldn't be selfless because it would be a rational choice made by weighing the pros and cons and they would only do it if there were more pros.


Edited by FriendlyS (12/06/09 02:32 AM)
Edit Reason: tired eyes=errors

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#32582 - 12/06/09 12:18 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: FriendlyS]
CJB Offline
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Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
Here's where my Objectivist background shines through a bit...with a little talk about trading versus sacrificing.

So far the only thing we've really looked at are "Hey, I'm gonna give that beggar money because I want to. It'll make me feel good, it'll make him feel good...everyone's a winner!" That would be a trade, and a selfish act, for both parties. I'm happy, I have the beggar a twenty. The beggar's happy, he got a twenty.

That's how most people (that I can think of) who regard selfishness as, if not a virtue, than at least a non-evil fact of life would view such a situation.

Now, looking back at your Peruvian priests (I love how that rolls off the tongue...), I would consider them to be sacrificing parts of their life. I mean, I'm sure they think it's a trade: give up all their earthly possessions in exchange for eternity in paradise. Hell, if that were a fact, it wouldn't be a bad trade at all. But the reality is they're giving up all the fun they can have on earth for nothing. Sure, they get a bit of warm fuzzies while they're alive, but that doesn't compare to the warm fuzzies they gave up.

Again, that's not a completely selfless act, according to a dictionary definition of selfless...but if you look at it from their point of view, where "selfless" means something like "take care of other people before yourself on this world so you will be rewarded in the next," than they would be models of selflessness. That imaginary duty that they've placed upon themselves for an imaginary reward, in their minds, makes a good trade...but in truth, they're sacrificing their lives here for something that doesn't exist.

Whether that makes them selfless people or not depends on your definition of selfless. Whether that makes them sacrificial lambs or just realy shite at that whole "trading" thing would depend on your point of view, as well.

(...damn you, Obi-Won)

I guess...sacrifice would be a misnomer, as well? Anytime some ancient pagan (or modern pagan, for that matter) would sacrifice a bull or what-have-you to the gods for mercy or rain or whatever...it would really just be more of a trade, as well. Again, it'd be a bit of a bad trade, in my opinion, but if the sacrificer considered the favor of the god(s) to be more valuable than the bull...it wouldn't truly fit the definition of "sacrifice." (Where sacrifice means "give up an object for less than it is worth." Every other dictionary definition of "sacrifice" is synonymous with "trade.")

Oh well...rambling button off!
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"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
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#32632 - 12/07/09 07:36 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: CJB]
FriendlyS Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I mostly agree with this post but I have a few comments again, although I think you covered most of it as I would.

 Originally Posted By: CJB
So far the only thing we've really looked at are "Hey, I'm gonna give that beggar money because I want to. It'll make me feel good, it'll make him feel good...everyone's a winner!" That would be a trade, and a selfish act, for both parties. I'm happy, I have the beggar a twenty. The beggar's happy, he got a twenty.

That's how most people (that I can think of) who regard selfishness as, if not a virtue, than at least a non-evil fact of life would view such a situation.

Yes, this thread hasn't really gone much further than the poor person being given money by a wealthier person, but I think that's because its a simple example, easy to relate to especially if you live in a big city, and it pretty much sums up what people think of when speaking of being selfless nowadays. Most people who are considered selfless are those who give to those who are poorer than themselves, be it the homeless person, charity, different foundations or whatever. Either way, you're selfless if you somewhat follow the Robin Hood idea of "take from the rich to give to the poor," so if you have more than others you should at least give a little bit away. So being selfless can go from the extent of the rich person giving away tons of money to charity or to a smaller extent, the person who is well off giving a little to an individual who has less. So for most people, the normal person giving to the poor person is a more realistic idea that can be shown through many different examples. And no matter what example of selflessness is used, a normal person who acts in a selfless way according to society, will not be so selfless as to give more than they can without affecting their lives and without some sort of selfish motive. The person giving to the homeless person might do it to feel good while the rich man might give away a large amount of money to charities in order to look good to the public. Both are being "selfless" in the eyes of the majority, and they might even think of themselves as selfless because they really didn't have to do those things, they are still being at least somewhat selfish, and in my opinion, they aren't selfless at all.

 Originally Posted By: CJB
But the reality is they're giving up all the fun they can have on earth for nothing. Sure, they get a bit of warm fuzzies while they're alive, but that doesn't compare to the warm fuzzies they gave up.

You know this, I know this, and everyone on here probably knows this but to them, it is a real trade and it is worth it, so for them, it isn't a sacrifice. Even though they are getting nothing, to them they are securing a good afterlife and peace of mind in this life. To us, the warm fuzzies don't compare, but they're all about the warm fuzzies they think they're getting. They might be selfless in their definition of the word but their definitions of words are pretty fucked up (look at chaste). Like the rich man and well off man I spoke about earlier, they might think they are being selfless, not even considering that they are doing this as a trade, just simply because it is what "God" wants them to do, but analyze the situation, and they are as selfish as you and I.

 Originally Posted By: CJB
I guess...sacrifice would be a misnomer, as well?

This is the same problem as selfless. No sane person would give up so much that it harms them without some sort of expectation in return. Pagans gave up livestock and crops, but kept enough to survive off of. Priests give up their possessions, but expect to be given everything in death. Whether or not they get what they're expecting, they still do these things with those expectations so it is a trade (they're just getting ripped off), not a selfless act or sacrifice.

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#37403 - 04/05/10 10:38 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: FriendlyS]
immortal1 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Northern Virginia
After having studied economics in college, i truly believe that there is no such thing as a selfless act. Anytime we "give" away something we expect something in return, and that return is called "utility". The word utility can represent anything that makes it equal to what they have given up. So, clearly, utility differs from individual to individual, as do values of anything in a market economy.
If someone gives up their time, they expect to be compensated. This may be in the form of a paycheck, or the "warm fuzzies" that have been mentioned in this thread. If it is in the form of charity, ie giving money to a cause, they are in effect purchasing utility in the form of warm fuzzies. For a christian, this charity is transacted with the hope of receiving a gold star from god when they are judged for the afterlife. They could also do it for a tax write-off. Anyway you cut it, there is no such as pure charity. Everyone expects something in return, or else they wouldn't do it. Rock stars and hollywood types do "charity" stuff for positive media coverage, and maybe they even believe that they are helping the cause. Even the latter is of utility to them, giving them a sense that they have made someone else's life better.
Satanism teaches us to be selfish first. For we must improve ourselves before we can improve others. An example might be how a drug counselor must get clean before they can counsel others. So once we have the ways and means to aid others that we deem worthy, then we can help and be rewarded for doing so.

