The altruism It is a human attitude in which people act in favor of other peers without having the expectation of receiving something in return. It is understood, then, that altruism only stems from a love of neighbor that leads the individual to sacrifice for the benefit of the other. On many occasions, altruism is understood as the antonym of selfishness.
There are some important authors like Jean Jacques Rousseau who consider that the human being, in his state of nature, is an altruistic individual. Others, on the other hand, such as Thomas Hobbes or John Stuart Mill, in their studies considered the human being as a selfish animal. More recent studies, associated more with biology than with philosophy, affirm that altruism appears in men at 18 months of life.
Altruism in religion
One area in which the question of altruism has always been present is the religion, in particular in the religions alive today that are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. All of them use the relationship between the human being and their God as the motive to act altruistically, that is, for the benefit of those who need it most.
The huge amount of sacrifices that the characters of religious stories carry out in favor of their peoples, are usually references for the attitude of the faithful. It is interesting to reflect, at this point, as despite the altruistic character of the different religions, in any case, numerous wars and conflicts existed and continue to do so in the name of God.
Another area where altruism appears is in the economy, but it does so only in alternative aspects to classical and neoclassical economics, which is the one present in most study manuals and policy recommendations.
Precisely the altruistic economy It comes to question the basic assumptions of classical economics, which assume an individual maximizing only his own benefit. The economy could be rethought, at the discretion of altruistic economists, considering a benefit given by the benefit of others.
Examples of altruism
- Charities are a form of manifestation of solidarity typical of our time. In order to promote them, governments often create incentives to participate in them, such as deducting taxes from those who donate. However, this goes against one of the basic principles of altruism, which is not to receive any benefits.
- In the Jewish religion, the question of altruism has an additional character, reinforcing the importance of not expecting anything in return: the most altruistic action is taken as that in which the one who does good does not know the one who receives it, and the one who receives it. receives also does not know who did it.
- When a person is lost in the street, or does not know the language, approaching to explain and help them is a small altruistic act.
- Many times families from countries with a good economic background adopt children who have some problem with their families or in their country of origin, in an altruistic attitude.
- Although it is a paid activity, there are many countries that do not recognize teachers and doctors in the way they deserve it, and their exhausting profession is more altruistic than for personal gain.
- Blood donation and organ donation is a highly altruistic action, to the extent that it seeks the good of others without expecting any reward in return.
- In the educational process there are many opportunities to be altruistic, for example helping classmates who do not understand the topics if one is able to understand them easily.
- In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of altruism. His action was to lay down his life for his brothers on earth, and then he allowed them to crucify him solely for their salvation.