Before you set foot inside this post, I want you to get off your high horse.
Please, don’t worry. This is for the best. Just know that I’m going to be questioning everything you’ve ever believed! It’s philosophy’s fault. It’s using me as a vessel and speaking through me. Blame that.
Ok, now that we’re on level ground, let’s discuss the issue of true or pure altruism. Issue is actually the wrong word. We’re just going to do something small and put it’s existence into question. If you know true altruism personally, please speak up. It’s probably one of the biggest insults to question someone’s existence. When you start debating about the nature of their existence online, that is when a line is crossed.
To get it out of the way, I am aware that kindness exists. Oh and I think I’ll add that, yes, I do also think that it is a good thing. A second disclaimer: I’m not a cruel, heartless man. True altruism and kindness aren’t the same thing. True altruism is a different beast to tame. By nature, it’s a completely selfless transaction. Something you do that gives nothing to you but provides something to the other person. The first example I can think of is someone breaking there neck to work at the hospital and then volunteering to run a food drive and, oh yeah, she also chews food for the elderly who don’t have teeth. What does this wonderful imaginary beauty get from doing all of this? Nothing. Well, nothing that we can see.
And this is the problem.
When people talk about complete selflessness the problem is that they use OTHERS as an example when they don’t know what makes them tick. We can’t see what’s pushing them to do the crazy and beautiful things they are doing. Maybe, they don’t even know. Then why do they do these things? Why do they sacrifice themselves on a daily basis? Well, there is one thing that everyone receives for every kind deed.
The helper high.
You’ve felt it before, haven’t you? You have probably seen people who crave this feeling too. Those people with creepy smiles, breaking their necks to keep others happy. It’s a rush of a feeling that outweighs the sacrifices you made to get it. Can this be viewed as a … good thing? Now, this just makes things more interesting.
You see, if someone sacrificed their time to help you with your problems and they felt absolutely shit afterwards, would you feel good about it? No, right? This just seems like something that isn’t human. We usually like to feel like the other person was happy to help or we would feel guilty.
Maybe, the problem doesn’t actually lie with the feeling of joy someone gets from doing good deeds. The real issue is if you’re doing the deed for yourself or for the other person. You see, this good feedback is evolution giving you a big, sweaty pat on the back and telling you that you did a very good thing. You can’t exactly control this feeling.
You can control if you are doing something for the person or the feeling, however. It’s very hard to reason in your mind which one you’re even doing though. Most people don’t want to seem like an asshole to themselves so they try desperately to censor their “bad side”.
“Wow, it’s so pleasant to see him back on his feet again and I did it all by my– *cough* I mean, I’m really glad that he can finally see his family again and maybe finally thank me that ungrateful, piece of … beautiful human who is beautiful”
Hopefully, you know your own mind pretty well and what goes on inside of it. If not, I’d suggest a small day trip into the recesses of your own mind. For those of us who have, we are aware of our own motivations. The majority of the time, when we are doing something kind we are doing it for some tangible benefit. We’re looking for a new friendship, a “favour” or something as simple as a thank you.
People do get annoyed when they don’t receive a thank you. They expected appreciation for the effort they went through and so, by nature, this transaction can’t be selfless. You’d call that guy an asshole and move on even though you helped him and would have treated him completely different if he had said thank you. The expression of gratitude is like a solid, tangible gift to a lot of people.
Ego-boosting is another reason why you can’t trust every kind person. Ego-boosting is doing something kind so that the public will essentially suck your dick. It’s a way of moving up the social ladder. It’s also quite an easy way of bragging and this is bragging that does helps others but it’s most certainly not selfless. Think of every single charity with somebodies name tagged onto it and their face plastered everywhere. What a hero.
How many people would actually donate to charity if no one would ever find out? I’m going to say that I wouldn’t. I’m going to make a stand. If I didn’t feel that feeling of helper joy and no one was watching I’d steal from the donation box. No one to witness the crime. In all seriousness, ego-boosting and self promotion is a very dominant reason for the “purest of altruism”. This isn’t even a bad thing. They are still helping even if their motives are self interested. Charities exploit this, as they should, by making us guilty so that we give them money. You donate when you feel guilty so that you can feel normal again. Not a helper high but a helper normal.
Do I think true altruism can even exist in this world? No, not at all. I used to think this was a terrible thing but… not anymore. I think that a word soley driven by true altruism would have more suffering than the world we live in. A bold statement.
Hear me out. If everyone was sacrificing themselves with no gain, no one would be well off. It would be a world filled with sacrifices and some relief from the help people are providing but mostly… pain and sacrifice. In a selfless world, you wouldn’t feel good about the help you were providing but you’d know and feel what you were missing. You’d be stuck providing help without being able to feel in any way positive. Sorry. That’s how it would work. This is an expert speaking.
This expert would also like some opinions.
Does it matter to you that we are selfish?
Do most people focus on gaining something when they perform a “selfless act”?
If you don’t think pure altruism exists, do you think it can in this world?
Do you think that kindness is a necessary thing that gives life more purpose? Why do you think this?
I’m afraid that when you leave this post you will be a cynical, terrible person. Go out, my friends. Go out and complain to the unenlightened.