Sunday, August 15, 2010

Act of Altruism

Are we really an altruist? Isn't there some kind of hidden returns for such act from us?

When the beggars come and knock your car window in the traffic signal, you might be searching for some coins. What do you think the real intention is? Is it to give some money to him, or is it to avoid the possible scratches he is going to make on the glass? What do you get in return from this act?

When small kids come and poke you, when you are standing in front of a shopping mall or bus stop with your girl friend, You might put your hands inside the pocket for some coins to get ride of such embarrassing situation. What is the benefit from such so called act of altruism? When you get benefited, can we call it as altruism? 

Now, there is a trend of IT professionals going to NGOs and taking teaching sessions. Isn't it to get relaxation from the daily hectic routine of work? Ultimate result is some kind of relaxation from your hectic life. Can I call  this also as an altruism ? 

"Well, this write up is the after effect of the chapter "Unbelievable Stories about Apathy and Altruism" from "SUPER FREAKonomics" by Steven D.Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner." Interesting thoughts of applying economics in some behavior of us.


  1. First when i read this post i was totally unaware of Act Of Altruism. Now i know what is Act of Altruism. Thanks and Good Work. But....

    I think, why i am Writting this post is also an Act of Altruism!!!!!

  2. .. perhaps there are still good people who do it for unselfish motives .. just that we don't see 'em or deal with 'em .. but does it mean they don't exist ? :-)

  3. Good one... .been thru this debate within myself... Trying to find out the truth in our 'so called selfless acts'... I think this is ur best post so far ;)

  4. Its all semantics. Part of the reason is selflessness itself is an abstract concept difficult to define. As long as there is motivation to do something, it will be linked to your self one way or the other.
    As long as all you gain from helping others is an emotional well being for yourself, I think you can consider yourself altruistic, in a practical sense. :)

  5. altruism is not about punishing yourself; but what better way if you can help others and feel good about it. Is there really any harm in feeling good when you help others? So what is the harm if you teach some poor kid and you feel relaxed and he gets better education. The selfish thing would be turning down the opportunity to teach just so that you can laze around in your recliner channel surfing.

  6. Hi
    I learned one more word that is Altruism from your BlogSpot and feed in my main memory, thank u.
    I want to share some more information about synopsis of Altruism, thinking from mind to heart. If you do well for self respect, the result will happen good but not longer. If you do well for humanity or self sacrifice, really your result is life oriented.

  7. Still, if you start looking at each one as altruist then you are blinding yourself from looking at people who are really helping.