Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


Altruism as in sacrificing for others without thinking of yourself or doing it for yourself in any way

What is altruism?

Altruism is doing things for others without any thought for yourself or concern for any of your needs and is the doctrine that this alone is true love and morality. The altruist only looks after himself when it is strictly necessary. And then only to be of use to other people. The altruist who takes no flu treatment cannot help others. The altruist never does good because he enjoys it or sees benefit in it for himself for that is not altruism. Altruism does not say you cannot do good when you enjoy it but only if you are detached from the pleasure and would do the good without it and only if you are not motivated by the enjoyment. Without the conditions, it teaches that you did not intend it to be real good. The motive and the intent was bad even though the result brought good to others. Selfless love is not a feeling Ė it is a choice. You can love a person altruistically without liking them in the slightest. Altruism opposes selfishness or self-gratification. It says that other people matter more than you. The consistent altruist will donate his organs and die purposely so that five others can use his organs and live.

What is the link between altruism and love and compassion and justice?

It says that any violation of these even in the name of self-sacrifice is not altruism.  It however exalts choice.  Giving away your due is not called unfair as long as you choose to do it.  So in a sense you can overrule justice.
 
What is sacrifice?

It is giving up something and seeking no recompense for giving it up.
 
Do unselfishness and sacrifice go together?

Parting with money to have an alcoholic drink cannot be described as a true sacrifice. Parting with money you need to help somebody else who also needs it would be sacrifice. Sacrifice and unselfish don't necessarily go together. The person who eats all the sweets and doesn't share them is regarded as selfish. But he is sacrificing in the sense that refuses friendship with others and knows he needs it more than he needs sweets. It follows then that the sacrifice of the egoist and the altruist is the same.
 
Why does altruism say that love is sacrifice?

If others are put first that is a sacrifice. A sacrifice that does not hurt you is no sacrifice at all. A sacrifice you want to commit is no sacrifice at all.

It would not be altruistic love to help someone just so that you will feel better or because you enjoy it or because you feel you might as well do it. That is really preferring your pleasure to that person and that is immoral in altruism. So altruism asks you to deprive yourself for others.
 
Is love always sacrifice?

Always, if you believe you can and therefore should be always other-centred. If you wish you could be altruistic and cannot be Ė say when you are behind bars and cannot get out to give your money to a woman begging in the street - then that is the nearest you can get to sacrifice so it is love. As far as motive is concerned, it is sacrifice for you are sacrificing your desire for yourself. Altruists say it would be evil to forcibly prevent yourself from doing loving actions so that you could love in your heart.
 
Can you do good while motivated by altruism and self-interest both at the one time?

No for you can drop the selfish motive. Adherence to evil makes the good you do to be hypocrisy for your good should be done in an attitude of repentance. Besides, while you can have an altruistic motive one instant and a selfish one the next you cannot have both at the same time so the idea of being motivated by both is incoherent. The motive you had the instant you decided what to do is the one that determined what you would choose.

I am surer I exist than that anybody else does so altruism implies that degradation of the self is good and it is love. So to mix it with any concern for myself would not be altruism on any level at all for they canít be mixed and it would be evil and inconsistent to accept any happiness that altruism brings. An act either degrades me or it does not.

Is it true that altruism is supposed to think of making other people good first before helping them with food and clothing and companionship and other things?

Yes - good as in nurturing altruism in them. The altruist would give a hungry child bread in the hope of seeing the child give the bread away to another child. You are not supposed to help a person who becomes selfish because of your altruism. Though altruists do help such people it is only because of their belief that we cannot see what is happening in the heart of another and so have no right to judge. It is not because they doubt the principle that helping a person who becomes selfish through your altruistic deeds for them is wrong.
 
When you put altruistic love before yourself you have to put its propagation in others before anything else. The person who would rather work to you for nothing instead of trying to give you lessons in altruism and its spirituality is not an altruist but a fake. Anybody who teaches a hypocritical version of altruism is not a real altruist.

Can you accept a reward for your altruism?

The altruist only takes rewards to give them away.