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#53237 - 04/20/11 10:30 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: GillesdeRais]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
 Originally Posted By: GillesdeRais
No one denies that people act on desires for specific things or to benefit other people. What the 'psychological egoist' claims is that when one acts on desires for specific things or to benefit other people one does so because one believes that doing so will be instrumental to promoting one’s own happiness. We can distinguish between one’s ultimate aims – what one desires for its own sake – and one’s instrumental aims – what one desires as a means of bringing about something else that one’s desires. We can then characterize psychological egoism as the claim an agent’s ultimate aim is always his own happiness or self-interest.


True example: A schoolboy was killed in while “selflessly protecting” his younger brother. You don't exist when you are a shield. His emotion was not based on greed of what he can "get out of it" he was compelled to save his brother through an irreversible drive of the human condition (the often misrepresented word "love") his own life and fear was not in the equation. Empathy is to feel what the other is feeling and in these situations one only feels what the other is feeling. Now if you want to get technical and semantic I am not interested we all know that as close as you are going to get to a selfless act is getting your head smashed in or stabbed to death so another person can live, without even knowing if it will work.

The amount of thoughts one can produce in a single second cannot be calculated effectively. Thoughts are based on the emotion one is feeling so the only way to perform a truly selfless act is paradoxically to be totally dispassionate and unfeeling, for example, inexorable nihilism negating your belief in emotions, hence all your acts in that dispassionate state of meaninglessness will learn further and further toward selflessness. To remove yourself from the consciousness of unknown others, your presence which would burden their mindfulness. Kill yourself due to your hideous nature that wishes to harm mankind. Considering we all all made up of subatomic particles I hardly think it's worth worrying about a selfless act because we are not even ourselves, life itself is cannot be narrowed down into perceivable acts because in order to perceive what is or isn't selfish or selfless we have to prove we or they exist in terms of objective reality and that is impossible since we are sentient and subjective, we are constantly shifting waves of subatomic particles that mean absolutely nothing in a dark universe of raw data.

Therefore, every act is selfless because you are not you, you are at best, somebody else unbeknownst to you that only others can see, so everything you do is for the sake of the illusory creation in your mind, so nothing has to do with what you think you are. Selfish and selfless are both illusions of unecessary thinking, we are only what is.

But if you must have morality and rationalism involved I'd say murdering somebody by accident is a selfless act. Or murdering somebody inadvertently without knowing about it.
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#53243 - 04/21/11 12:26 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Shea Offline
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Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 108
Loc: Chicago
I think we do a disservice to charitable actions when we agree with the assumption that somehow a "selfless act" (whatever that is) is somehow more valuable or righteous than a selfish one.

It seems to me that the medical scientists who work to create a vaccination for HIV or to cure cancer, and gladly admit they would love the acclaim of their peers and the astounding amount of money that would come along with that are more admirable than the self-deceitful/deluded "philanthropist" who mindlessly throws money at social problems while running his mouth about working solely for the good of mankind.

Give me a choice between a doctor who says, "I'll help you if you give me a thousand dollars;" and one who says "I'll help you because the good of our community demands it, and my knowledge is not mine to selfishly hoard."

Every time I will go to the bank and withdraw a thousand dollars.

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#53251 - 04/21/11 08:01 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Shea]
Diavolo Offline
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I read an article a couple ago which goes against all the current paradigm upholds about altruism and kin-selection but is closely aligned with how I see things on this subject.

 Quote:
Where does good come from?

On a recent Monday afternoon, the distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson was at his home in Lexington, talking on the phone about the knocks he’s been taking lately from the scientific community, and paraphrasing Arthur Schopenhauer to explain his current standing in his field. “All new ideas go through three phases,” Wilson said, with some happy mischief in his voice. “They’re first ridiculed or ignored. Then they meet outrage. Then they are said to have been obvious all along.”

Wilson is 81, an age at which he could be forgiven for retreating to a farm and lending his name to the occasional popular book about science. Over the past year he’s tried his hand at fiction writing, publishing a novel about ants — his scientific specialty — and landing a short story in The New Yorker. But he has also been pressing a disruptive scientific idea, one he reckons is currently in phase two of the Schopenhauer progression: outrage.

What Wilson is trying to do, late in his influential career, is nothing less than overturn a central plank of established evolutionary theory: the origins of altruism. His position is provoking ferocious criticism from other scientists. Last month, the leading scientific journal Nature published five strongly worded letters saying, more or less, that Wilson has misunderstood the theory of evolution and generally doesn’t know what he’s talking about. One of these carried the signatures of an eye-popping 137 scientists, including two of Wilson’s colleagues at Harvard.

His new argument, in a nutshell, amounts to a frontal attack on long-accepted ideas about one of the great mysteries of evolution: why one creature would ever help another at its own expense. Natural selection means that the fittest pass down their genes to the next generation, and every organism would seem to have an overwhelming incentive to survive and reproduce. Yet, strangely, self-sacrifice exists in the natural world, even though it would seem to put individual organisms at an evolutionary disadvantage: The squirrel that lets out a cry to warn of a nearby predator is necessarily putting itself in danger. How could genes that lead to such behavior persist in a population over time? It’s a question that bedeviled even Charles Darwin, who considered altruism a serious challenge to his theory of evolution.

