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Thread: Altruism, .... Is there such a thing as 'without ego'?

  1. #1 Altruism, .... Is there such a thing as 'without ego'? 
    Forum Junior sampson's Avatar
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    When did the religions adopt the word Altruism and alter the definition to suit their selfishness?


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    Can you give an example? Because I don't even associate altruism with religion. Altruism is also part of many other animal behaviors, not just human ones.


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    Human acts of unselfish behavior are heavily influenced by religion. Not that the non religious are not capable of kindness also, but Altruism requires some elements that are not possible in the animal kingdom. Selfless, egoless, without self-interest, without benefit, or acting without genetic programming are examples. So, the claim of being or acting Altruistically can not be true. Acting out of kindness is just that, and does not fit the definition of Altruism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Human acts of unselfish behavior are heavily influenced by religion. Not that the non religious are not capable of kindness also, but Altruism requires some elements that are not possible in the animal kingdom. Selfless, egoless, without self-interest, without benefit, or acting without genetic programming are examples. So, the claim of being or acting Altruistically can not be true. Acting out of kindness is just that, and does not fit the definition of Altruism.
    Most social animals, humans included, express forms of altruism. You seem to be trying to redefine altruism specifically to remove all but the behavior of human animals. I doubt there are any forms of altruism limited only to our species.

    Selfless, egoless, without self-interest, without benefit, or acting without genetic programming are examples
    Such as? Can you provide a single example where a person does something altruist without even so much as a hint of pleasure in doing so, or more obvious reciprocal forms of altruism seen even other social animals?

    And sure there are connections to religious teachings, for example Corinthians passages about charity and giving...but even those put forth a selfish reason in the form of connecting to Jesus and the biggest reward of all which is joining him in heaven.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Selfless, egoless, without self-interest, without benefit, or acting without genetic programming are examples
    Such as? Can you provide a single example where a person does something altruist without even so much as a hint of pleasure in doing so, or more obvious reciprocal forms of altruism seen even other social animals?
    I'm not sure if any altruistic expression can be separated from deriving some form of pleasure (in the form of an expression of concern without expecting any form of reciprocation) in performing such an act. There needs be some form of psychological and/or emotional feedback, otherwise one wouldn't be motivated to act at all if I'm not mistaken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I'm not sure if any altruistic expression can be separated from deriving some form of pleasure (in the form of an expression of concern without expecting any form of reciprocation) in performing such an act. There needs be some form of psychological and/or emotional feedback, otherwise one wouldn't be motivated to act at all if I'm not mistaken.
    See, you just used "altruistic expression" in a post that in itself denies the possibility of Altruism., as far as egoless, selfless, without genetic drive, or without some benefit or feedback. Brain studies have proven the feel good reaction to giving. So, can we conclude that there is no possible way for Animals to act Altruistically?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I'm not sure if any altruistic expression can be separated from deriving some form of pleasure (in the form of an expression of concern without expecting any form of reciprocation) in performing such an act. There needs be some form of psychological and/or emotional feedback, otherwise one wouldn't be motivated to act at all if I'm not mistaken.
    See, you just used "altruistic expression" in a post that in itself denies the possibility of Altruism., as far as egoless, selfless, without genetic drive, or without some benefit or feedback. Brain studies have proven the feel good reaction to giving. So, can we conclude that there is no possible way for Animals to act Altruistically?
    No, you can't conclude any such thing. You can observe animals acting altruistically. What is your point, and what is the connection to religion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    See, you just used "altruistic expression" in a post that in itself denies the possibility of Altruism., as far as egoless, selfless, without genetic drive, or without some benefit or feedback. Brain studies have proven the feel good reaction to giving. So, can we conclude that there is no possible way for Animals to act Altruistically?
    I specifically used the term altruistic expression instead of someone who is altruistic because I'm not privy to the individual's innermost thoughts and his/her reasons and motivation in performing such an act. They may do it for reasons that isn't inherently altruistic; such as social norms, pressure, expectations, or just following instructions by being told that it is the "right thing" to do. But that does not necessarily mean that all altruistic expressions aren't genuine, because the feedback isn't a conscious motivating force thereby negating the altruistic qualifier.

    Concern in itself is an expression exhibited by social animals other than humans. Some have died and others maimed in defense of other species.

    Beloved guide dog dies while saving 4-year-old boy | Fox News
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I specifically used the term altruistic expression instead of someone who is altruistic because I'm not privy to the individual's innermost thoughts and his/her reasons and motivation in performing such an act. They may do it for reasons that isn't inherently altruistic; such as social norms, pressure, expectations, or just following instructions by being told that it is the "right thing" to do. But that does not necessarily mean that all altruistic expressions aren't genuine, because the feedback isn't a conscious motivating force thereby negating the altruistic qualifier.

