What is ALTRUISM?
|Sourced from substanceforyou.com|
In other words….
|Sourced from forum.thefreedictionary.com
The term altruism was coined by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), the French philosopher and sociologist (Dixon, T., 2005.New Dictionary of the History of Ideas)
Here are a couple of videos that covers the basic ideas of altruism.
Altruism comes in several flavours. The first one is:
Pure Altruism which refers to the simple act of GIVING….of our time, money, effort….anything that we can, freely and willingly… without a coercion or obligation. Acts of donation, volunteering, fundraising, providing relief supplies, donating blood and organs freely (without any obligation), giving someone a warm smile or a hug are all forms of altruism.
But then one would question… Why? Why should we donate or give of ourselves? Why should we do any random acts of kindness?
|Sourced from concordareahumanist.org and forum.thefreedictionary.com respectively.|
Simply giving a little of our time, money, effort makes us feel like better human beings. It gives us a warm glow of satisfaction, a smile to cherish, a memory to preserve. It feels like the right thing to do!
Here are links of some websites that explain and inspire altruism
The following video is a TED talk given by a Tibetan monk, Matthieu Ricard. He talks about how altruism can help change us and our society for the better
This put simply, is expecting a favour in exchange of a favour, tit-for-tat, an act that is mutually beneficial.
|Sourced by http://www.slideshare.net|
The word “reciprocate” meaning to return a favour or a compliment, forms the basis of this term. It comes from the Latin word “reciprocare” which means going to and fro.
The term “reciprocal altruism” was coined by Robert Trivers in the 1970s.
Animals, too show reciprocal altruism behavior and he theory related to them is kin selection. William D. Hamilton, an evolutionary biologist, came up with the theory in 1964 and coined it as Hamilton’s rule. In a nutshell, Hamilton’s rule is when animals put themselves at risk (barking, warning calls) to ensure the survival and safety of their siblings and relatives who share similar genes and will pass them to their offspring (Brembs, B. 2001).
Too much of anything is not good. That applies to altruism too!!!
Pathological altruism is when one reaches a point where it can be detrimental to one’s physical or emotional health. It goes beyond the point of being generous and kind. A good example would be going without necessities to help out a friend in need or jumping in the water to save someone when you can’t swim yourself.
This book is one of the first of its kind to explore the negative aspects of altruism and empathy.
|Sourced from amazon.co.uk|
All the above-mentioned forms of altruism come with their own caveats. What then, would be the ideal form of altruism? How can we do the best form of “good” without harming ourselves or selfishly expecting any reward for it?
There is a form of altruism that is making waves and coming under the spotlight in the media and the attention of the world…..
|Sourced from sites.duke.edu|
This is based on a simple rule – Doing the best we can! It calls for a balance between the heart and the mind. The word “effective” says it all. Effective altruists believe in doing maximum good for the world. Investing in charities strategically rather than passionately. They believe in long term goals.
|Sourced from http://www.intelligencesquared.com
COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc. wwwwwwwwwwwwwww.intelligencesquared.com
It can be quite an unconventional outlook. One good example would be an effective altruist taking up a well- paid job and donating most of his income to charity work. This is only one of many approaches.
The following is a link to a website called Centre for Effective Altruism based in Oxford, UK.
REFERENCES: (in alphabetical order)
Brembs, B. (2001), Hamilton’s Theory. Academic Press. Doi: 10.1006/rwgn.2001.058
Dixon, T. (2005).http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/altruism.aspx New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. The Gale Group, Inc.
Pictures sourced from: (in alphabetical order)