The puzzle of altruism is more than just a technical curiosity for evolutionary theorists. It amounts to a high-stakes inquiry into the nature of good. By identifying the mechanisms through which altruism and other advanced social behaviors have evolved in all kinds of living creatures — like ants, wasps, termites, and mole rats — we stand to gain a better understanding of the human race, and the evolutionary processes that helped us develop the capacity for collaboration, loyalty, and even morality. Figure out where altruism comes from, you might say, and you’ve figured out the magic ingredient that makes human civilization the wondrous, complex thing that it is. And perhaps this is the reason that the debate between Wilson and his critics, actually somewhat esoteric in substance, has become so heated.

The currently accepted explanation for altruism is something known as kin selection theory. It says that an organism trying to pass its genes down to future generations can do so indirectly, by helping a relative to survive and procreate. Your brother, for example, shares roughly half your genes. And so, by the dispassionate logic of evolution, helping him produce offspring is half as good for you as producing your own. Thus, acting altruistically towards someone with whom you share genetic material does not really constitute self-sacrifice: It’s just a different way of promoting your own genes. Wilson was one of the original champions of kin selection theory, but 40 years later, he is calling it a “gimmick,” and is imploring his colleagues to give it up.

“Kin selection is wrong,” Wilson said. “That’s it. It’s wrong.”

He most recently argued this point of view in a rhetorically unsparing paper that ran on the cover of Nature last August, saying that kin selection theory simply doesn’t explain altruism. It is that paper, co-written with the Harvard mathematicians Martin Nowak and Corina Tarnita, that is now being broadly and dramatically challenged in the form of letters, blog posts, and rebuttals published in other journals. Richard Dawkins, who played a crucial role in popularizing kin selection with his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene,” said last week that he has “never met anybody apart from Wilson and Nowak who takes it seriously.”

“It’s almost universally regarded as a disgrace that Nature published it,” Dawkins said. “Most people feel the reason they published it was the eminence of Wilson and Nowak, not the quality of the paper.”

Wilson’s recent about-face on kin selection has stunned the scientific world in part because Wilson was personally responsible for the almost universal embrace of the idea in the first place. While he didn’t come up with the theory, he is often credited with discovering William Hamilton, the graduate student who did, and convincing the scientific community that the young man was onto something big.

Wilson’s initial encounter with Hamilton’s theory of kin selection is famous among biologists: The story goes that he read Hamilton’s paper, which had been published in a not-very-widely-read journal of theoretical biology, on a long train ride from Boston to Miami in 1965. He approached it with skepticism: According to a 1999 story in the magazine Lingua Franca, he was agitated by the notion that some unknown upstart seemed to have solved a puzzle that had eluded him and the rest of the profession for so long. But by the time he stepped out of the train in Miami, he was thoroughly won over by the paper’s logic and prepared to go out into the world as an evangelist.

“I was enchanted,” Wilson said.

Wilson made Hamilton’s theory the basis of his work in sociobiology, a field he pioneered in the 1970s and which cemented his status as a star beyond the realm of entomology. But over the course of subsequent decades, Wilson came across evidence that made him doubt the connection between genetic relatedness and altruism. Researchers were finding species of insects that shared a lot of genetic material with each other but didn’t behave altruistically, and other species that shared little and did. “Nothing we were finding connected with kin selection,” Wilson said. “I knew that something was going wrong — there was a smell to it.”

Wilson said he first gave voice to his doubts in 2004, by which point kin selection theory had been widely accepted as the explanation for the evolution of altruism. “I pointed out that there were a lot of problems with the kin selection hypothesis, with the original Hamilton formulation, and with the way it had been elaborated mathematically by a very visible group of enthusiasts,” Wilson said. “So I suggested an alternative theory.”

The alternative theory holds that the origins of altruism and teamwork have nothing to do with kinship or the degree of relatedness between individuals. The key, Wilson said, is the group: Under certain circumstances, groups of cooperators can out-compete groups of non-cooperators, thereby ensuring that their genes — including the ones that predispose them to cooperation — are handed down to future generations. This so-called group selection, Wilson insists, is what forms the evolutionary basis for a variety of advanced social behaviors linked to altruism, teamwork, and tribalism — a position that other scientists have taken over the years, but which historically has been considered, in Wilson’s own word, “heresy.”

For Wilson to reject kin selection this late in his career has bewildered his many admirers. “It’s sad — he’s already an enormously famous and respected scientist, and it just sort of tarnishes him in people’s eyes,” said Jerry Coyne, the University of Chicago biologist who has written disapprovingly of Wilson’s latest work on his blog. Yet Wilson said he doesn’t have a choice in the matter. “I think that’d be a pretty poor scientist, who couldn’t reverse his view from new evidence,” he said.

Though Wilson has been making his case for several years, it wasn’t until the publication of last summer’s paper in Nature that defenders of kin selection were inspired to formally respond. What has really fired people up about the paper is the assertion that the mathematical equation underlying Hamilton’s theory does not work, and that attempts to use it over the past four decades to explain the natural world have produced “meagre” results.

Many biologists find these assertions baffling. Said David Queller, a biologist at Rice University who spearheaded the letter to Nature that was signed by 136 other scientists: “At some really fundamental level I don’t understand what Ed Wilson is trying to get across, and I think that’s the response of most of the community.”

That’s exactly the problem, according to Nowak, whose new book, “SuperCooperators,” co-written with Roger Highfield, summarizes his work as a mathematician on the origins of advanced social behavior. “They don’t know what they’re arguing against,” Nowak said recently at his office, where an oversize print of the Nature cover hangs on the wall. Specifically, Nowak explained, the critics don’t understand the math, and moreover, they don’t realize that the math is the most important part.

To understand what Nowak is talking about, one must take note of the long online-only appendix that accompanied the Nature paper. In that appendix, one finds a highly technical argument that the equations underlying kin selection theory can’t be used to explain the natural world. “You want to calculate under which conditions natural selection favors the evolution of cooperation, and under which conditions it doesn’t,” Nowak explained. The equations associated with Hamilton’s theory of kin selection, he argues, don’t answer this question.

The problem, according to Nowak, is that critics are seeing the Nature paper as part of Wilson’s campaign rather than a separate, essentially mathematical argument. And it’s Nowak’s belief that many of the people who signed letters disputing his paper have never actually done the math.

“That’s like alchemy,” Nowak said. “There is no other theory than math. Mathematics is the only theory.”

