Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  .This section is about altruism and egoism.  Topics include:  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  (1) Egoism: go for self.  (A) Without hurting others vs. (B) At any cost (murder).  (2) Altruism: go for others.  (A) Without hurting self vs. (B) Giving up your life (murder).  ---  05/20/1994

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  (1) Living for others.  If you can love one other person you are ok.  If she died you could find another.  And that other person is out there right now.  If you found them now you could love them too.  And there are others besides her that you could love.  Therefore, everyone is your baby.  You owe it to them, and to the world to keep trying.  (2) Living for some but not others.  Selective altruism.  You have to live for the world.  If you live for yourself or a few others you die.  If everyone tried to save the world, instead of themselves, we could save the world.  (3) Living for self.  Best way to help others is to take care of yourself.  But maybe altruism makes me feel good and I thrive on being altruistic.  ---  12/30/1996

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  (1) People argue over whether to help themselves or help others.  Most people do not help themselves or others, and they also ignore the environment.  (2) Most people waste most of their free time watching TV, having fun, working inefficiently, instead of thinking of new and useful ideas and pursuing them.  (3) They should be helping themselves get healthy (psychologically and physically) and smart, and helping others get healthy and get smart, and helping the environment.  ---  1/25/1998

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  (1) Some people think "I can hurt people.  (A) People who cross my path, if a good opportunity arises.  (B) Going out and looking for opportunities to hurt people".  (2) Some people think "As long as I don't hurt anyone, I can do whatever I want.  Including (A) Sitting on my lazy ass doing nothing.  (B) Helping only myself through work".  (3) Some people think "If I see someone in trouble (small trouble, or big life threatening trouble), and if I can help them with a word or a buck, I should help them.  I am obliged to help them".  (4) For example.  When I told the motorcyclist his lock was still on his back wheel when he was about to ride away.  A person can fall, break an leg, lose a job, lose a girlfriend, lose their mind.  Or when I told that girl her dress was falling apart.  She could have lost a job interview.  (5) Some people think that in life we have the opportunity available to help people.  Life is an opportunity to help.  If we ignore or waste that opportunity, we do wrong.  In fact, we should go out and look for opportunities to help people, instead of just helping those who need help who run across our path.  (6) So this is why we should help others: because we have the opportunity to.  And if you waste the opportunity, you feel bad.  If a safe was falling on someone's head, you would yell "watch out", and if you didn't you would feel bad, and you would be responsible for their death.  You would have killed them.  (7) Often, helping someone is no skin off our back.  That is, we can help them easily.  (8) Often we can do the most help just by talking.  Sharing what we know about life.  But surprisingly, few do this well.  (9) Four variables.  1a. Opportunity crossed my path vs. 1b. seeking opportunity.  2a. No skin of my back vs. 2b. give substantial amount of resources (time, money).  Four combinations possible: 1a 2a.  1a 2b.  1b 2a.  1b 2b.  (10) We have a duty to help others because we have an opportunity to help others.  And if you have the opportunity to help others and you don't, not only are you a bastard, but you are doing something bad to someone as well.  If you don't grab the hand of a drowning man, or warn someone of a falling safe, you are doing bad.  (11) We have the duty to do good because we have the ability to do good, and there exists an opportunity to do good (improve an imperfect world).  ---  08/30/1996

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  (1) The argument for egoism is that it is better to help yourself than others.  (2) The argument against egoism is that you can be reading a book on a river bank when a drowning person floats by and all you have to do is stick out your hand to save a life.  That is, you can do much good for others with little effort.  (3) Another argument against egoism is that no man is an island (separate).  We interact unavoidably.  We help or hurt each other.  We are together in peace or war.  The man on the other side of the world is as much your kin as yourself, your family (nuclear), clan (relatives), or country men (nation).  ---  06/05/1997

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Altruism vs. egoism.  How much should I help another if I am busy helping myself?  Sometimes one only needs to say a word.  Sometimes that word said will increase the competition and make it harder for one to live.  Sometimes that word said will not increase the competition because they are so far behind.  Sometimes that word said will make the world an easier place to live in, for example, if it ends up deterring your future murderer.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  An argument against egoism (conservatism).  I believe we should concentrate on solving problems in life.  If you are an egoist, and have few problems (feeling no pain), then there is little impetus to think.  This leads to stupidity.  The altruist is drawn to work on solving the problems of mankind.  ---  06/10/1997

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Conservatives who favor an unbridled free market and unrestrained competition often say that the beauty of this view is that some people win, some people lose, but everyone tries their best.  They equate life to a game, and say the key is to play the game well.  However, life is not a game.  We are not talking about people winning and losing in a game.  We are talking about people living and dying.  When people say that they want others to lose, the real result is that others die.  When people say that they want to win by beating others, the real result is that they kill others.  ---  12/10/1999

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Egoism is sometimes motivated by the mistaken belief that if everyone looks out for themselves first, or only, then things will automatically take care of themselves and things will all work out for the best.  Egoism is wrong.  ---  9/18/2005

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Egoism, that is, living with the goal of saving one person (myself), is not enough to put up with all life's bullshit.  I need to believe that I will help millions of people.  ---  5/30/1998

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Egoism: "Just take care of yourself" is a view that is a conservative philosophy.  Egoism holds that there is "No need to worry about anything else other than myself because they (others) are taking care of it", whether "they" be the government, big business, journalists, scientist, academics, etc.  This is a children's point of view, "Let daddy handle it".  ---  9/15/1998

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  If your survival drive is very strong, you will be an egoist (conservative), and spend all your time making money and having kids.  If your survival drive is not so strong, you will be an altruist (democrat), and will dabble in philosophy and art.  ---  07/18/1997

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  It is not just good to help others, it is vital.  Helping others helps yourself.  It makes you feel good, it makes you feel noble and dignified, and it gives your life meaning and purpose.  Without worthy goals we lose hope easily, and descend into seductive yet self destructive activities.  ---  10/30/1996

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  People should help each other, not just themselves or their family or fellow countrymen.  The rich should help the poor.  The smart should help the stupid.  The strong should help the weak.  The sane should help the crazy.  ---  06/10/1997

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  Some people argue that no one does anything 100% altruistically because there is always some degree of egoism in any altruistic act.  Helping others feels good.  I say there is a case that provides a counter-argument.  Consider a person with the all the following attributes: (1) A person who is not employed in a field where their job is to save other lives.  (2) A person who is not religious, and does not believe they will be rewarded in an afterlife for doing good.  (3) A person who loves life and is not looking to die.  (4) If a person with all three of the above attributes gives up their life for another person then that is true altruism because the person who does so is getting nothing in return.  ---  5/2/2002

Philosophy, ethics, altruism and egoism.  ---  The altruism vs. egoism debate is often framed so as to make you think that you have to pick one or the other.  Such is not the case.  Actually it is a spectrum that runs between the polar extremes of egoism and altruism.  Both extremes are bad, and the good is to find a balance in the middle.  That the extremes are bad can be shown by the following examples.  Extreme egoism: The extreme egoist looks at the problems of the world and says, "Tough luck.  I don't care".  Extreme egoists are viewed as selfish and uncaring.  Extreme altruism: The extreme altruist is viewed as a martyr.  They try to solve al the worlds problems themselves and end up killing themselves.  What is the happy medium?  In general I say it is better to be productive (work, and solve problems) than to waste time.  (1) Once you solve your own problems and your family's problems, then you should help solve others problems.  (2) The outcome of work is often money.  How much money do you need?  How much money can you spend?  Give your money to help others.  ---  9/7/1999

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.