Otherwise taking the reward is like reversing the altruism.  It is like reversing it to take advantage of it. It is like saying I refuse to be altruistic any more now. I did the act not to get a reward and refusing to have a reward so now I am insulting that noble act. Rewards, if they should be granted, have to be forced on the altruist against their will if the altruists are to remain moral. Rewards are really a punishment when they are forced on you like that. To enjoy them would be to denigrate your dignity and freedom. It would be to say that you are no value as a person and the person or god who rewards you would be really doing evil disguised as good.  
 
Think of it this way. If love is right and everything else is wrong then you should keep the attitude of love inside you all the time even if there is nobody about. It is the same with altruism which is supposed to be love. If you take a reward you have to be grateful and enjoy the reward for it is not a reward otherwise. Thus to take a reward is to cease having an altruistic attitude. Rewards are wrong if altruism is right. The reward for the altruist is a non-reward Ė more opportunities to be altruistic. The true altruist thinks only of others not the reward or the honour of it. We are not saying the altruist should be churlish and ungrateful. We are saying the altruist canít and wonít make time and energy to make rewards mean anything. A reward is not a reward if you refuse to let it mean anything. If you cannot respect X because Y needs your love then it does not mean that you are doing wrong to X. You cannot do what you cannot do.

We see the religions of rewards such as Christianity and Islam tormenting people with altruistic demands while those who make the demands seek rewards. It is unfair.

Everything we do we think is right. Even when we do evil it is because we have come to temporarily believe that we ought to do it. If doing good just because it is good is the law then it is immoral to seek to reward a person by praise for doing good for they do not want it and should not want it. Their attitude is that virtue is its own reward. They are satisfied just by doing good and consider that to be the only real reward. So the reward then is insulting the person. It is not a reward at all. It invites people to do what they see as wrong. All it is, is a display of hypocrisy.

Also, if I do what I think is right then it does not follow that I do it because I want to think it is right.  If I did I would clearly be trying to put my opinions in front of the truth.  The problem is it still might be the case that that is exactly what I am doing.  So nobody can point to an act and call it altruistic.  Its arrogance posing as selflessness.
 
Christianity wants God to have all the credit for human goodness but still it praises people because it is false. Jesus started that in his parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. You have to believe we are naturally selfish creatures to gain anything from giving or receiving rewards which means they are not really rewards for you need free will to get them but the truth is we donít care.
 
What does altruism say about happiness?

It says that we should not work for our personal happiness but if we are self-sacrificing we will be happy as a side effect. The happiness comes from nature and the way we are made and by itself. We didnít evoke it or create it. We will be happy because there is goodness in us to give. We will not be happy that we are good for that is self-satisfaction for it would not be loving in altruist terms to enjoy the fact that you are good to others. It is like the difference in a person being glad to get a miraculous gift of brains and a person who is glad that he has become a brain-box by his own effort. The altruist who does altruistic good so that the side effect will come is working for happiness and is a hypocrite not an altruist. Altruism says that working directly for and indirectly for happiness is immoral. Happiness must be immoral or a necessary evil. With necessary evils, you endure them and tolerate them but you donít want them and would like them to be unnecessary and vanish.

Does this imply that happiness is evil?

Altruism says that working directly for and indirectly for happiness is immoral. Happiness must be immoral or a necessary evil. With necessary evils, you endure them and tolerate them but you donít want them and would like them to be unnecessary and vanish.

If happiness should not be sought even indirectly, then happiness must be evil. It is no answer to say that the altruist will be happier with altruism than if he works for his own happiness. In other words, we are being told that altruism does not condemn happiness but gives it like nothing else can. The true altruist will not enjoy it for love is sacrifice. Happiness is given to be sacrificed if altruism is true. Also, if you work for your own happiness you can manage to be very happy and be happier than an altruist who represses it would be.

If the altruist who has just gone out of his way to do some great deed dropped dead and there was no life after death altruism would still say that he did right to be an altruist even if he did not believe in an afterlife or in a reward and even if he knew he was about to die. This person did good for its own sake and it did him no good so it is clear that his good did not matter to him or to those who bless him for what he did either. Altruism is uncaring. When you have to be altruistic even if you know you are going to die tonight and deny yourself the most precious time you have left why shouldnít you starve yourself into hospital in order to feed somebody else who does not need any help from you? Altruism requires that you have no thought for your own happiness.