While a recently published paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology challenges the math in the Nature paper, most of the objections don’t really go near the numbers. At a very basic level, critics feel Wilson and his coauthors are wrong to treat kin selection as something separate from natural selection. As Dawkins explains it, kin selection is not a distinct process but a necessary consequence: a subset, rather than an add-on. “What they’re missing is the logical point that kin selection is not separable from neo-Darwinian natural selection,” Dawkins said. “To separate them off would be like talking about Euclidean geometry without talking about the Pythagorean theorem.”

Coyne put it even more simply: “It’s like saying that Chardonnay is not wine.”

Wilson is not arguing that members of certain species don’t sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their relatives. They do. But it’s his position that kinship and relatedness aren’t essential in causing the development of advanced social behaviors like altruism — that the reason such behaviors catch on is that they’re evolutionarily advantageous on a group level. That socially advanced organisms end up favoring their kin, Wilson argues, is a byproduct of their group membership, not the cause.

“It’s a question of which is the cart and which is the horse,” said Peter Nonacs, a UCLA biologist who shares Wilson’s sense that relatedness and advanced social behavior are not as intimately linked as most scientists think.

The last time Wilson found himself embroiled in controversy as scalding as the current one was after the publication of his book “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis” in 1975. In that landmark book, he made an argument about the power of genetics, demonstrating how all manner of social behaviors observed in insects and animals could be seen as the result of natural selection. What landed Wilson in trouble was the last chapter, in which he extended his argument to humans. That chapter thrust Wilson into a long and loaded debate over how much our genetic heritage — as opposed to, say, culture — has shaped our behavior. Amid the outcry over “Sociobiology,” Wilson was pilloried by critics on the left as an agent of biological determinism and racist science. Protestors once interrupted Wilson while he was speaking at a science conference and poured a glass of water on his head.

So far, Wilson has stopped short of extending his new ideas about the evolution of social behavior to the human race. But that’s not going to last. Asked last week whether group selection happens in humans, Wilson said, “Yes, emphatically.”

“Human beings have an intense desire to form groups, and they always have,” Wilson said. “This powerful tendency we have to form groups and then have the groups compete, which is in every aspect of our social behavior...is basically the driving force that caused the origin of human behavior.”

Wilson will elaborate on this view in his next project, a book he’s tentatively calling “The Social Conquest of Earth,” which he said will be published by W. W. Norton next year. In it, he said, he will explain how socially advanced species have come to dominate the earth, and will lay out a “reexamination of human evolution” informed by his recent turn towards group selection. Those who bristle at the notion that all altruistic behavior can be recast, via kin selection, as being indirectly self-interested — those who would like to think there’s room in nature for a more genuine form of altruism — may find it appealing.

The fact that all but a few of Wilson’s colleagues think he’s gone off the deep end doesn’t seem to bother him. “What we’ve done is clear the way for a new period of research, unencumbered by the doctrinaire aspects of kin selection theory,” he said. “They can say what they want. I think we have a much brighter vision now for how to proceed.”

Link


D.

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#53265 - 04/21/11 04:08 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Diavolo]
Ghostly1 Offline
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Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 147
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Despite the at times, lengthy descriptions of Altruism and selfless acts..... I add this:

Even in the heat of combat, personal responsibility of each individual soldier tells him to watch his brothers back, because he would do the same for me. Being seen as a coward would be unbearable. So in doing so, giving ones own life for another, however selfless it might seem is still done out of fear of regret, or guilt for letting a fellow comrade die. It would be also true if it came from a sense of duty. I personally wouldn't want to see a man who has a wife and children die, when I at the time had none to grieve for me.

Most of these things we would be willing to do, still come from an inherent, and well thought out philosophy we put in place when dealing with situations and people we come across. A warm fuzzy feeling wouldn't be one of the things I would have if I took a bullet for someone. Now would it be a faith in humanity, but a "you reap what you sow" sort of mentality. Its about personal image. No money or goods need exchange hands. The ego boost more then qualifies the act. Even if it would be an afterthought, moments before death.
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#53733 - 04/30/11 03:00 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Ghostly1]
Thule Offline
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Registered: 04/30/11
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The above article touches on some of the racial theories of hraftzer Asatru (kin selection).

In essence the mistake made here is to think that there is no difference between us and them. We all live in society. When our family, society, group etc. is made stronger it makes us stronger. Therefore to do "selfless" acts for the group actually benefits the self.

I believe most low class people are inferior precisely because they are selfish. They don't understand the value of teamwork or altruism. As individuals they are weak.

Imagine a football game, or any team sport really. One team uses team work. They are very "selfless" subordinating their individual desires for the group effort. For example instead of being a hero, the man passes the ball to someone who is in a better position to score the point (seemingly selfless act). In the end he wins the game as the result of that "selfless" behavior.

By contrast the other team are a bunch of individuals selfishly pushing each other down in the name of personal glory. Even if they are individually stronger and smarter they will be crushed by the more well organized team.

This is the underlying conclusion I've reached in life. The primary factor in success (money, power etc.) is team work rather than intelligence, hard work etc.

I do think some people are brainwashed to harm themselves. Thy let others feed off of them. This never benefits them. This mainly comes from Christian and Marxist type of social theories. So they are "altruistic" and "selfless" in a totally non beneficial (non selfish way). Even these people do it because it makes them feel good or they think they are going to heaven.

There is a differance between what I call "hraftzer" charity and the type of charity we are taught in mainstream society. For example I would not help someone who is a burden or a thorn in my side. I don't feel obligated to help anyone. But if I want to help someone because I like them or it feels good to do for the moment I will do it. So even though I place altruism as being extremely important it is a totally different kind of altruism than what society teaches us.

For example I believe in being altruistic but if someone is not altruistic back and a total parasite then I believe in letting them die by their own actions. Meanwhile Christianity, Marxism etc. teaches us that we have an obligation to turn the other cheek and to help those that would harm us. That is a stupid kind of altruism that runs counter to nature. I simply believe that people who work together and mutually care about each other are in a better position to survive in this world. It is completely selfish therefore to be "selfless" and think about others and always do things for others.

