Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fellow Man - Relationships

Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions.

Cooperation  is the process of groups of organisms working or acting together for their common/mutual benefit.

We have a choice, altruism doing for others, whether they want, need, or even can use something, verses doing for others any yourself at the same time something that all concerned want. Altruism is often pushed onto the people, something that is a religious one sided approach, where cooperation is consultation process, and then cooperation to achieve, requiring buy in by all the people. Altruism is a religious attitude, where cooperation is a logical attitude requiring higher development of all the people involved and a common purpose.

Altruism has long been used by the religious folk as a service to others, a badge of honor, a higher order of calling, without much regard for either the people served or those not served. Parents have duties to their families, and when altruistic endeavors cause hardships at home, do not expect praise but resentments, and relationship breakdown, or lack of development in the relationship. I had a mother and have a sister who would do anything for anyone, as long as they are not family. Oh, well, they were/are religious altruistic servers, and we can see the down side to this characteristic, as pushed by religions.   

For these reasons, cooperation should be the foundation of our relationships with people, not altruism nor pity, not usury. Paid to serve is a separate relationships. Relationships with people can run the gambit from a strictly across the counter exchange through neighbors, friends, to close friends and partners. There is also those sexual relationships, but those are beyond the scope of this post. We must not forget those special work with/ worked with in the past, and dead relationships. There are those who we share a special interest with, like the archery club, our golf buddy, etc.  

The stoics thought that mans' purpose was to cooperate to produce a flourishing life. That is the prime function of man. Lower species are here to serve man, but not to be abused. 

Cooperation becomes the more desirable human characteristic. It is a virtue, while altruism is often a selfish attitude of doing for others to make the self feel better. It is better than doing nothing, but the true cooperative attitude is a virtue.


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