A Perspective on Altruism | INFJ Forum

A Perspective on Altruism

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Retro, Nov 26, 2017.

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  1. Retro

    Retro Newbie

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    Hello there, fellow INFJs and others.
    Let's have a talk on one of our most famous traits, the thing we delight in the most: Altruism.
    I think that in a normal conventional sense, humans don't find the need to tend to the needs of others, and so when they actually do tend to the needs of others, they deem that action as altruistic and give it unusual weightage, as using your mental energy and helping someone putting strain on yourself isn't something that everyone does.
    They deem that action very special when they do it once and get a boost in their self esteem. But this boost is only gained if they get the desired acknowledgement for their work.
    But then, as time passes, they keep stretching themselves with the expectation of an acknowledgement, but sooner or later are hit by the painful realization that their actions are being taken for granted, and is no longer looked upon as too different a tendency. When their altruistic action isn't given the unusual weightage by others (the unusual weightage that they give their own actions), their self esteem levels fluctuate and they feel angry and somewhat cheated that despite investing their resources, they didn't get the reward they feel that they deserve. This turns them back to being the "normal" non-altruistic human being that they were.
    These kind of people are the same people who wonder how Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela were so highly altruistic.
    More than high altruism, they are more curious about how their altruism is so consistent
    This is where my theory comes in
    I believe for the people who indulge in too much altruism, if they really want to keep their altruism levels consistent, their self esteem levels must remain consistent. Now, because of the normal response to the "lack of acknowledgement", this self esteem levels drops and as soon as it drops, the desire of getting the satisfaction from the help reduces and ultimately stops. To keep self esteem levels consistent, the highly altruistic people need to do something else.
    Their only way of keeping their self esteem levels consistent is (according to my theory)
    to consider themselves at a far higher moral ground than a normal person. There might be more that I don't know of.

     
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  2. Reason With Logic Filling

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    I'm a Taoist, and the Tao teaches us that morally good actions done for self-esteem are not wholly good because it's not about helping people, it's about pleasing yourself. To quote Taoist thinking directly:
    "If you feel regret doing evil, then there is some good in evil. If you rejoice in doing good, then there is some evil in good."
     
  3. OP
    Retro

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    I totally agree that my theory is not totally sound speaking on a moral sense as it clearly involves personal interests. I liked that sentence in quotations, thought provoking :) However, my emphasis here is on consistency of altruism. I am a Christian and Lord Jesus said, "Love others as you love yourself." The message is clear that we must do good to others. But there's also another implication, another message that Lord Jesus wanted to give us. It is that if we don't love ourselves, we can't love others.
     
  4. Icedream

    Icedream Sonant Encantado

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    Why don't we move this over to another sub-forum? This belongs in philosophy and religion
     
  5. Icedream

    Icedream Sonant Encantado

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  6. OP
    Retro

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    How do we put threads in a particular category?
     
  7. OP
    Retro

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    Than
     
  8. OP
    Retro

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    Thank you!!
     
  9. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡

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    I disagree.

    True altruism is non-attachment. No expectation of a payoff of any kind. Because if you are performing kindness and expecting a payoff, you are not doing kindness, you are doing business. ;)
     
  10. OP
    Retro

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    I agree.
    But I am talking about consistent altruism here. It is very difficult to practice true altruism on a consistent basis without experiencing a physical or a mental toll.
     
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  11. OP
    Retro

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    Ignore my previous reply, I should have read what you said even more carefully. My apologies. Okay, so yeah, true altruism is when you don't expect anything back. My theory works on those lines as well, that is, helping without expecting anything in return. However, a person cannot keep his self esteem levels at its peak if it continues pushing himself or herself for the people who take them for granted as that would induce self doubt and lower self esteem. Therefore, if the person who practices high amounts of altruism without expecting acknowledgement from others, deems himself as morally higher than the majority, he will be able to continue being altruistic without having to rely on acknowledgements to keep their self esteem levels high.
     
  12. OP
    Retro

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    And
    And if they are able to keep their self esteem levels high, they will be able to stretch themselves for others. I believe a good amount of self esteem is necessary for efficiency in helping others unconditionally.
     
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  13. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡

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    And, ;) I partially agree.

    A healthy sense of self esteem is important to being altruistic period. However, a healthy self esteem can be built from being consistently altruistic.
    This sentence is putting a "value" (price) on the altruistic acts, aka kindness. When one puts the value of being left feeling appreciated/unappreciated by continuing, 'pushing oneself for people who take them for granted', is not altruism because one is feeling a need of reward for their acts of kindness. This is what is difficult about conveying the non-attachment part. Altruism should leave the person feeling neutral, neither good nor bad feeling about being helpful, kind, what ever equates the term altruism. Does this make sense?
    The keynote of this is the word IF. It's not really about morality or superiority, rather the bottomline of asking oneself, "Does my practice of altruism, (aka kindness), cause me to feel good about myself and what I am doing for this other person?" So, yes, one would not need acknowledgements, aka praise and thank you's to continue being altruistic as we do this for ourself by being altruistic.

    And, its all good, thank you for this. It is rewarding to me when one acknowledges, "oops, I understand what you meant after all" The best discussions are when each person cones away with understanding. ;)
     
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  14. Wyote

    Wyote Castigat Ridendo Mores
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    Thanks for the notice @Icedream :)
    Hope you are cool with the move @Retro I assume you are since you followed up by asking how to do so.
    Feel free to message/tag staff if you need anything and we'll get to it when we can.
     
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  15. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    This is why I think the best altruism is anonymous, preferably in both directions.
     
  16. Chickensoup

    Chickensoup Community Member

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    Well, to go back to what you said, you have to love yourself first. You can only give to other people what you have. But, love is not self-esteem, so I don’t think it’s necessary to maintain a high level of self-esteem to be altruistic.
     
  17. OP
    Retro

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    That is partially true. Truly loving yourself would be self acceptance. But even if love is not entirely self esteem, love and self esteem are inseparable in my opinion.
     
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  18. Pin

    Pin Supreme Allied Commander

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    I don't believe in Altruism.

    I think people are kind because they desire a material payoff (money, housing, power) or a psychological payoff (it makes them feel good to be nice).

    At least, this is what motivates me to be kind.
     
    #18 Pin, Nov 27, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  19. OP
    Retro

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    That is true, no human can be perfectly altruistic. The psychological payoff is not effective after a while when the person who is being helped, takes the helper for granted. Therefore, my theory helps in keeping the psychological payoff consistent by giving the helper the ability of patting himself on the back instead of seeking for acknowledgement. When the psychological payoff is consistent, the person continues helping on a consistent basis.
     
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  20. Ren

    Ren Intuitonist

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    I personally believe in the joy of performing good, altruistic actions. But it should not be an self-focused kind of pleasure derived from the action; rather the pure joy of the soul fulfilling itself in doing what is best for it to do. Attaining the highest excellence in virtue does feature, in my mind, a certain kind of joy. This is how I understand Aristotle's saying: "The ideal man takes joy in doing favors for others."

    It's not joy of the ego, but joy of the soul.
     
    #20 Ren, Dec 3, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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