Society teaches us to poke a hole in our veins and let others feed off of us. They consider it noble to drain our own wealth to help those "less fortunate" (not really less fortunate usually just make inferior choices to us and won't take responsibility for it).

One should feel good about being selfish in this respect. For when we live as self serving beings we actually serve the whole in a way as well. It is when we behave irrationally that things become imbalanced and slip into chaos (which I think is part of the reason our world is in such a kali yuga/age of chaos now).



Edited by Thule (04/30/11 03:04 PM)
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#54250 - 05/10/11 10:13 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: sibly]
Invidious Offline
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Registered: 05/09/11
Posts: 11
Greetings.

This is a debate that has ranged in the halls of philosophy departments for centuries and there are as many arguments on either side as there are people who breathe air. What follows is my own belief on the issue.

If we define a selfless act according to the language we are using, i.e. "selfless act" being an act devoid of self, then there can be no selfless act. This is because it causes some response in the person performing the action and it is therefore not selfless.

Even in the case of a person giving their life for another, there will be talk of that action after the death. The act is not devoid of self.

Rather than fight that prideful feeling we get from doing something nice, we should take it for what it is and allow ourselves to feel good for being nice. There is nothing wrong with an act being selfish (Ayn Rand wrote a book on this, which by the way is on the list on the homepage I believe). As with so many things, the scale of measurement has degrees beyond "selfish" and "selfless" and other than as labels of the extreme ends of the scale these terms become largely meaningless.

Identify the situation, act according to your will, accept whatever comes and make a note to refine future action to be more in accordance with your will.

333.
Invidious.

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#55209 - 05/30/11 11:04 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Invidious]
Pizgatti Offline
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Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
This does not deserve a long discussion IMO. Altruism is the leaving of the self, it is the opposite of selfishness. There is never any form of true Altruism, it won't happen and can't happen.

No living creature does anything that does not benefit itself, or those around it in the community (thus helping itself). As a human, you always receive something in return. Whether it be mentally, or physically. You are always receiving something, even if it is the feeling of doing good. You would have to be in a zombie like state, and helping others from a brainwashed state to approach altruism, with nothing on your mind at all. Even then, your still doing something for yourself because it satisfies the brainwashing and conditioning in your mind to do so.

Done.

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#55217 - 05/30/11 03:09 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
"No person does anything that does not benefit themselves". It is the casual way people often say this that has always tapped into my sorrow.

I can face the fact that people are often selfish and sometimes even ignorant of one another's feelings, but when I face a reality where people are shallow... I cannot identify different emotions inside me, it is only different levels of dark pain, gutting nausea, pain, if a women is in distress. Even though all emotion is the same illness feeling inside, it is unpleasant but I am living proof that a clearing happens, only twice in my life, momentarily, the blurred and muffled pain inside was washed away and I felt nothing but protection toward them. I will not write exactly what because such is private to me.

Of my deep seated rage, I feel may be wrought from the ignorance of humankind. My own past included. "You love me in your own way, you were never there with us" and the tears streamed down her face, the mother of my child 11 years ago because I was, still am, struggling with malignant narcissism. My Jungian shadow is a nasty one, ugly and selfish, weak.


Think of,

Women give birth every day. And people adopt children every day. If you think these acts are based on ego, gratification, comfort to self, you simply have immature emotional intelligence.

A lady that was haemorrhaging whilst giving birth to her baby, a baby that was not coming out, was screaming for the doctors to kill her to save her baby. My mother.

A lady that gives up her newborn to another lady who cannot have children. Do you really think it is money that is the prime mover?

Fireman face fear of mortal danger to save somebody else, little children. Do you really think this stems from a greedy desire for money and self satiation.

All humans are not words like selfish and selfless, morality has no place in Nature, all things are based on relationships and nothing is separate. Defining with fixations is not really something one cares to do when it comes to be inexplicably clear that you care more for another person more than yourself. This is when all fear dissolves. There is no need to formalise things.


Edited by Hegesias (05/30/11 04:00 PM)
Edit Reason: Temporary normality
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#55218 - 05/30/11 04:22 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Lucifer Rising Offline
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Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 147
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
I think that it really depends on how you look at it. Many people will perform an act that appears selfless for selfish reasons, such as karma, appeasement of deity, social recognition, ego, etc. Often, as viewed from the psychology of the agent, a selfless act can be a true selfless act. It may benefit the agent in some way, but the agent does not recognize it. It can be said that the woman that wishes to die in place of her child is trying to continue her genetic legacy from an objective, evolutionary, third person perspective. The mother does not view it this way, however, and the act is perceived as a purely selfless act.

It seems that a selfless act must be an unexamined act. If a person thinks of the reasons behind the act, and can recognize the selfish aspects of it, it is no longer a psychologically selfless act.
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Even if you're the ultimate evil lord of the underworld, you should always be yourself. Mickey Mouse

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#55219 - 05/30/11 04:48 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Pizgatti Offline
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Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
"Women give birth every day. And people adopt children every day. If you think these acts are based on ego, gratification, comfort to self, you simply have immature emotional intelligence."

Immature? Or just not blinded by the social order? We all want to believe theses things, and it's easy to lose hope in mankind when we realize certain things but that doesn't change the truth. You adopt a child because you want a child, children bring joy. Children bring emotional satisfaction and an ego massage when you see them grown up to be how to want them to be. When you see your full grown daughter become a woman, and inspire others it moves you. It gives you a boost like you helped the world.
People want to feel like they did something, children leave your mark behind. It's a person that will remember you until you die and pass on your memory perhaps for another generation. Women give birth because they are already pregnant. You don't stop that, most people will not get an abortion because of their own moral dilemma within their mind. Not everyone who gives birth wants to by the way, and those who do fall into the first part of my paragraph above.


"A lady that was haemorrhaging whilst giving birth to her baby, a baby that was not coming out, was screaming for the doctors to kill her to save her baby. My mother."