    Concern in itself is an expression exhibited by social animals other than humans. Some have died and others maimed in defense of other species.

    Beloved guide dog dies while saving 4-year-old boy | Fox News
    Let's assume this story is true and not exaggerated by the writer. The actions of the dog would have been motivated by it's genetic program and training to serve his master. The same as a soldier becoming an expendable, and gladly giving his life for his country. As we know from Vietnam, small children could be used as weapons. As we know from 9-11, grown men can be used as lambs. Is this Altruistic, without genetic drive for the benefit the group?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Let's assume this story is true and not exaggerated by the writer. The actions of the dog would have been motivated by it's genetic program and training to serve his master.
    That possibility hasn't been overlooked, as is the possibility that genuine affection, concern, and avoidance of the negative feedback from inaction for another (even when extended to a different species) should the other come to harm; empathy.

    The following video reports of dolphins coming to the aid of a dog, and they (dolphins) aren't trained to do so. One might argue that this evolutionary trait might be better enacted on one's kin (or perhaps peer group) to ensure the survival of the collective group, but when extended to a different species with slim to no chance of reciprocation due to obvious territorial divide (land and sea); it is an uphill struggle to argue that such an expression isn't genuinely altruistic.



    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    The same as a soldier becoming an expendable, and gladly giving his life for his country. As we know from Vietnam, small children could be used as weapons. As we know from 9-11, grown men can be used as lambs. Is this Altruistic, without genetic drive for the benefit the group?
    I'm afraid you've lost me on this portion of your post.
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    [QUOTE=scoobydoo1;479882]

    The following video reports of dolphins coming to the aid of a dog, and they (dolphins) aren't trained to do so. One might argue that this evolutionary trait might be better enacted on one's kin (or perhaps peer group) to ensure the survival of the collective group, but when extended to a different species with slim to no chance of reciprocation due to obvious territorial divide (land and sea); it is an uphill struggle to argue that such an expression isn't genuinely altruistic.

    [QUOTE]Again, we can just assume this report is truthful and not exaggerated a bit. Mammals saving mammals stories are plentiful enough. Men saving whales for example. What's the difference. We know dolphins have personalities, and have supposedly saved humans from shark attack. Wouldn't you agree that the giver is motivated genetically if not a feel good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Wouldn't you agree that the giver is motivated genetically if not a feel good?
    If I understand your question correctly; in the way you meant it.

    I honestly am not certain either way since there isn't sufficient data to be reasonably conclusive, but we are aware that not every individual exhibits altruism on a regular basis or at all, even to one's own kin and/or offspring. On the biological aspect of the topic, I'm not sure if altruism is an intended trait and not a byproduct of a more selective type of altruistic expression in favor of one's kin and peer group. If one derives pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, etc from the feedback; extending altruistic expression to individuals outside of one's immediate group (even to another species altogether) can be a incentivising motivator; unfortunately, whether one is conscious of the fact remains largely unknown.


    Sidenote: I've always liked it more when philosophical discussions includes what we do know from scientific knowledge. Like it more than an earlier thread by someone else asking "if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?" and purposefully ignoring what we know of the physics of how sound works in a medium.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    Wouldn't you agree that the giver is motivated genetically if not a feel good?
    Not sure why you mean by "motivated genetically"

    There are all sorts of forms of altruism. Biological...usually kin based and often hardwired, such as in social insects or in large part the mom who charges into the burning building to save her child. Reciprocal...such as two monkeys picking insects off each other often tied to social bonding and improved chance of survival. But consider the later case. There's probably fun and positive emotion involved in sentient animals not to dissimilar to feeling good about oneself for buying a sandwich for a homeless man. Probably the only unique ability about the human animal is the ability to abstract a reward, such as going to heaven, or feeling good because it will make a god happy, or just for some non-religious abstraction such as a sense of duty. We see acts of consoling oneself as well--probably responsible for odd behaviors such a dog who nurses orphan kittens soon after loosing their own offspring. Regardless of the behavior, those good feelings are no doubt products of evolution as well--can never get away from that--at least not yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sampson View Post
    When did the religions adopt the word Altruism and alter the definition to suit their selfishness?
    Altruism is characterized by selflessness, which when looking at various religions, is ''supposed to be'' their foundational purpose. (or so they purport) But, the origin of the word has nothing to do with religion, or spirituality. Religions hijack a lot of ideas and concepts, and sadly, distort their meanings based on aligning them with their respective dogmas. :/
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