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Daily thought America

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Recently I had a drunken conversation with one of my friends about the aspects of altruism. Well, one may have called it more of an argument than a conversation. Despite the seeming paradox, I remember that the question at hand was “does anyone really do anything for other people,” or in essence is any deed we do truly altruistic? Can we as a species be capable of such blind reverence? Do we do these so called acts of kindness out of the power of our heart, or the comfort for our soul?

The conversation started off like this: my friend, whom will remain anonymous, had recently just gotten engaged, and of course the next socially acceptable move would be to have an engagement party with all his friends and colleagues. Being the person I am, I find these sort of gatherings drab, and lack luster. They lack any true meaning in the construct of marriage. It’s more of a “hey look at me and what I’m doing now, see I am somebody” type deal in my opinion, but hey that’s my opinion.

Putting my opinion aside, I begun to tell my friend that I really didn’t want to go to the event because I feel as I stated above. Immediately, he told me that I do these sort of things because I’m selfish and only care about myself. In my world that type of remark does not go silently into the night. So I said “ok, let’s say that is true, and we are saying that for sake of argument. But do people really do anything for other people completely, or our all our motives selfish ones, is anyone truly altruistic?”

My friend, with the help alcohol, immediately pounced on this statement. “No man, no way, I’m doing this for my friend and only my friend. This has nothing to do with something that I am getting, and I’m not thinking about myself when I made this choice.”

So I bit. I begun to question his train of thought in every single motive he could possibly have in going to the engagement party.

“Going to the engagement party makes you feel good about yourself, and showing him that you are his friend and you support him makes you feel good. By making choices like that can’t you see that you are doing it for yourself, in order to make you feel better about being a good friend.” He quickly retorted in a drunken outraged state, because we all know how people misinterpret things when inebriated. “Oh, my god! There is nothing wrong with doing stuff for other people Mando. I’m not doing this for myself, I’m doing it for him.”

Once again I tried to convince him otherwise with, “Ok, can you say that it is fifty-fifty. You’re doing it for him and yourself?” Being the so called Mother Theresa he is he continued to fight his point of contention, “No, I will not say that…blah,blah,blah.”

The drunken argument went on for about an hour or so like that, inevitably ending in me recording the conversation, because like any good drunk he forgot what he was saying so I had to cover my tracks.

Here’s the point: no one does anything for other people. The word ‘altruism’ in my opinion shouldn’t even exist – because it doesn’t in the real world. I know you may say “look at those people who go into the Peace Corp., or give blood, or kidneys, or money, or help bums and yadda yadda yadda.” To that statement I say this, are they doing it to truly help, or does it bring comfort to their mind that they are helping. Is their very first thought about those people, or how good it would make them feel if they helped those people? Does that constitute selflessness? The answer is no.

So next time you think you are doing something completely for other people, think about how it is making you feel and why you truly are doing it. In the end no one is truly altruistic.

2 Comments

  1. Francesca Pompeii

    December 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I do agree in that most of what we do is harnessed in our ulterior motives as individuals. I also believe that you most definitely won this debate, one by recording and two for writing a great story about it on the Entertainer. Surely, he can’t top that.

  2. FMS

    March 9, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Good point, I won’t give power bars to the homeless anymore. I have learned whatever happens after the bar closes is either Great or Horrible, and 99 out of a 100 times it is just another argument. The best times of the day are from 9 pm to 2 am, because after that, everyone is too drunk.

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