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Altruism

ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/20/2013 9:08:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Would you agree that most people who practice altruism, whether because of their own personal morals, or their religion believe they are morally superior to individualistic "selfish" people?

Do you agree that the concept of an idea, or person being bigger then yourself can lead to slippery slopes and a negative outcome?
medv4380
Posts: 200
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5/20/2013 9:23:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No, people who are altruistic do not meet the definition you're trying to shoehorn them into. If you've bothered to read Gandhi's letters, or things of that nature you'd know that you're wrong in asking the question.

People who are altruistic know and acknowledge their humanity and their own failings.

Can believing in something bigger than you lead to a slippery slope? Not any more or less than the alternatives. I've seen secular nonsense be just as idiotic and destructive as theistic nonsense.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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5/20/2013 9:44:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that altruists can be largely split into three groups:

Those who genuinely believe it: Gandhi is the example brought forth previously. These people are usually grounded in a mysticism of sorts, and don't display any sort of overt malice towards selfishness. Generally harmless.

Those who are clinging to it: The biggest groups here are ex-Christian, left-leaning 'New Atheists' and the Christian Right. For the former group, once they toss their religion out the window they are still left with an ungrounded religious moral system, which some will attempt to rationalize for fear that discarding it will mark them as immoral. These types will typically lash out at people who reject altruism in the same way that religious people will sometimes lash out at apostates. The Christian Right groups, on the other hand, are constantly trying to reconcile an individualistic political system with a decidedly altruistic religious creed. Both groups end up with a moral ideology that is usually reinforced by an impenetrable bubble of groupthink, making dialogue useless. All in all, a bothersome species to deal with.

Those who see it as useful: These are the ones who stand to gain something from self-sacrifice. Here I place unscrupulous religious leaders, politicians, and people who abuse the charity of others. These people are in reality egotistical: they have no qualms with achieving their goals, even if it means completely misrepresenting their actual beliefs. They do not practice what they preach, and they preach it quite loudly, often denouncing selfish people as the root of all evil. Some of these people are, in my opinion, legitimately insane.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/21/2013 2:50:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 9:23:28 PM, medv4380 wrote:
No, people who are altruistic do not meet the definition you're trying to shoehorn them into. If you've bothered to read Gandhi's letters, or things of that nature you'd know that you're wrong in asking the question.

Ghandi=/= Most altruistic people (and we are assuming most people at least attempt to claim they are altruistic).

People who are altruistic know and acknowledge their humanity and their own failings.

You can believe you are morally superior to someone but still acknowledge that you aren't perfect.

Can believing in something bigger than you lead to a slippery slope? Not any more or less than the alternatives. I've seen secular nonsense be just as idiotic and destructive as theistic nonsense.

You distorted what I said here. Religion was one of the major things I was speaking about, but people still die for political causes, or for other people. Otherwise people wouldn't risk their lives to rebel against the state.
G6
Posts: 54
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5/21/2013 3:16:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 9:08:57 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
Would you agree that most people who practice altruism, whether because of their own personal morals, or their religion believe they are morally superior to individualistic "selfish" people?

Do you agree that the concept of an idea, or person being bigger then yourself can lead to slippery slopes and a negative outcome?

It is impossible to not be altruistic.
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/21/2013 3:39:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/21/2013 3:16:17 PM, G6 wrote:
At 5/20/2013 9:08:57 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
Would you agree that most people who practice altruism, whether because of their own personal morals, or their religion believe they are morally superior to individualistic "selfish" people?

Do you agree that the concept of an idea, or person being bigger then yourself can lead to slippery slopes and a negative outcome?

It is impossible to not be altruistic.

I disagree, it is impossible not to be selfish or want to be self serving.
medv4380
Posts: 200
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5/22/2013 10:11:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/21/2013 2:50:47 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
Ghandi=/= Most altruistic people (and we are assuming most people at least attempt to claim they are altruistic).

You can believe you are morally superior to someone but still acknowledge that you aren't perfect.

You distorted what I said here. Religion was one of the major things I was speaking about, but people still die for political causes, or for other people. Otherwise people wouldn't risk their lives to rebel against the state.

Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luthor King Jr, are all people who I'd qualify as exhibiting altruistic tendencies. I'm not sure what you're claiming to be altruism. If you're fool hardy enough to make the claim that the idiotic evangelical preachers who might be claiming to be altruistic are altruistic your definition is as twisted as their definition.

One problem with believing that you're morally superior is that doing so will most likely make you not altruistic.

You claim that Gandhi isn't like most altruistic people. My claim that that Truly Altruistic people are rare, and that Gandhi is representative of truly altruistic people. For most of us Altruism is just a goal that we'll probably never reach. Sometimes we will exhibit it when we see a burning building and rush in to save a stranger, but most of the time we wont go out of our way, or we'll freeze from fear.

As for your claim that I twisted your words. All I did was answer your question.
Do you agree that the concept of an idea, or person being bigger then yourself can lead to slippery slopes and a negative outcome?
My answer is still No. You're no more or less at risk of being a wackjob. Every person who's gone down that path fails due to a paradox. If you take that position then say I'm not going to believe in God, or Politics, or anything. You end up with the same I'm superior because I don't have a Concept of an Idea, or person beyond myself. Which is itself and Idea or Concept beyond you. By trying to have the position it become the very position you're trying to avoid. Hence, you're no more or less at risk.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/22/2013 12:27:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 9:08:57 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
Would you agree that most people who practice altruism, whether because of their own personal morals, or their religion believe they are morally superior to individualistic "selfish" people?

Do you agree that the concept of an idea, or person being bigger then yourself can lead to slippery slopes and a negative outcome?

I would agree that most people who follow whatever their ethical code is believe they're morally superior to those who follow a different one. That is a tautological statement of what normative propositions mean - "superiority" in this sense is judged on how closely someone follows the set of rules you take as defining good and evil acts.

Essentially, the question could be phrased as "Do people who believe X is true consider themselves to be more correct than people who believe X is not true?". To which I'd say the answer is an unequivocal 'yes'.
Bullish
Posts: 3,527
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5/22/2013 3:28:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It is scientifically proven that helping others releases "good" dope in your brain. There for, altruism is always a selfish phenomenon.
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