Does “pure” altruism exist?
According to my research most of the psychologists argue there is no such thing as “pure” altruism. I started to think, there must be some benefit for helping friends, strangers or animals. We definitely want to feel good about ourselves but in my opinion it’s a very small percentage. We want people to like us & respect us and that’s what boosts our egos. Those who are believers want to increase their chance of getting into heaven. Some of us believe in reciprocal altruism (we do good to people & people will return the favor someday). So whether we know it or not, we do help ourselves in some way, shape or form.
Altruism is defined as an ego defense, in which a person copes with his anxiety by stepping outside himself to help others. I started to wonder, what about people in altruistic vocations such as medicine or teaching? There is an expectation of honor & respect towards doctors, nurses & teachers. Which ultimately leads to entitlement, pride & satisfaction- also defined as an altruistic behavior. This argument is always attacked on different grounds. Starting with money, economic status, emotional & physical job demands, material gains etc. Often, altruism is discussed as if no compensation should be expected.
Researchers pointed out that the sense of self-satisfaction we receive from helping another, along with the idea that we “bank” favors by helping others, is evidence that humans are simply selfish. I think that being selfish to some degree is good. Some unanimously say that pure altruism doesn’t exist & it’s nothing but a selfish behavior. This brings me back to the main question if pure altruism really exists. If self satisfaction & feeling fulfilled are what we ultimately strive for in life- then theory of pure altruism is automatically eradicated. The challenge lies in finding ways to evoke the better ways to do good. Regardless which side of the spectrum you are, if you have a desire to make a positive impact & it warms your own heart- this is ultimately the worthy act. And the worthy act is, always, the greatest act.
“I don’t do things for the response or for the controversy. I just live my life”- Rihanna.