Tuesday, April 11, 2017

655: What to do next with altruism...?

It is a pity, that altruism can not be the meaning of life, if it were only to annoy Ayn Rand. Yet helping people as a meaning of life sounds good.
But imagine, when helping people is the purpose of our life, what do we do when all people are helped?
In helping others it is about to meet the needs of people, but as provided herein, there are no further altruistic deeds necessary. 
This is no problem for those who think that it   eventually is about delivering relief of the needs of people. 
But if the actual process of helping others is our primary goal, we are in the strange situation, 
that if we could help others too well, we risk to make life further pointless. If altruism would be successful, we would have lost our meaning of life that very moment.
When Simon and Garfunkel sang in 1966 “I am a rock. I am an island” we all understood, that it was the expression of an emotion,
which had everything to do with the fact, that we are social beings, living together. But as an island we prefer to feel no pain and wish never to cry.
But although Ayn Rand tried to make us believe we are rocks and islands, we are social beings. We have to deal with each other and actual needs.
This is a factual inevitability and in that sense though altruism may not be the sole meaning of our life, at least it is a part of this meaning.
Certainly, many people find that life is indeed more meaningful by helping others 
and that is the only undisputed goal for altruism: to improve the lives of others.
When we free someone from poverty, make his children go to school  and improve their  situation, we say that it is good.
We think that living such a life is good. Maybe the meaning of life is living our life here and now to the full.
The fact that being altruistic creates in us good feelings instead of feelings of self-negation or self-destruction according to Ayn Rand,
must be related to the fact that we are no rocks or islands or selfish individuals, but social beings.
I dare say, that for most of us life becomes more complete, when we are not solely occupied with ourselves and our self-interest.
For most people, social activity is essential to feel good. One of the reasons why some people think that helping others is the source of the meaning of life,
is also almost certainly the truth, that concern for and involvement in relation to other people are other important components of a meaningful life.
This concern for the other sometimes even means that we are willing to sacrifice our life for it.
Giving up his own life so that others have a chance at a full life is a sacrifice, but a sacrifice that may be based on the simple premise 
that a good and full life, free from suffering itself is well regarded as worthwhile whether it's for their own life or that of someone else.
Altruism is not the source of the meaning of life, but at least a requirment for living a meaningful life.
Thank you for your attention… ^_^
Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Julian Baggini, What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (2004)  
Richard David Precht, Wer bin ich, und wenn ja, wie viele? (2007)

The Discussion

[13:31] CB Axel: :)
[13:31] CB Axel: I'm just thinking.
[13:31] herman Bergson: ok :-)
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think being altruistic is a part of life
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not the full meaning of life for me
[13:32] herman Bergson: As I said today indeed Beertje...
[13:32] herman Bergson: No...
[13:32] CB Axel: Helping others is nice, but giving without ever receiving in return gets tiresome.
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the full meaning is much more complex
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess so
[13:33] herman Bergson: It is not the helping that counts but the needs of the others....
[13:34] herman Bergson: It means..we ar enot focused on the process of helping but on the needs of others
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): receiving help is difficult , it's an art to accept help
[13:35] herman Bergson: it can be a complex issue these days....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Example....
[13:36] herman Bergson: a (group of ) people is abused by those in power and this group suffers of famine....
[13:36] herman Bergson: we...altruistic as we are send food to those who are hungry.....
[13:37] herman Bergson: this means that those who caused the famine stay in their comfortable places and can go on using the hungry group for their ends
[13:37] herman Bergson: altruism focusses on the needs of others...
[13:38] herman Bergson: and in such a situation I would say...
[13:38] herman Bergson: not the hunger is the need of this people but the extermination of those n power is
[13:38] CB Axel: That's what I was thinking. Kill the rich. LOL
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): true, but in the meantime little children die
[13:39] herman Bergson: so how should we help in such a situation?
[13:39] CB Axel: Kill the rich and feed them to the hungry children?
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol CB
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: they also die when we stop supplying food Beertje...not when we kill those in power
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i know Herman
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): food will  go to the rich
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not to the poor
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but then those greedy bastards wont take all the food for themselves at least, just look at Kim jong, he stuffs his face while the rest starve to death
[13:40] herman Bergson: and black market...yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita
[13:41] herman Bergson: He got a rather puffy face :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: lots of rice went in there.....I guess
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a bit too much even
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not only rice
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how can we change the world?
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can that ever been done?
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bu tmy point is....altruism ok....but we have to clearly define WHAT are the real needs of people in need.....
[13:43] CB Axel: We'll never rid the world of human greed, I'm afraid.
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): freedom is needed
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): education
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): respect
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:44] herman Bergson: so inrelation to the lecture of today and the meaning of life....
[13:44] herman Bergson: the next step is ...politics....
[13:44] CB Axel: Oh, please don't tell me the meaning of life is politics!
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he doesn't
[13:45] herman Bergson: might be that politics is part of the meaning of life CB
[13:45] CB Axel: Well, it is probably the only way to help many people at once.
[13:45] herman Bergson: you can discuss altruism from an individual point of view to begin with....
[13:46] herman Bergson: indeed CB....that is what I mean...
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are we talking of the meaning of life of humans or all living creatures?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Well seems you all seem to agree on the fact that altruism can make life meaningful to some extend....????
[13:48] CB Axel: A world with nothing on it but human beings would not have meaning to me.
[13:49] herman Bergson: That is a typical example of philosophical thinking CB...:-)
[13:50] herman Bergson: We can discuss the consequences of such a world for hours...and all its implications..
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess so
[13:50] herman Bergson: But..there doesnt exist such a world for us....so why the debate
[13:50] herman Bergson: but philosophers LOVE it.....
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:51] herman Bergson: they even invented a word for it...Thought experiment....:-)
[13:51] CB Axel: :)
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): think of it CB, not a wasp in your limonade
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or how you call that beast?
[13:52] CB Axel: Wasp?
[13:52] CB Axel: Stinging insect?
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:52] herman Bergson: or a butterfly on your flowers in your garden....not even flowers..just you and a bold surface....
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i was trying to be positive:)
[13:53] CB Axel: I'll put up with the occasional wasp if it means I can have kittens, and bunnies, and puppies, and horses, and butterflies, and lots of flowers. :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: you can :-))
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and horseflies:)
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:54] bergfrau Apfelbaum: terrible idea.. a world with only people
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:54] CB Axel: Besides, if we got rid of every living thing except people we'd *have* to eat the rich. °͜°
[13:54] herman Bergson: Yes BErgie :-)
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yay, i will be last in the row
[13:54] herman Bergson: But a bunch of Bergies might be pleasant company yet :-)
[13:54] herman Bergson: on a bold world :-)
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol
[13:55] herman Bergson: I guess I'd better send you out now into the world with more than people...:-)
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: i need ma animals:-)
[13:56] herman Bergson: Thank you again for your participation :-)
[13:56] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:56] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...:-)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu next time then
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :) thank you Herman
[13:56] CB Axel: I need to go back to my sl home full of animals.
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): need to get my parrot to bed
[13:57] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you herman & class!
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:57] CB Axel: Parrots need their sleep!
[13:57] CB Axel: Bye, everyone. See you Thursday.
[13:57] herman Bergson: My pleasure Bergie...:-)

No comments:

Post a Comment