Genuine Altruism is part of Human Nature
Decades of research back the idea that genuine altruism exists as part of human nature. Genuine altruism is modulated by our empathetic capacities for the other….those capacities themselves modulated by our environment after genetics… therefore we can challenge the nihilistic belief that we are purely self-ish beings. The nihilistic view perhaps has its place in Utility as motivator and liberator during bad times…which to be real, is most of history or human evolution. Our species comes from a harsh environment…nature and man imposed. I believe evol psych explains how we got to be what we are…but can easily seduce us into forgetting our special human capacity to choose for ourselves even in the face of our biases, genetic predispositions, and default tendencies in environmental contexts. We can separate stimuli from response. That is our gift. Unhinged to choose our own axis, I call this “ the big Fuck you.” As research and science in civilized society continue to free us from ourselves….our race can bravely satisfy the Oracle’s imperative to Plato/Socrates’ of “know thyself”…so that we can then(now) be free enough to begin the.collective journey of undertaking Kirkegaard’s equally daunting, “Choose thyself.”
“ Helpfulness so reliably makes helpers feel better that Daniel Batson (2011) has devoted much of his career to discerning whether helpfulness also contains a streak of genuine altruism…..
…Batson, a former philosophy and theology student, had begun his research feeling ‘excited to think that if we could ascertain whether people’s concerned reactions for others in DISTRESS were genuine, and not simply a subtle form of selfishness, then we could shed new light on a basic issue regarding human nature’ (1999a).
Two decades later, he believes he has his answer;
Genuine ‘empathy-induced altruism
is part of human nature’ (1999b).
And that, says Batson, raises the hope —
confirmed by research — that inducing empathy might improve attitudes toward stigmatized people: people with AIDS, the homeless, the imprisoned, and other
(The Benefits — and the Costs — of Empathy-Induced