You don't move me with personal stories, I see the facts. I have no doubt that this happens. I understand that it's personal to you. But like has been said, an organism WILL sacrifice it's own life so that it's lineage may live on. My condolences for your early loss if your mother is not here this day, I mean no disrespect her way. However, wanting your lineage and genes to carry on is not so strange. That, coupled with either pain medication or the pressures of society about "the right thing to do", or maybe even both would also cause this reaction. Still an inspiring act and interesting indeed.

"A lady that gives up her newborn to another lady who cannot have children. Do you really think it is money that is the prime mover?"

Yes. Yes I do. I also think they believe once again that they are doing something for another person so they feel good about themselves. They probably also don't really want the baby, or know they can't feed and afford one. In that case they are making the right decision, and also again...letting their lineage live on.


"Fireman face fear of mortal danger to save somebody else, little children. Do you really think this stems from a greedy desire for money and self satiation."

I don't know about you, but I'd feel like a damn badass diving out of an exploding burning building with a child in my arms. EGO MASSAGES FOR EVERYONE! PASS THEM AROUND! We all want to help...ourselves. By helping the community we further our own goals and shape it into the kind of world we want to live in. Helping? Yes. Altruism? No.

"All humans are not words like selfish and selfless, morality has no place in Nature, all things are based on relationships and nothing is separate. Defining with fixations is not really something one cares to do when it comes to be inexplicably clear that you care more for another person more than yourself. This is when all fear dissolves. There is no need to formalise things."

This is the Satanism section. As a satanist self preservation is important. It is possible to care enough about someone close that you would risk your life for them, but caring for someone more than yourself is almost unhealthy.

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#55224 - 05/30/11 06:21 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
Knowledge comes from living, and as you gradually discover wisdom, the examined life begins to lose value, and with a fully examined life, there is nothing more of any value in continuing to live. Wisdom makes life less valuable for life is worth living only if you are not yet wise. To the wise life is indifferent.
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#55227 - 05/30/11 06:52 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Pizgatti Offline
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Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
If life is indifferent then you don't deserve to live, nor have the strength of will to do so. I don't quite care if it turns out that I die at any moment, but to let it happen is akin to suicide and is nowhere near wise.
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#55231 - 05/30/11 07:18 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Lucifer Rising Offline
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Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 147
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
While I'm not sure what it has to do with the topic, I must say I have never seen wisdom result in indifference toward life. I have seen knowledge contribute to this, but most people learn to live with any such knowledge and get past that. Those that don't, as Pizgatti said, do not posses the strength nor will to live. Wisdom does not come from knowledge, but from what you do with it.
_________________________
Even if you're the ultimate evil lord of the underworld, you should always be yourself. Mickey Mouse

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#55296 - 05/31/11 07:56 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
"If life is indifferent then you don't deserve to live, nor have the strength of will to do so. I don't quite care if it turns out that I die at any moment, but to let it happen is akin to suicide and is nowhere near wise."— Pizgatti

Interesting conclusion. I would add that Nature would be the drive in all of life, synonymous with the will to power. The controlled indifference encountered when one would assume a life fully examined does not have to equate to one being committed to suicide, but could surmount to one becoming a joyous embracer of fatalism.

As the accumulation of wisdom is revealed to be perpetual, eternal recurrence or not, this can be seen as either hopelessly futile or a challenging and stimulating journey. Surely irony shared at ones own expense is in part a selfless act.

The sage assumes he has a fully examined life from an assumed fully attained wisdom, whether consciously aware of this narrow mindedness or not, this assumption of a fully examined life will manifest as loss of interest. To be aware that life is never something that can be fully examined is to affirm a life worth living (as a less of a fool than he who assumes he is not).

Previously I was presenting a view, such view does not represent my worldview but was presented to draw conclusions from the premise— what is selfless acts. And to what degree we ought to look at what is selfless or selfish. As to the contextual ambiguity surrounding such— To first identify what is a "selfless act" we must first establish what we are looking for, whether Nature or morality is the prime mover or if both are relevant, and to what degree, instead of a black and white absolute fixation as to one or the other.

Like in previous posts let us look at what is "self" and self "ish" and self "less". Even the word self implies a negative connotation as self(ish) is bad and self(less) is good, so dislike the self and gain negativistic passive aggressive ego gratification by forcing needless generosity unto others to be regarded by yourself and others, a good person, in Christianised society.

I would be eager to dismiss moral implications and see moral implications as abstract effects of a Natural cause, when it comes to "altruism".

Without derailing the thread into quantum physics and the illusion of solidarity. What is individuality if it is not illusion of the ego and separatism. The ego being distinct from what is the "self". Many Satanist assign the Ego as the Self.

Whether the relationship of living beings is within an impersonal observable universe or even a solipsist demiurge illusion is not important. What is important is that the observable universe is based on relationships, causality.

I'd like others to debunk this rather sickening idea of global consciousness and especially the sickly hippy context that is spreading over the information network like memetic faeces. Considering this rather insane view, I will say that perceptual preferences as to what is selfish or selfless is irrelevant to global consciousness. So then if like the hippies say about global consciousness is true, is a totally selfish act possible?

In this view, if I chop off your head am I just hurting myself, and considering that I'd have to be a Sadist to do such a thing, would this be empathic masochism drawing pleasure from your pain because I am you? No I don't think so either.

Insofar as selfishness being synonymous with what is individual. Is it only the idea of "self" that differentiates whether we are connected or disconnected from one another? Compartmentalising Nature, the observable universe, according to preference. How selfish. But maybe selfishness is what makes us all alike and therefore inexplicably connected beyond what the ego can allocate to neatly packaged fixations.
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#55336 - 06/01/11 12:58 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Pizgatti Offline
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Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
I feel that all of that complicates the matter much greater than what the topic needs as is usually the case with us that think too much. We analyze every facet, every piece of a situation (as should be the case). However, in this I believe we sometimes over complicated, when perhaps the best presentation of an argument is to over simplify.

I submit, that it's quite simple. Regardless of whether we are separated from our egos within our self's seems not to matter in my mind. The though is this: "Is there such a thing possible as true altruistic behavior?"

