Idealism, Philosophy

Altruism

I noticed there was a slight spike in viewers on Monday. I’m sorry that I disappointed you. I wrote, but it just wasn’t very good. It was me just pumping out words because I needed the exercise. It’s not fair of me to make those blog posts. However, today, I shall not let you down.

Anyway, I was driving home today. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be finished with my day. I mean, I wanted to be hand down my pants, in front of the TV Al Bundy style, stick a fork in me I’m DONE – with my day today.

Ed O’Neill teaching us all how it’s done! Man… I wonder why he traded Peg in for that Columbian woman? Also, *spoiler alert* Bud turns out to be gay!

I didn’t want to be home because my day was long. It wasn’t because I had something compelling to rush home to do. I just wanted to be there. It’s comfortable here. It’s safe here (usually). Plus, I really wanted to get my workout over and done with. FYI, I’m putting off my workout to type this out.

Anyway, I wasn’t necessarily in a hurry, but I didn’t have time to deal with people’s stuff. Except, I did. You see, rush hour traffic is never much fun. In fact, one might say, traffic sucks!

This is NOT Rush Hour… the action/comedy OR otherwise

Since traffic sucks, you have people coming in from all directions and everyone is bumper to bumper. You don’t want to let any space form between you and the car in front of you or one of two things will happen. The car behind you will get annoyed and either ride you even HARDER or dangerously speed around you. OR, you’ll let someone in front of you adding whole SECONDS onto your daily commute!

Well, I saw someone attempting to turn across traffic and instead of going my own pace and blocking them out. I stopped all of the traffic behind me to let them out. Why? Because it seemed like the right thing to do. Who knows how long that person would’ve sat there before someone other than me would’ve stopped for them?

Now, trust me, I don’t believe this was one of the kindest acts known to man. I mean, talk to the biggest d-bag you know and even he or she has probably let a car go in front of them on at least one occasion. The point of my story is of what this made me think. (Not ending sentences in prepositions just sounds awkward  sometimes, no?)

It made me think of altruism. I don’t believe I was being especially altruistic in that moment. I did what I did because it suited me at the time. In some ways, it wasn’t altruistic at all because the exchange did provide me with a sense of pride. And doing something for pride and/or recognition is egoism NOT altruism.

Now, with that said. I do believe in altruism. The church of Altruism excepts everyone and all of their beliefs. Whether you’re Atheist, Christian, Hindu, or a Pastafarian, we accept you with open arms.

It would appear as if the FSM has MANY open arms!

Now, some say altruism doesn’t exist, and this isn’t me debating the highly studied and observed theories. This is me merely looking at it semantically. Dictionary.com says altruism is the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others. In other words, it’s the practice of giving a damn. That’s something I can get behind!

I want my life to be so devoted to others that I put the PATHETIC in empathetic. I really believe in us humans. I really believe we love one another and are cognizant of the fact that we can NOT live without each other. We are so in tune with our emotions that Sarah McLachlan and a few cute animal pics have us suddenly up to our necks in kittens.

*sigh* now that song’s stuck in my head…

Anyway, I guess this whole post was just to say… be kind to someone today. They’ll appreciate it and you will as well. Except… don’t just do it to feel good because that defeats the purpose of altruism, but then again… who cares?

Oh well…

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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6 thoughts on “Altruism

  1. Teresa michelle says:

    Do something nice for someone or some other species today! And so agree with do it … Just to do it; not for the glory, attention, self-esteem high. Do it because our only true mark in life is the difference we make while we’re here taking up space!

  2. I am actually one of those people who do not think that people are sincerely and truly altruistic, atleast not in their unconcious state. I do recognize that people do good deed and help others and I think that is great, however, when it comes to us doing these “selfless acts” for altruistic reasons I disagree. In your essay describing your good deed you stated that it gave you a sense of pride. Now this the very flaw in altruism, you see we are all rational beings who do good deeds because they make us feel good. We hold value and interest in them because they give us pleasure and thus view them to be morally good. In addition due to our past experiences in doing good deeds, and our preconcious understanding of cause and effect we continue or will pursue a good deed because they made us feel good in the past and due to those past experiences we assume that they will give us pleasure again. Given your example, youu were stuck in traffic which we can all assume is frustration and not the least pleasurable, and subconciously you pursued your “small” deed as a way to feel pleasure. Please do not mistake this view as viewing the human species as an egotistic society, but rather view it as a species that is selfish and rational and under these two, it is in your interest to do good dead so that 1. you feel pleasure and feel better about yourself and 2. it is in your best interest other people also do good deeds in general so that we can live in a friendly society where people help one another.

    • Brandon says:

      Haha! I understand what you’re saying. You know, it’s funny I’ve only recently been receiving comments, but I was prepared for this one.

      Which is why I said in the body of my blog that I’m not debating the scientific or philosophical aspects and/or implications of altruism. Like I said, it was merely me breaking down the dictionary meaning.

      According to the dictionary altruism is merely acting in a way that is beneficial to someone else and not PRIMARILY beneficial to you. According to that very narrow dictionary definition, merely letting someone go ahead of me at the supermarket is altruism in practice. I hear you though. I just hope we have enough in us to be kind to one another consciously, subconsciously, unconsciously, or otherwise. Whether that has some secondary pleasing effect or not isn’t my main concern. My main concern is CONCERN. I suppose I should’ve merely labeled this post empathy, eh?

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    • Brandon says:

      I don’t mind at all and would be quite flattered to be honest!

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