HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Should we just assume psychological egoism is true?

 

Is everything you do more about you than anybody else?  Is it more about others?

 

In other words, are you an egoist or an altruist?

 

Those who say we can do altruistic deny they are psychological egoists. However, if they think we are altruistic so rarely and only in big matters such as when a soldier dies to save his friends they are still virtually psychological egoists!

 

Motives alone can answer the question - is the human individual out for herself/himself or for others?

 

You give what is in your fridge to a stranger in need.  Even if you look inside yourself you may not see reasons why the altruistic act you did was not really as other-centred as it seems.  Good results of your actions and how good you feel for doing them blind you to the selfish motives. 

 

Why do you not see clearly? You want to be blind in case you end up fearing that others - especially those closest to you - do not truly care for you. 

 

So there has to be a bias.  You would be mad to assume any different.

 

The ultimate reason I tend to put myself first is that only I can be me and I cannot do something for somebody else in their place.  I cannot go to the doctor when you are sick not me - I cannot go for you. That is not selfishness for you cannot help it. What is it then? It is self-centredness which does not necessarily raise any moral questions. It would if you could really give your self. 

 

You may say that people do sacrifice for others.  But it is not strictly speaking giving so much as risking.  Risks can be selfish or unselfish.  A man whose children needs him but who jumps into the current to save somebody who he knows may not in fact be in trouble is not a hero but is selfish.  Even if the person is in danger and he jumps in for no other reason than to be classed a hero he is selfish.  He is not being a father.

 

Taking money you find on the street and keeping it in case somebody left it there for you is dishonest.  It is not taking but stealing simply because you are not sure.  That is an example of how risking can look like sacrifice.

 

The refutations of psychological egoism and the doubts certainly show that nobody has the right to tell somebody not to assume psychological egoism!  That alone is enough to turn the theory into a default.

 

A STUDY

 

According to Steve Taylor Ph.D in his article Extreme Altruism posted on September 20 2018, one third of donors of kidneys in the United Kingdom are living donors. 11% are non-specified donors who have no connection at all to anybody needing their kidney. This may be great but shows that if altruism happens it is still only a minority who do it in an unmistakable way. Or is it that unmistakable? He found at the Living Kidney Donation in Manchester that these donors are usually people who have suffered greatly. They were in wars where they were nearly killed. And people who suffered serious illness were also donors as were those who suffered a terrible bereavement.

 

He writes, “Most acts of altruism are reactive- that is, we do them when we witness other people’s suffering or misfortune first hand, or through the media.” But, “It’s less common for people to be altruistic in a more proactive way, on a point of principle. It seems to speak of a more deep-rooted and unconditional compassion, resulting in what you could call ‘unconditional altruism.’”

 

He thinks such altruism cannot be explained by things such as you trying to look good in your own eyes. He thinks the answer is that we know we are all human “share the same essence” and this makes us feel that if some suffer it is something we are a part of that suffers so we are still involved though it looks like we are not. He calls altruism innate for this reason.

 

But if you feel the other is really you in some way and their suffering is really yours then that is an illusion.  It is not altruism but illusion.  And your intention is somehow to help yourself as in the 'other' you.

 

SAYING OTHERS ARE SELFLESS IS INCOHERENT


Those who say they love good for its own sake are liars. They only love how they think it eventually overcomes evil and leads to more good. That is not loving goodness but it's utility. If you were genuine you would love good no matter.

 
People may do good for others and say they do not do it to feel good but if they feel good then well and good.  Listing all your good qualities and the things you do well will help you feel good but for a while. The problem is that you are saying your actions are what make you matter when in fact you matter because you are a person. You are using your behaviour to rate yourself and thus treating yourself like a thing or as if you are just about the actions.  The idea of deserving is at back of our minds all the time.

 

Revenge tends to not care if others INCLUDING God are hurt while the target is attacked. Take men who hurt their woman's child to hurt the woman. If we do that for revenge which is so dangerous for us why can't good be equally illogical? What if I am only kind to others for in some way I don't even realise, I see it as being kind to me as if others are me in a sense? Good should be under greater suspicion of being illogical despite appearances for it benefits me. My brain rewards it and I tell myself “I did the right thing.”


MIXTURE?

 

What most people say is, "People are always a mix of selfish and unselfish."

 

If you can't say things like that because you can't see the motives then you can't say it because of how they act either. You ignore how it looks from their behaviour.

 

They say you can’t say everybody is always altruistic no matter how it looks from their behaviour. They say you can’t say everybody is always egoistic no matter how it looks from their behaviour. They say you can’t say everybody is always egotistic no matter how it looks from their behaviour.

 

The question is obvious: If you can't people are by default altruistic, default selfish then why on earth are you allowed to say they are by default both?

 

If you can't say everybody is always altruistic or egoistic then how can you say that people are either egoistic or altruistic? How can you say they are sometimes egotistic? How can you say anything? It seems we have to assume and make do with assuming. If we have to assume, it is better to assume psychological egoism is true. An egoist should be more predictable than an altruist or an egotist. The egoist should be more controllable. We all know that people do better if we offer them sincere praise - that is if we appeal to their egos. That is an example.
 
The psychological egoist should examine her or his own psyche and see if there is any altruism, egoism or egotism there. Examine your own motives for you cannot examine anybody else’s.