I have to say that as with most things, of course there is the possibility of this happening. It may have even happened with a certain organism at a certain time. However, I can't recall a time when it has happened to myself or others around me...but this is only "my" world. In your world it may happen, I wouldn't know from experience there. The thought I am putting out there, if you would like to analyze so deeply into the situation is to go ahead and keep doing that. Keep analyzing, think back to EVERY moment of kindness you can, every moment of pure generosity. If you drop all of your emotional baggage, your relations to each situation, and forget how you felt at the time you might come to the same conclusions as myself.

 Quote:
"Altruism, in practice, is the performance of duties to others with no view to any sort of personal gain for one's efforts. If one performs an act beneficial to others with a view to gaining affection, respect, reputation, or any form of gratitude or remuneration then it is not an altruistic act. It is in fact a selfish act because the principal motivation was to reap some benefit for oneself. The desire of this benefit exists equally whether it is psychological, emotional, intellectual, or material - each form of desirable benefit is philosophically identical as a motivation."


The problem I see whenever someone tries to answer this on other websites is this: They only are concerned with how they justify it to themselves. You can't do that, you can't think back and say: "Well, the reason I did it was to alleviate suffering, thus it is truly altruistic." No.

It's not up to you, you don't even get to judge your own acts and almost shouldn't be able to. I can say all I want that I give change to the man standing on the street when he asks, because I want to help and I'm a good person. I'd be lying, I can admit that to myself. I give him change because I don't need it for anything right then, and it's worth it to me so I don't have to have an awkward moment with a man I don't know. He knows I have change, I just came out of a store and my pockets jingle and I would really just like him to leave me alone and not touch me. Personally. I can admit that and know it's not a truly altruistic act.

In closing, you would literally have to be brain-dead, with most of your brain not functioning except for motor skills and literal thinking skills to commit an altruistic act. You would have to completely and consciously only focus on giving someone something just to give. Only I would say your probably still doing it in this situation for yourself, even if you don't know it...your dying and just want someone you know to have your stuff or to feel good before you die. Even here I don't see it being possible. I don't know why, it just doesn't compute. Just like Charlie Sheen's brain...

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#55337 - 06/01/11 01:00 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Ringmaster Offline
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Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 205
Loc: Salem Oregon
“Surely irony shared at one’s own expense is in part a selfless act.” Surely you find this erroneous. I say this because it isn’t ever really selfless.

It was stated earlier that it could be an act of morality; a motivation was just identified. Even if it is the feeling of satisfaction of committing an act based off good morality it is still done to attain that satisfaction no matter how miniscule.

Also irony being shared at one’s own expense is nothing more than making a compromise in order to achieve whatever satisfaction would be gained. So yes the act would be committed for a selfish reason.

“To first identify what is a "selfless act" we must first establish what we are looking for, whether Nature or morality is the prime mover or if both are relevant, and to what degree, instead of a black and white absolute fixation as to one or the other.” Well unfortunately most things in life are in black and white, because when you get down to the most basic of perspectives it comes down to what is true and what is not. You can’t say in court that it wasn’t a crime because the government is looking at things in only black and white. (I use this analogy loosely) Furthermore, nature or morality being the prime mover is always relevant because an action is committed for a reason regardless if the reason is subconscious or a conscious one; the motivation is still always there.

This also brings me to mention that while a person THINKS the act may be selfless it really isn’t because subconsciously they are gaining satisfaction in some way shape or form weather they realize it or not.
_________________________
Get off the cross and save yourself, I feel no pity for the cries of a weak man.

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#55340 - 06/01/11 01:30 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Ringmaster]
Pizgatti Offline
stranger


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
 Originally Posted By: Ringmaster


This also brings me to mention that while a person THINKS the act may be selfless it really isn’t because subconsciously they are gaining satisfaction in some way shape or form weather they realize it or not.




So is perhaps what we really need to define and determine is the nature of Altruism. Are we saying that subconscious thought and action interfere with true Altruism? I say that it does. I agree with you. I believe some are trying to say that if you don't realize its selfish, it's not. Which doesn't make sense to me.

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#55350 - 06/01/11 05:35 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
@Ringmaster and Pizgatti.

Is satisfaction even relevant as to one man's satisfaction will be something that vexes another, and to what degree is a selfish or selfless act personal or impersonal, they are both the same thing outside of morality, if one tries to formalise the universe by his apparatus — the human condition — he will only see what is within the limits of what the apparatus is designed to see.

A selfless act would be inadvertently killing somebody without even noticing. Or likewise bestowing fortune upon another person totally by accident and never knowing who they are such as losing your wallet in a rough part of town. Causality and the relationships between humans seems to have been assumed to be more important if the ego is appeased by it's limit of perception, when all around the intricate causal chain of events initiated by the individual may be responsible for innumerable positive events for others and likewise very bad events for others.

So, selfless acts outweigh what is perceivable selfish acts.
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#55352 - 06/01/11 05:48 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Pizgatti]
Hegesias Offline
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Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
Conjecture.


I'd say Altruism is a mixture of adrenaline — fight or flight — in a situation of unexpected empathy where the living beings are inexplicably connected outside of any conscious formalising when instinct kicks in. What say you Pizgatti?


Like the guy who jumps in front of a bullet or pushes an oblivious victim away from a car collision, possibly getting slammed himself, he's not trying to save anyone consciously (unless he's suicidal), he doesn't know what to do, he just reacts from somewhere in the unconscious programming. Part of the collective unconsciousness, our Nature, which is not limited to the self but is mundane to all.

Therefore it is impossible to be selfish as there is no differentiating one person from another apart from the illusion of ego. We are simply sentient flesh and bone constantly rotting and being reborn, a womb of sick hanging in an unfeeling dark universe.

I don't know though as certain egocentric people may freeze in dangerous situations because they are so fixated on preserving their preciously formalised universe, so much so that they are divorced from Nature.
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#55354 - 06/01/11 06:13 PM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Pizgatti Offline
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Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 33
It's not Altruism though still, we will never know for sure if these people jump in front of a bullet or push someone into safety for any personal satisfaction or gain or not. I'd take a bullet, but only for close family. It's still not Altruistic because they are part of my continuing lineage and part of my content life. My reality I protect. Would I push someone out of the way of a car? Sure. I would think I was fast enough to do it, and being superior I should. Would superman save a man from falling? More importantly does a shepherd save a sheep from danger of the wolf? I mean unless the person is just being stupid with headphones on and walks out in the road...fuck them for being stupid then.

