What is altruism - an instinct, a form of selfishness or a character trait?
What is altruism? By analyzing the meaning of this concept, one can meetseveral definitions that contradict each other. So, one of them characterizes him as a disinterested help (peculiar only to a person), manifested in everyday life: support for the weak, parental care, education, patronage - that is, a behavioral act aimed at the benefit of others, without regard for one's own interests. Another designation of altruism examines it from a scientific point of view and reveals in it: the causes of the occurrence (it is believed that such behavior is inherent in animals, as a feeling of herdness); motives of the person committing this act; the influence of disinterestedness on the behavior of others; all possible prospective benefits from such acts, etc.
As can be seen, the question of the origin of this conceptis still unclear. However, the general form of behavior of man and animal is, and it manifests itself in parental feelings. So what is altruism? The moral principle, the form of selfishness or instinct?
The very concept was proposed by the Frenchphilosopher Comte and expressed it meaning, which in its essence is the opposite of selfishness. "Live for others" - that's what Kontov's altruism meant. The meaning of the word was specifically understood as limiting one's own interest to the common good. However, some interpretations allowed that, guided by the happiness of the majority, a person can cause himself and a small number of people a small harm. Therefore, in order to avoid such assumptions, moral codes were developed that read "do no harm", "live and help others".
Here it becomes clear what altruism is. In it is a moral principle, which commands to perceive another person as an equal andto promote his well-being.But again the question arises as to who decides what is the good of the other, if this second can not decide on its own interests. Also it is not clear how to deal with an evil and unjust man? Or should not this principle be extended to wicked people?
Thus, in order to understand nature and understand what altruism is, this phenomenon has been made the subject of socio-psychological research, in whichpractical relations between people, their solidarity, care, mutual assistance, etc. were analyzed. As a result, there were several different opinions on this matter.
One of them proposed a number of altruistic norms,in which the human need to give up and his social responsibility is considered. The first rule depends on experience - good for good, and the second on consciousness, that is, if someone depends on you, then you must help him. Another opinion is that altruism is behavior caused by empathy (a pleasant or unpleasant feeling at the sight of human suffering and a desire to help him). Here this concept is identified with egoism. Psychoanalysis treats altruism as a way of getting rid of guilt by committing an unselfish act. In addition, they distinguish two motives for such actions: a moral duty and sympathy.