 

THE ASSUMPTION

 

While people argue about whether psychological egoism or psychological altruism is true or not, they say that neither can be proven or refuted.  That calls for an assumption to be made.

 

What you assume is more important than what you prove in this case.  Why?  To prove that somebody is a murderer is not possible unless you assume that people murder in the first place.  So assumptions and proofs can work together.

 

The argument says that psychological egoism is irrefutable. I disagree. You can examine yourself to see if it is true or not.
 
But if it is irrefutable then which of the following should we assume?
 
(By mostly we mean all people as they are the most of the time.)
 
Should we assume that people are mostly egoistic?
 
Should we assume that people are always egoistic?
 
Should we assume that people are mostly altruistic?
 
Should we assume that people are always altruistic?
 
Should we assume that people are mostly egotistic?
 
Should we assume that people are always egotistic?
 
Should we assume that people are mostly a mixture of the three? Or not mostly a mixture?
 
People are not mostly altruistic for they are not among the poor serving them. They are not very generous or as generous as they could be. People prefer going clubbing to going to the soup kitchens to feed the poor. When a man jumps into the river to save a stranger child and endanger his own life to save the child we cannot consider him an altruist for he is a slave to his emotions and is panicking. A man who becomes a fireman would not do it if he felt he would one day be burned to death saving children from a burning house. He takes the risk but by taking risks we risk the welfare of our children who may have to live without us if the risk proves to be one risk too many. So we cannot really say he is an altruist.
 
Believers in altruism use extreme situations like above to try and show that altruism is possible. This is because it is so easy to do good to others and convince yourself that you do it for them not you when you do it for praise, to feel good, because you want something to do, because you feel guilty, because you want good luck, because you want a reward from God or because you feel if you do this people will do good for you so you have to set an example.
 
If altruism really describes what human nature is like then why do you need extreme examples to prove it?  The answer is because you are trying to convince yourself that you and others really can be and are altruistic.  You don't truly believe they are.  You are a hypocrite.  The examples at best might show we are altruistic in extreme situations but that does not mean we are ever altruistic any other time. Big altruistic acts might only prove that we are altruistic in big things. But we could have nothing but egoistic motivation for all the other things we do. A man who won't steal a hundred pounds might steal a pound.
 
And the extreme situation means we are not fully free to do what we want. The extreme examples cannot tell us if the human race in general is altruistic. Nor do they prove that the acting individuals are altruistic.  The examples show that altruism is suspect.
 
People are not mostly egotistic for life cannot function if everybody steals and lies and cheats.
 
People then must at least be mostly egoistic.

 

RELIGION
 
We must remember that the Bible teaches that we are all sinners and because God is happy with nothing we do we need to be saved by one who earns our salvation for us: Jesus Christ. Why all the hostility towards psychological egoism, a harmless doctrine, when it is all right for Lutherans and Calvinists and true Bible believers to teach that natural man does nothing but sin or be egotistic?

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

 

If you're truly selfish, you will never act selflessly - it will only be a pretense. If you're truly selfless, then selfishly accruing resources will actually help other people, as you're likely to NOT use them on yourself.

I take it as proven that in any conflict, the less selfish should win, as it causes less collateral damage.  But if we are all selfish then it follows that the "less" selfish just do selfishness in a less ugly way than the "more" selfish.  There is no more or less.  It is just selfish.

There is no action without a goal.  You have a goal and that is why you act.  Doing nothing has results and is an act and a decision too.  If you are unselfish then you are creating goals that contradict what you want.  Your goals are about others then not you.  The trouble is no matter what you do you have a goal that you want.  The goal of being selfless is still a goal thus you cannot really be selfless.  It is your goal, it is part of you.  It is still self-centered.

 

The question is that even if we cannot help it being about our goals - and being selfless is yet another self-centred goal of mine - is self-centred automatically bad?

 

It is seen as bad for if it is good for me to be selfish then it is seen as bad for the other person to be selfish for that means they have to be willing to hurt me to succeed if it is good for them to be selfish.  This is an argument from consequences.  It does not follow from selfishness being bad that I am not by nature selfish.  The argument is central to the debate.  It is ultimately the only one the altruist brigade have got.  Thus altruism is based on a lie and is thus not truly selfless.  It is immoral never mind self-centred.

 

Altruism frees you from yourself and that paradoxically is self-centred for it does not feel good to be directed all the time by your desires. The desire to feel you are free from your desires is itself a form of self-interest.

 

It puts motive first before results and that shows it is about you---

 

FINALLY

 

Let us pass over the minority view that an egotist is a person who engages in selfishness that harms others and that we are all psychologically egotists. A psychological egoist is a person who is out chiefly for themselves or solely but who does not harm. A psychological altruist is about others chiefly or solely. There is disagreement on whether human nature is one or the other. Some think your brain can make you one one minute or the other the next. That, assuming altruism or egoism are possible at all and everybody assumes they are, is possible. In fact if you are an altruist you end up with no right to call anybody an egoist for that altruism calls it selfish to accuse somebody without evidence and no evidence is available. Plus as we are to put on the best interpretation possible it follows that you must never call say a murderer or bank robber an egotist but an egoist. Altruism totally contradicts itself and has to call everybody an altruist so it is just useless fairy dust. For that it is selfish. It is pride for it is a person pretending to be better than what they are when the better is anything but good!