/ Helping Charities For Self-Gratification

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Jackwd - on 02 Nov 2012
Watching BBC Breakfast has got me thinking there was a lady who claimed giving money to a charity gave her a purpose to her life, and something to focus on. Is this right? Is it self-gratuitous or is it okay because you're helping other people as well. On a slight tangent from that, I was having a discussion with a friend in the pub with his girlfriend there, and we were saying how in a relationship the reason you keep trying and developing a relationship is so, at the end of the day, it makes you feel good, that the fact that you make someone else feel good and that makes you feel good is just an extension of this.

I just thought it was an interesting point to put before people, I'm not looking for a definitive answer more of a discussion.

PS: sorry for spelling mistakes this has been written on an IPad :@
ThunderCat - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:

Does altruism actually exist then?
Jackwd - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ThunderCat: didn't know altruism existed, but I suppose that's why I'm asking yes...
Trangia - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:

After a session of touching up under age kids giving something to charity must leave you feeling well balanced.
Milesy - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:
> (In reply to ThunderCat) didn't know altruism existed, but I suppose that's why I'm asking yes...

By telling people that she gives to charity on national TV she has negated the altruism. There is never such a thing as true altruism.
thin bob on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:
Sometimes you give money or time because it's just 'the right thing to do' almost with no thought. e.g. a collection tin on a counter for spare change.
Othertimes, you do it beacause it's part of an event or appeal (children in need, liveaid).

I've done voluntary work for a long time and some of it was a pain in the @rse, but it needed to be done. Other stuff has been fun, other has made me feel 'part of the larger human race' and thus feel better. I also have skills that i didn't have before.

Some people do seem to do it for the 'bragging rights', which jars somewhat...but hey, it doesn't really matter why you do it...just do it!
thin bob on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Jackwd)
> [...]
>
> By telling people that she gives to charity on national TV she has negated the altruism. There is never such a thing as true altruism.

I think there *is* such a thing as altruism...but sometimes you find out afterwards that you get something back as well (pride, tax break, publicity, blisters... ;-) )
Dom Brown - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd: I can't see any reason it can't be mutually bennficial, I'm adult staff in a cadet organisation which is a charity. the organisation will pay for development of it's adult staff with qualifications that transfer into the real world as well IE I've been asked if I'd like to do my ML through the organisation, by me having that it means we can take cadets into the hills more easily, which may become a hobby for them for the rest of their lives as it did for me.

everybody benefits from it. (except cadets that don't like mountains)
pebbles - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Milesy: how do you know? by your definition you only know about the people who have gone public! if they just contribute quietly without telling anyone you wont know, will you.
EeeByGum - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles: I read an interesting thing in one of those "Self help" style books that I really liked and do quite regularly. The tip was "Do something nice for someone and then don't tell anyone about it." Yes, you glow inwards and perhaps you want to cry out to everyone and say "Look at me. Look how nice I am" but withholding such information creates a lovely warm glow within. I don't really care if altruism exists or not, but people being nice to each other whether for self gratification or not is 100 times better than the opposite.
Milesy - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Milesy) how do you know? by your definition you only know about the people who have gone public! if they just contribute quietly without telling anyone you wont know, will you.

The people who do it in private will still have selfish means, even if these are at a subconcious level.
jkarran - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Milesy:

> The people who do it in private will still have selfish means, even if these are at a subconcious level.

You'll have to explain that for me.
jk
Milesy - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to jkarran:

Explain what. It is quite self explanatory. I am saying there is no such thing as true altruism. Everyone has a motive for doing something, whether they are fully concious of the fact or not.
highclimber - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd: there are no selfless acts. full stop.
Trangia - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Jackwd) there are no selfless acts. full stop.

Even those done on the spur of the moment? Eg The woman in Cardiff who was run down and killed by the nutter in the van, who managed to shove her children out of the way before it hit them? Surely that was an instinctive selfless act?

pebbles - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Milesy: You have no possible means of knowing that, thats purely a statement of personal belief.
Robert Durran - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to highclimber)
>
> Even those done on the spur of the moment? Eg The woman in Cardiff who was run down and killed by the nutter in the van, who managed to shove her children out of the way before it hit them? Surely that was an instinctive selfless act?