Either way. Just like the existence of God, we can leave the open possibility but it's pretty likely there is no true existence of Altruism in the world.

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#55382 - 06/02/11 08:43 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Hegesias]
Ringmaster Offline
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Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 205
Loc: Salem Oregon
That would be assuming that someone’s ego is in fact an illusion. How could ego be assumed an illusion when in fact it is quite recognizable in every human being? Someone’s ego is I would say synonymous with pride, being that it is the driving motivational factor in an individual’s ego. If someone had no pride they wouldn’t have a very big ego. Isn’t it funny how mainstream society portrays people with big egos as being selfish and narcissistic?

In regards to empathy; an extremely selfish individual can and often does experience the felling of empathy. Satanists will have feelings of empathy for those people he/she deems worthy of their respect.

As brought up in TSB the Satanist will disregard individuals who are undeserving of respect and hate his/her enemies with a whole heart in order to be able to experience feelings of love, empathy, and respect to those people who earn it. I consider myself an extremely selfish person, I want some sort of profit for most of my efforts in anything be it respect, money, materialistic things so on and so forth; but I will go out of my way to assist those who deserve it in my eyes and my motivational factor is easy to recognize that doesn’t make me an altruist just an opportunist.

“A selfless act would be inadvertently killing somebody without even noticing. Or likewise bestowing fortune upon another person totally by accident and never knowing who they are such as losing your wallet in a rough part of town” None of those acts would be considered selfless. I’m actually somewhat amused that you would attribute losing a wallet an act of altruism. Please explain your reasoning behind this. I would call these examples bad luck or an accident. You would never intend to lose your wallet and I would imagine you would be angry at the fact that you lost it. I can already venture and guess that you might use the argument of subconscious decisions (the very same that I used) as a means of explaining that logic. So I will counter that one here now. While you subconsciously lose your wallet yes that much I can agree with; however upon noticing most people would try to find it before someone else does. So does this mean that someone’s conscious decisions are working against their subconscious? I know when I lost my wallet I retraced my steps in effort to retrieve my ID and money before some lucky bastard that happened to stumble upon it. And need I mention what would happen if I happened by chance to find someone picking it up and putting that money in their pocket?

“So, selfless acts outweigh what is perceivable selfish acts” Looks like Christian bullshit to my eyes. I have so much to gain committing acts that benefit me over acts that benefit others. Please explain how you came up with that cute little sentiment.

“I don't know though as certain egocentric people may freeze in dangerous situations because they are so fixated on preserving their preciously formalized universe, so much so that they are divorced from Nature” I pull the bullshit card out once again with that statement. Just ask a soldier who didn’t freeze up in a situation if he agrees with this. While I will say that it is hard to maintain composure in situations where your life is in jeopardy it is still very possible. I never froze up when rockets landing in the vicinity of my area, I walked to a bunker and sought cover and after all the booms were said and done offered to go check and make sure that no one was injured. I didn’t freeze up I acted in a way to preserve my own life first and foremost while maintaining the mentality to act if need be.

CHEERS,
RING
_________________________
Get off the cross and save yourself, I feel no pity for the cries of a weak man.

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#55387 - 06/02/11 10:11 AM Re: Selfless acts [Re: Ringmaster]
Hegesias Offline
active member


Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 725
"That would be assuming that someone’s ego is in fact an illusion. How could ego be assumed an illusion when in fact it is quite recognizable in every human being?"

Ego is an essential tool in this civilisation. But total dependence on this tool brings about certain problems.

In focusing on a tree, the mind is only bringing into detail what is directly in front of it, and so cannot see the forest itself is One. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Man has a tendency to concentrate on the finger.

Fixation distorts reality, it is illusions. The ego shines brightly and casts a shadow over reality.

I would like to vector the understanding that cultured man is an abomination of Nature— creations made to satiate the ego almighty's boredom.

"In regards to empathy; an extremely selfish individual can and often does experience the feeling of empathy. Satanists will have feelings of empathy for those people he/she deems worthy of their respect."

Interesting. Empathy is not limited to preference nor moral formalising as I could tell it were about to rain or that a person is a born victim by their skewed gait. So maybe what most regard as empathy is simply affection, hence, a derivative of active submission. Why? Because upon recognising another is to be respected, dominance observed in other males or threat observed to females, or for whatever effect of Nature. The biological notion of altruism is not identical to the morally cultivated concept. Man has sought to "improve" himself and by these unnecessary moral fixations, which man sees as "enhancements" he is often more than partially blinded to what is inexplicably Natural.

Considering life is based upon relationships we ought not fixate upon a solitary factor when it comes to Nature. So, the will to power being a force of life itself, and considering that the will to power is a stronger drive than the will to survival alone as we can observe us and other animals risking our lives for more power. The same could be said about altruism insofar as possible harm coming to oneself for the sake of preserving the pack. And we all know that what does not kill, makes strong.

“So, selfless acts outweigh what is perceivable selfish acts” Looks like Christian bullshit to my eyes. I have so much to gain committing acts that benefit me over acts that benefit others. Please explain how you came up with that cute little sentiment."

Altruism is selfishly motivated on a primal emotive level and has not much to do with personal preferences, formalisations which follow, as we inexplicably recognise emotional impulses when other beings are observed in certain situations, as we are social animals we are doomed to feel this and although some of us are capable of emotional control and dispassionate rationalisation, who's not to say that the empathy does not catalyse response. Selfless acts must therefore "not" involve the individuals perception i.e. the self is absent form perceptual equations.

Chaos theory. You are not able to perceive all you are responsible for. These effects of your involvement may be the only act to be considered "selfless", catastrophic or otherwise beneficial to humankind is not important, what is important is that the chain events one has set about in causality is beyond the scope of that one man's observation.

“So, selfless acts outweigh what is perceivable selfish acts”
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