Before you start talking race, my first thought reading this was about 9/11.
I was working a hospital that day, and many people, especially nurses, wanted to go to NY to help out. But they wanted to take off work to go do it. In other words, they wanted to volunteer instead of doing their job. "But they need volunteers!" they'd argue to the refusing nurse manager. "We all need to make some sacrifices." Of course, in doing so, they were volunteering the people left behind for double shifts. That's the part they didn't seem to get.
So here, "seven joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of America that morning." Great, they want to help a young boy in need of a role model. But do these men have kids of their own? It's one thing if they're living with their kids and want to give something extra to others. But if they're living apart from their own kids, why not just spend extra time with them? Because doing "your job" isn't as rewarding as "sacrificing."
Here's what happened on 9/12 at my hospital, and what happens in so many cases of high-emotion altruism: they take the day off in order to go to NYC, but then don't actually go (car wouldn't start; heard on the radio they were blocking volunteers, etc). They win: they get the reward of the sacrifice, perform no actual sacrifice, and get the day off. Meanwhile, someone else had to sacrifice to cover their responsibilities.
What is not intuitively obvious is the psychological motivation of the people left behind: why do they do double duty and let these fakers get away with it? Why, when the man says he's going to spend resources on someone else's kid, does the biological mom of his kid not hit him with a sack of batteries? More importantly, why has this complementary behavior (guy volunteers, other guy forced to pick up the slack) been allowed to exist in human society? We don't pee on each other anymore, so why do we allow this?
This question is not altogether without merit. The general expectation (based on nothing at all) is that societal arrangements have been arrived upon through some sort of evolutionary (from worse to better!) process that is both comprehensible and expressible - because it's intentional. Sure, it may not be intentional at the level of each bend and wrinkle, but nevertheless it is broadly intentional. "The people" are not mere watchers of history, of process that unfolds entirely outside of their own control, but on some level, in some sort of aggregate, actual agents! They influence the course of events! They MATTER! This particular nonsensical view strokes the ego expectations of "rational" "humanists", but has a lot of trouble in the actual field.ii For instance : if
God is love you matter, how come there exists suffering ? Hm ?
But let's move on.
Think, for a moment, why you think worker honeybees are worker honeybees. You probably figure it's "genetic" i.e fixed, but honeybees are totipotent-- the females, as larvae, can become either queen or worker. Furthermore, as adults, they can choose to change again, by activating or deactivating their ovaries. It's up to the individual, not decided by God. Despite this, 99% of females decide to become sterile workers.
The reason they do is twofold. First, the amount/kind of food given to larvae is restricted so that there isn't enough to become a queen. Next, if a female chooses to have some babies, those babies are promptly killed by the other adults, with amazing efficiency. This process discourages the workers from laying any eggs in the first place. This isn't some slow evolutionary process; they're actually killing babies in there, on purpose. This is a guaranteed way of getting the civilization you want, and fast.
When there is no queen in the hive, the killing of babies is reduced or stopped, until a new queen is made.
The altruism of worker bees is socially coerced.
How many wrong babies have you killed today ?
Why do you think you know anything about altruism ?
And most importantly : who said you may stay up this late ? Off to bed!
- It doesn't exist! It's a thoroughly arbitrary label for a completely empty box, a word without meaning, drivel.
Exactly like prescience, or the "real value" of money/items/labour, or impartial history, unbiased research, altruism is anything to everyone and in sum total nothing whatsoever. It's a sort of beauty, or pornography, or "good moral values" or any other element of that soup.
Yes, yes, I know, I know, "you know it when you see it". Except you mostly see it in yourself - and if you see it in others you see it as a reflection of that and no more. A female circumcision artist is not altruistic, right ? Could never be altruistic, could they ? It's just not an altruistic kinda thing. Not to you, anyway.
Altruism lacks a workable definition. You know this, and lie about it, pretending that on the contrary, it has one, that you could give it one. You've not just made up an empty word, but know what you mean. Until someone challenges this quaint notion, at which point you have to change it, and hope they go away. If they don't, you'll cop out, by getting "angry" or "disinterested", or by taking refuge in meaningless, contrived complexity. Anything that's workable in the moment so the pretense can be maintained, for your own benefit. You wanna live in a world with altruism in it, damnit! And with computers that do what you mean not what you say, and with happiness!
Not so, right ? "Reproductive fitness reduction", right ? Consider that the white slave owner in the slave owning South had fewer children than average. That doesn't actually make slave owning an altruistic enterprise, right ? There's "an interplay of factors" suddenly "coming into play", isn't there. The wealthy are for this reason unaltruistic to your eyes, but this has nothing to do with your own stupidity and its necessary naufrage in ideology, it's just "how it is", right ? Nevermind that rich people have fewer kids than poor people, this doesn't mean being rich is an altruistic behaviour, even though that's "the definition" of altruism. It only works when you want it to work, right ? Because that's why it's a definition, and that's why Aristotle even invented ethics in the first place, for your contemptible sort to have where to take a shit.
Do you think your children will hate you ? Do you think your parents despise you ? Do you think God didn't simply die but actually committed suicide because you suck and it just wasn't worth it anymore ? That's what "altruism" is, and the more time you spend rehashing that nonsense the more time you should have spent fixing your sore mental spots. Your total preoccupation with the concept of altruism is mostly a measure of your mental issues, just like the total time you spend masturbating is a measure of your desocialisation. [↩]
- Yes, yes, I know, you've erradicated smoking, you've mandated bike helmets, cars now beep if I don't put the belt on, right, you matter. Go to bed. [↩]