The person who believes there is no life after death or who is not sure at all or not very sure if he does believe is still expected to do selfless things that bring him no benefit. His life is the most important thing he has and he could be dead in five minutes and he still has to do that. This shows that it is still wrong for him to be selfish and enjoy himself meaning it must be always wrong. When he is old and has not many days left he is still expected to do it so then how much more will he be expected to do it when he is young and healthy and has no fear of dying? How much more will you and I be expected to do it when we are young. Death implies that egoism is totally and always immoral once it is accepted that altruism is a good thing.

Is it true that altruism has the side effect of happiness?

Suppose it does. Then it only results in happiness if it is not practiced properly. The true altruist would work so hard that he would have no time to feel it. Happiness is meant to be a potential side effect and not an actual one. When believe in altruism and do a small thing for another person like giving away your last Rolo you are saying that you are not worth that Rolo but somebody else is. If you do not believe in altruism, its different. You are giving it away because you honour yourself as good.

Altruists sometimes claim that they feel happy because of their goodness. If you can be altruistic, then you can be altruistic and still end up with depression. You can do something great for somebody and feel nothing. If happiness comes it does not follow that the altruism is the cause.
 
What does altruism say about greedy selfish businessmen who just care about making more money?

That they cannot be really happy. But some of them are. The appeal of gaining more riches would soon lose its shine if the altruists were being truthful.

Why else does altruism forbid one to be happy?

We have seen that if altruism or selfless is good then we should not will or allow anything that is done for our own sake. To find yourself happy and to accept that happiness is the same as doing something to make yourself happy for it is an act of will or acceptance so it is forbidden.

Have you any other proof that altruism opposes happiness?

If my employer refuses to pay me for a monthís work I am forcing him to do wrong if I insist I should be paid. But if I tell him it is okay if he does not want to pay I am making him do right. If I am a real altruist, I will not make him do wrong. So it is my duty to let other people walk over me.

What if I have a child to support? Since virtue comes first and I would rather help my child than my employer it follows that I should neglect the child for it is better to hurt myself by hurting the child in this way than to cause immoral intent. I have taken the responsibility for this state of affairs from my boss and put it on myself. I could argue that if I developed myself right I would not be hurt so if I feel hurt it is my fault. I could say my child will not starve and needs to learn through hardship.

I cannot say I should sometimes put the welfare of others before my own. I have to do this all the time. If it is right to watch my maths when I am accounting I cannot turn around and say I can be right some of the time. I have to be right all the time.

If I should risk getting kneecapped to save a person terrorists are planning to beat up to a pulp the moral systems tell me I should even if I am sure I will be kneecapped sooner or later because of it.

When I was a Christian I used to be devastated and very hurt when I saw people sinning because I believed that sin results in eternal damnation. This was far more damaging than what a person familiar with violence in the home would have to put up with. If harming others is wrong then it is wrong to upset their feelings. If it is wrong to hit me then it is wrong to upset me by putting yourself in danger of Hell. But what if I am upset just as much by altruists? What if I find their altruism unnatural and offensive and want them to be egoists instead? Altruists claim they have to go on with their work no matter how much it upsets others. I find altruism very upsetting and soul-destroying and donít like to see it practiced. Altruism just cares about rules not happiness. It also leaves you wide open to manipulation by people who say they will be very hurt if you do x, y or z.

What insight do we get from all this?

Altruism then is about rejecting not just ignoring rewards such as happiness. I don't want to be seen as good in God's or my own eyes for what I do.  It is pure sacrifice. 

I can be an altruist.  That has a very demanding side.  I can be an egoist which means I help others because I feel I want to and not because they are in trouble.  I can be an egotist which is about hurting others and even myself to get what I want.  The choice is between altruism and egoism. Egotism, being bad, isn't an option.  Egoism then is the sanest and most natural.  It is what everybody follows even if they say otherwise.