Monday, April 3, 2017

653: Is Altruism an option.... ?

Many years ago there was a popular musical like TV-show on Dutch TV and one of the songs which became a classic had the chorus:
“We benne op de wereld om mekaar, om mekaar te helpen niet waar?” which means “We are on earth  to help each other, aren’t we?”
When it is hard to find a meaning or purpose of live beyond or outside our life, maybe we should look at the life itself we life.
And then a lot of people will say, that what life gives meaning to them is, that they can mean something for someone else by being altruistic.
So, we can ask ourselves the question if altruism can be the source of a meaning of life.
Let’s check the Ayn Rand Lexicon: “What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, 
that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.
Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. 
The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, 
self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.
(…)The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. 
The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.”
So far the the Rand Lexicon. Looks like we can forget altruism as a meaningful feature of life.
But Rand creates her own rightness, by equating “altruism” with “self-sacrifice”, but it is good philosophical practice 
to ask the question “What do you mean by…?” and then you can question a definition of a term someone proposes.
Helping your neighbour would be a case of self-denial, self-destruction even? When I do not feel it that way,
there are two options: either I lack the proper insight in life according to Ayn Rand, or she is just beyond (my) reality, common sense and how we experience life.
For I have to wonder…is something wrong with me for being altruistic. In RL I am a “language coach”. I spend an hour a week teaching a foreigner 
who has come to the Netherlands, to master the Dutch language. I do not get paid. It costs me more than an hour every time and I feel good about it.
Nowhere is a feeling of self-sacrifice, let alone of self-denial or even self-destruction. On the contrary, I really feel good about it.
This could mean that by helping others I bring some entertainment and fun in my private existence, 
and I participate in the higher purpose of helping those who are outside the private sphere. 
But if helping others is the source of meaning for my life, is the help not just a means to help myself to a meaningful life?

