The Myth of Altruism


Hey there folks!


I feel like I have spoken at length about my withdrawn and private nature. I am able to keep my emotions in check more often than not and some may even describe me as stoic, especially if I am not comfortable around you yet. I never know who I can really speak with because I have little tolerance for being ignored, you know that moment when you are speaking to someone and you see their eyes glaze over. I do not enjoy wasting my breath and if you are not listening then that is exactly what I am doing. So more often than not I keep my mouth shut so as to save us both the time.


For many years I took this approach to things and still do to some degree; however, there are times when I feel compelled to speak and these moments caused me worry when I was younger. On one hand, I feel the compulsion to interject something into the present conversation and this is not an easy impulse to control. On the other hand, I knew that I was about to put my opinion into the fray and this almost always causes some form of conflict. Now I am not scared of conflict and recognize that sometimes it is absolutely necessary, but if I can see nothing to be gained in the conflict then I will try to avoid the issue. In these moments I will have an internal struggle because I do not believe that holding yourself back is any way to live, yet I have no wish to get caught up in stupid arguments that go nowhere.


One day, as I was having one such struggle I thought back to a conversation I had with an old friend about altruism. My friend argued that true altruism does not exist. No matter what action an individual takes part of the motivation is self serving. This does not mean that it is still not a good action and beneficial to others, it simply means that the individual performing the action gets something out of the arrangement as well.


It was then that I began to realize that I needed to incorporate this attitude into my general out look. I must look out for myself and my wants because no one else is going to do this for me. This is what I mean when I say that everything I do and say is purposeful. My actions always serve me in some purpose because before I can help anyone I must first take care of myself.


In some manners I feel that this attitude has made me a more compassionate and giving person. For example, when I give something to someone I do not do so with an expectation placed upon it other than the fact that it makes me feel good to help them. This does not mean that I am going to let someone take advantage of me because I do not give what I cannot afford to give. I am not a bank and I do not make loans so if I give something to you it is just that, a gift.


I realize that this comes across as a cynical way to view things, but I believe it to be true. At the end of the day there is nothing I would not do for those that I love because that is who I am. Whatever those decisions make me is not for me to decide, all I can do is try to be the best possible version of myself.


2 thoughts on “The Myth of Altruism

  1. I have read many of your posts and I think that you and I are alike in many ways. I agree with you again on this one as well. I think we are all hedonists (to varying degrees, situation depending). The only exception to that is when you are a parent. Granted, most of what I do for my son makes me internally happy to do them. But… there are many things like waking up at the wee hours of the morning that I do only for him, lol. Not the best example, but an exception none the less.

    Liked by 1 person

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