Saturday, May 30, 2009

Altruism is pseudo word

Ayn Rand’s writings are more misunderstood than understood most of the times. Extremity suits the human nature because it is more comprehensible than the kaleidoscopic intermediary. This is the reason why most of the people think in terms of black and white and ignore subtle shades of grey.

By the established norms of morality, altruist is the person who does great work for the benefit of other people and society in general even if it causes him discomfort and misery. The question that Ms .Rand raises is why does he do so?
Doesn’t he do it for his own moral, religious or mental satisfaction?
Is there not always a personal need attached to it?
If so then the basis of every activity is Individual’s own social, financial, mental, physical emancipation. Nothing is ever done for the sake of charity. Society always benefits from the contribution but the doer always does every act because he feels good about it. When you do well to others don’t you feel good about it?

Most of the time we want to portray this as an act of kindness but deep down it is our own fulfillment. Will you call this selfishness or an acknowledgement that deep beneath it all boils down to 'I'.

We have only to imbibe what we identify with and try to practice that at least in our way of life without trying to change the whole world according to our view point. I think that is where Ms. Rand being a very impressive and revolutionary writer, goes wrong.


  1. This post impressed me the most. I think the same about it. Although, a very few people would understand this. Accepting that everything in the world happens for one's selfish reason is not easy for people. It's rather depressing...

    Even I am to write an article somewhat differently but around the same point... :)

  2. You basically think that everyone is selfish.

    Ayn Rand has a full article on the issue you are talking about: "Isn't everyone selfish?" (in the book "The virtue of selfishness"). She answers your criticism in elaboration. I suggest if you criticize her philosophy on this point you should at least read that article and answer her arguments.

    I'll try to give a concise answer here to "isn't everyone selfish?".

    Your problem is in what you understand selfishness to mean. You seem to think that every action that goes after the satisfaction of one's emotions is selfish. That is not selfishness, it is simply the nature of human psychology that action requires emotional motivation. Motivation is an emotional state: We either wish to avoid pain or desire (log or short term) pleasure. Everyone are like that.

    This is not what selfishness means. Being selfish means one acts on the principle that one is to be the beneficiary of one's actions. That one lives for oneself and one's happiness.
    One can give and benefit others in the process, but the goal kept in mind is one's own values.

    Altruism is the principle by which one lives primarily for the well being of others.

    Emotions have only an indirect role to the application of these principles.
    One experiences one's values through emotions, so one might get confused and think that acting to satisfy one's emotions is automatically the same as pursuing one's values - it is not so.

    Pursuing one's values requires thought, it requires planning and principles.
    Selfishness is a *principle* by which one leads one's life. I hope you can see that it is very different than simply acting to satisfy any emotion.

    This is why if you feel like giving your house away and become someone's slave you are not selfish if you do it.

  3. Mr. Glassman,
    I think you need to read the posts before you reply .
    Which line in the above post appears critical towards philosophy of objectivism. It is not philosophy of Rand that I have doubts about .It is its implementation that I am skeptical about. I can only wish that there were people like she sketches in the novel. Selfishness is a virtue no doubt but being self centered is not possible for a compassionate soul.
    Btw ,I am great admirer of Ayn Rand and I have read and seen most of what Ayn Rand has written but I don't think she is completely right .

    Her philosophy makes outstanding individuals but can be implemented only in Utopian society.

    Thanks any way for visiting.

  4. I think it is rude of you to say that I did not read your post after I said that I did.

    Your philosophy and thinking are messed up and disorganized. First you say "X" then you say "I never said X", then you say "I admire her philosophy" and then you say "But I think she is wrong on everything".

    You are not taking responsibility for the things you say.
    Because of that I am not sure we can talk at all.

    If you have a position, either defend it or admit you are wrong. But you cannot have your position and then also say you do not have it.

  5. And by the way, your English could use some improvement. It's pretty hard to understand what you are saying in quite a few parts.

  6. That does not answer my questions but I think I have understood what values you stand for.

    Thanks anyway for suggestions and enlightenment.


Your viewpoint will definitely give it wider perspective


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thanks for visiting .Soliciting your comments.

Website counter