Thank you for your attention... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:23] Anske Beattie:                 *•.¸('*•.¸ ¸.•*´)¸.•*
[13:23] Anske Beattie:             .•*¨`•APPLAUSE•´¨`*•.
[13:23] Anske Beattie:                 ¸.•*(¸.•*´ `*•.¸)`*•.¸ 
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako) ♪♥♪APPLAUDS!!!♪♥♪
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice
[13:23] herman Bergson smiles
[13:24] Anske Beattie: but you are totaly right Herman!  nothing better than to help others!
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can it be both Herman, helping another and in the meantime gfeeling good about yourself?
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:24] CB Axel: I would never go to Ayn Rand to find a meaning to life.
[13:24] herman Bergson: of course it can, Beertje.....
[13:25] herman Bergson laughs
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:25] Anske Beattie: my friend arrived in meantime ;-)
[13:25] herman Bergson: good choice, CB, but she is the Bible of America it seems :-)
[13:25] herman Bergson: I noticed Anske ^_^
[13:25] Anske Beattie: I knew ;-)
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Ayn Rand gives me the shivers
[13:25] DutchVoyager: hi every body
[13:25] Anske Beattie: welcome Dutchy!
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Hallo Dutch
[13:25] CB Axel: From what I heard, Rand was a heartless bitch who felt that the meaning of life was to accumulate great wealth while destroying everyone else.
[13:26] CB Axel: This is why I hate America.
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sort of that Cb yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: ISnt that the American dream, CB?
[13:26] CB Axel: It's not mine.
[13:26] herman Bergson: But I agree CB...she was a heartless bitch...
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Ayn rand = the queen of greed and selfishness
[13:26] CB Axel: I'd love lots of money, but not at the expense of others.
[13:27] CB Axel: When I do get money, I tend to use it to help others.
[13:27] herman Bergson: her definition of atruism was utterly nonsense.....but people loved it
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa same here, thats good thinking
[13:27] CB Axel: And still do, Herman.
[13:27] Joseph Bard (science24): but do you work to earn money to spend it on others ?
[13:28] herman Bergson: There we got  a point Joseph....
[13:28] herman Bergson: Why do we help others???
[13:28] CB Axel: No. I work for a few luxuries, like eating and sleeping indoors.
[13:28] Anske Beattie: you can help others too.. not only by giving them money.. but attention will do great too
[13:28] CB Axel: Very true, Anske.
[13:28] herman Bergson: for instance by giving them the money we earned ourselves
[13:29] herman Bergson: dont focus on the money....
[13:29] Joseph Bard (science24): by being generous
[13:29] CB Axel: I guess I'm happiest when the people around me are happy.
[13:29] herman Bergson: it also can be spent time for I do
[13:29] Anske Beattie: right CB
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same for me
[13:30] herman Bergson: so altruism good or bad and why is our question
[13:30] herman Bergson: Rand is clear about is BAD
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well id say it seems 100 % good
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and Rand is insane
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:31] herman Bergson: but what when it cost your life, Bejiita?
[13:31] CB Axel: Altruism is good; Rand is bad.
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): how can it do that?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Simple...
[13:32] herman Bergson: your country is attacked and you are one of the defenders....
[13:32] Joseph Bard (science24): to defend your children ?
[13:32] herman Bergson: your family is attacked and you try to stop the criminals
[13:32] CB Axel: Well, if there is no meaning of life then dying isn't a big deal.
[13:32] herman Bergson: a freebie CB :-)
[13:33] Joseph Bard (science24): yea, but could we call it Altruism  in this case ?
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes...I'd say so...
[13:33] herman Bergson: you help others to survive, risking your own life
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I see
[13:34] Joseph Bard (science24): but  as CB said
[13:34] Anske Beattie: how far can one go?
[13:34] Joseph Bard (science24): maybe others weren't my driving force
[13:34] herman Bergson: but the main question is.....
[13:35] herman Bergson: does altruism offer us the source of a meaning of life?
[13:35] CB Axel: I don't think so.
[13:35] Joseph Bard (science24): for me it won't
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe partly but there are other things as well
[13:35] herman Bergson: why are we here....just to help each other? that the answer?
[13:35] CB Axel: It's just a nice thing to do while plodding along through life.
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its just one thing of many
[13:35] Anske Beattie: it is a part of our life
[13:36] herman Bergson: I agree CB :-)
[13:36] Joseph Bard (science24): we not living for it
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes least it is that....part of the meaning of life...
[13:36] herman Bergson: No Joseph....indeed
[13:36] Anske Beattie: wich one is most important to you.. it depends
[13:38] herman Bergson: stage will be to figure out in what sense altruism can be at least a part of the meaning of life...
[13:38] herman Bergson: I guess one thing is clear so far....
[13:39] herman Bergson: if we want to find a meaning we have to look at the very life we live itself
[13:39] herman Bergson listens to the loud silence of his audience :-)
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i thought i crashed:)
[13:40] herman Bergson: I guess you ran out of questions and remarks :-)
[13:40] Anske Beattie: we are just flabbergasted Herman ;-)
[13:40] Anske Beattie: I was giving you my thinkings ;-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: DOn't think of crashing Beertje....just do it :-))))
[13:41] herman Bergson: It is fun to revive again unharmed
[13:41] herman Bergson: crashed indeed
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:41] Joseph Bard (science24): just do it ;)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well...before you alll crash.....
[13:42] herman Bergson: thank you for your participation again :-)
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone:               ♥(`'·.¸(`'·.¸ * ¸.·'´)¸.·'´)♥
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone:   «´·.¸¸.•     WELCOME BACK!     •.¸¸.·`»
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone:               ♥(¸.·'´(¸.·'´ * `'·.¸)`'·.¸)♥ 
[13:42] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....
[13:42] Anske Beattie: thanks so much for your class Herman!
[13:42] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[13:42] Joseph Bard (science24): thank you
[13:42] DutchVoyager: Thanks Herman
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oops sorry
[13:42] herman Bergson: hello Beertje ^_^
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu next time
[13:42] Anske Beattie: wb Beertje ;-))
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

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