Apologies for repeating a boringly ongoing theme of psychology, but:
Altruism is an Illusion is my new page, the conclusion reads:
Biologists, sociologists, philosophers and above all, psychologists, have held to the "universal egoism" theory: that all apparent altruism is really selfishness in disguise. Most arguments for altruism are based on ignorance of the underlying reasons for behaving good towards others or are purely semantic in nature, not logical.
People behave altruistically for a number of selfish reasons. We are programmed genetically to behave in a way conducive to the sociability of the species: This unconscious species-instinct is the closest thing we have to true sellfless altruism. In nearly every other conscious sense, altruism is an illusion. We behave well because social good behaviour fires off pleasent neurochemicals in our brains (the pleasure reward), because consciously or unconsciously we want others to see us as a good person (the social reward) or to feel good about ourselves (for pride and self-esteem). All of these selfish reasons surpass the reason that the innocent think is behind their actions: The choice to selflessly help others. Altruism is image and illusion.
Altruism is an Illusion
January 14th, 2006