Altruism - the opposite of egoism
Examples of selfless behavior suggest that altruists are highly moral individuals. Natural and necessary for the survival of selfishness, they have replaced the moral duty of the interests of another person or society to put higher than their own.
Altruism as a moral institution
Altruism - moral behavior, the willingness of an individual to act in the interests of another person / people, neglecting their needs, desires, life and a set of value orientations built into the personality structure.
Examples of altruism are known as instances of heroism. People die to save their children, loved ones or their native land.
Altruism as a socio-psychological attitude to act in the interests of others is formed in the process of education and socialization.
In childhood, egoism is determined by development and is natural. Children are taught to share toys, give a single candy to another baby, “give in” to mom and dad, other children, and so on.
For a mature, developed personality, altruism is a moral need and necessity.
Altruistic behavior implies such personality traits and qualities:
- love of people.
A person, cultivating these qualities in himself, grows and develops as a person.
Types of Altruism
Installation act in the interests of other people is manifested in the form of:
- Love Such love is active, sacrificial, disinterested and non-evaluative. The most altruistic parental love.
- Empathy. A person, seeing the problems of another, empathizes and improves his position through volunteer or charitable help.
- Social norms. Some types of help and care are taken in society or in a single group of people as norms of behavior (to transfer the grandmother across the road, to give way to a pregnant woman in transport, to help a colleague with work).
- Mentoring.A person disinterestedly shares experience and knowledge, teaches, educates, accompanies.
- Heroism and self-sacrifice.
In some philosophies, ideologies, worldviews and world religions, altruism is considered as a moral principle, proper behavior. In particular, the idea of self-sacrifice for the sake of others is one of the leading ones in Christianity. The call to love your neighbor as yourself contains the demand to place love for people above egoism (although love for yourself is not excluded at all).
What mechanism makes a person suppress egoism, and sometimes the strongest self-preservation instinct for the sake of highly moral principles?
To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the connection between altruism and egoism.
Altruism and selfishness
The concept of "altruism" was introduced by Auguste Comte as the opposite of the concept of "selfishness". O. Comte defined altruism as the ability to resist selfishness.
Egoism is a life-orientation and orientation towards the satisfaction of personal interests and needs, even at the cost of the well-being of other people.
Egoism is the derivative of the instinct of self-preservation, the need to survive and adapt.Ethically selfishness is due to the value of life. Anyone who does not appreciate life or is not afraid to lose it, risks and neglects himself.
In its normal, rational manifestation, egoism is necessary in order to form an idea of one’s own “I”, to develop, set and achieve goals, to realize oneself as a person.
The extreme degree of egoism is perceived by others as self-centeredness, alienation, cynicism, cruelty, self-centeredness of thinking. Extremely dangerous altruism people perceive as recklessness, because a person can die, doing a good deed.
Some scholars consider altruism as a variant of egoism, in which the benefits of activity are hidden or unconscious, but always present.
Altruism and selfishness are interrelated phenomena.
First, there is a relationship between the subjective sense of happiness and the propensity for altruistic actions. The higher the tendency of people to act in the interests of others, to satisfy the needs of others, the more often they are satisfied with themselves and their lives. Helping others, doing good deeds, selfless deeds, the person feels an extraordinary joy. By the way, many people like to make gifts more than to receive them.
Secondly, the relationship between satisfying one’s desires and social needs and personal happiness is also positive: the more personal goals a person achieves, the happier they become (if they achieve what they really want). The satisfaction of social needs for love, care, recognition, respect, belonging, friendship, family, self-actualization brings happiness.
A person needs not only to receive, but also to give good. For the psychological well-being of the individual, other people are needed.
Outside society, man cannot be happy. Social activities and life would be meaningless without the opportunity to share it with another person.
Selflessness peculiar to animals. Modern science considers the altruistic behavior of animals as a necessity designed to ensure the survival of the entire species. Perhaps the ability of people to sacrifice has the same reason. A living organism can sacrifice itself so that life will continue in future generations.
Selfishness is love for oneself, altruism is love for another person.
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