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Egoism and Altruism September 22, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Books, Rants.

The Fountainhead deals with these two views at the core of every main character. Here are the definitions of each —
Egoism: the view that we are always motivated by self-interest or that we always should be so motivated. Contemporary rational choice theorists attempt to understand how actual social institutions can be based on the choices of individuals acting according to egoist principles. The prisoner’s dilemma and other problem cases show difficulties with this approach.

Altruism: the view that the well-being of others should have as much importance for us as the well-being of ourselves. Some argue that altruism, even if it is desirable, is not possible, and that our ethics must be based on egoism.

The true definition of altruism can not, and will never be exemplified in a human being. The only person that has achieved true altruism is Jesus Christ (you could argue him to be an egoist). It’s not possible to reach true altruism because nobody can possibly have absolute humility; even the most minute hint of pride negates the possibility of achieving it. But I don’t want to come out against it either; look at what some of these billionaires have done — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Google.org have done and are currently doing some amazing things for the world as a whole. I have complete respect for all these people that are involved in helping others; it’s a noble thing. But to say that anybody is a true altruist is fallacy.

And what’s wrong with being an egoist ? Why can’t one be self-sufficient ? Nearly everybody’s (I leave out Mark Cuban :p) self-respect is defined by what other people speak over them. The “you are”‘s become “I am”‘s, as Pastor Greg said tonight at 1221. It’s so true though; why can’t we have our own images of ourself, and not care about what anybody else thinks ? What’s wrong with that ? Sure, when someone tries to stick it to everybody else, they will take so much crap. But at the end of the day, you are not defined by what other people think of you; you are defined by yourself. Bleh.

The problem with me is I feel that I can’t express in writing what is in my head; it seems like it doesn’t make sense in words. It all works up in my head though. Anyways…

Read The Fountainhead. You wan’t regret it.


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