An instinctive act preprogrammed through evolution by her selfish genes for their own self-preservation and propagation.

marsbar - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd: I think that whatever the reason there are still things that are done that benefit others. What I can't stand are people who are more of a nuisance than a help, the ones that volunteer so they can boast about it and it makes them look good, but when it cones down to it they are far too precious to clean the toilets or whatever it is that actually needs doing. The ones that only want to talk to clean, pleasant, sober homeless people.
pebbles - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: this is all becoming about as pointless an argument as the existence of a god. we've moved on from things which can be proved to assertions of personal belief.
Timmd on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: In the end it doesn't matter I think, why we do things for other people. It could be that we wouldn't do them at all if we didn't gain something from doing them?

ads.ukclimbing.com
dissonance - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:

depending on how cynical someone is pretty much every act of altruism can be written off as benefiting the person or benefiting people close to them.

I tend to separate them though into those acts where the benefit is clearly for the giver (say some of the dubious tax avoidance schemes) or not.
Likewise i would break down any charitable giving, from me, into actual giving vs items which benefit me (club memberships for example).
Robert Durran - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) this is all becoming about as pointless an argument as the existence of a god. we've moved on from things which can be proved to assertions of personal belief.

On the contrary, I was trying to put things on a more rational, scientific basis. There are perfectly good evolutionary explanations for altruism.

Timmd on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) this is all becoming about as pointless an argument as the existence of a god. we've moved on from things which can be proved to assertions of personal belief.

Not really, I think, all or most parents would sacrifice themselves for thier children, it's just a logical thing to do if you want your dna to continue after you die, or if your're just about to.

I used to have a problem with nothing seeming to be truly selfless untill I decided it's the end result which really matters rather than the motive, I think it's just something which is in our programming so that we survive as a species.

ThunderCat - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) this is all becoming about as pointless an argument as the existence of a god. we've moved on from things which can be proved to assertions of personal belief.

I don't think a philosphical discussion is always pointless is it?

Just because true altruism may not exist doesn't mean giving to charity is wrong. That's not what I was saying. Just idle musing, really.

I give to charity. I do things for charity. I don't get any real tangible benefit but I do feel better about myself and the world afterwards, which is maybe why I do it. No harm done really.

Timmd on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to ThunderCat:
> (In reply to pebbles)

> I give to charity. I do things for charity. I don't get any real tangible benefit but I do feel better about myself and the world afterwards, which is maybe why I do it. No harm done really.

Exunctly.
Milesy - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> An instinctive act preprogrammed through evolution by her selfish genes for their own self-preservation and propagation.

^^ this ^^
Timmd on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Milesy:That's what I ment to write or forgot to.
In reply to Jackwd: "Helping Charities For Self-Gratification"

A wank-a-thon?
Wonko The Sane - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Milesy) how do you know? by your definition you only know about the people who have gone public! if they just contribute quietly without telling anyone you wont know, will you.

Altruism is not about whether you tell anyone or not. Altruism is doing something without a payoff.

There is a school of thought that there is no true altruism because at the very least, the payoff is that you enhance your self image, even if no one else knows.

Personally, unless you decribe altruism as 'doing something for others with only the self satisfaction it brings' then I do not think it exists.


That isn't to say there is anything wrong with getting something back. It makes me happy to help someone out. What's wrong with that?
grumpyoldjanner - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:

Does it matter why you help a charity as long as you are helping? I do one or two nights a week working for a charity so that I can gain skills and experiences that I don't get working as a sales assistant in a shop in the hope it will help me find a better job in the future.

Greenbanks - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Jackwd:

Although a somewhat heavy read, if you wanted to look at this issue as it relates to politicians etc you should read Sowell's (1996) "The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy"


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