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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Wednesday, March 15

Genetic Selfishness and Altruism - Comments

Leo said...

I think it is a HUGE mistake to see selfishness as an opposite characteristic and as an innate one. I actually think that selfishness is more complex to learn than altruism. It is not easy to not care about others.

I must admit, I hadn't thought of this before. I've heard people suggest that it "feels good" to do something for someone else. I thought that this didn't necessarily hold with all people - that some people got no enjoyment out of doing "good" for others. I concluded that some people are conditioned or taught to feel good about doing something for someone else very early on.

I don't have any particularly good reason to think that people are innately selfish.

Leo also said...

If nobody inately has altruism, how is it possible that some people know it so they can teach it to others, where does the knowledge comes from?

Perhaps, originally, someone simply thought of it and tried it out. It brought good results (allowed them to survive) and other people copied the example.

Leo also said...

What decided what gives us pleasure and what doesn't? Can we really control what we feel about things? Can we make ourselves like food we don't like? Much more complex than that smart moral upright author makes it sound like, really. ;)

I think we can change how we feel about things. At least, I've had the experience of my feelings changing about things after my thoughts changed. Sometimes there's a lag between the thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the lag is years. Sometimes I've changed my feelings by exposing myself to particular experiences. I could be very timid and fearful about things as a child. I hated being afraid of things, so I would sometimes purposely expose myself to frightening things. Often, over time, I would stop being afraid of them or become less afraid of them.

I've definitely experienced liking a food that I didn't previously like. I don't know if that's the same as "making" myself like it. It seems that with many foods, I don't like them until I've tasted them a huge number of times. My expectations about them also "flavor" them. There are some foods that I don't think I could make myself like, but it's possible if I mixed them with foods I liked and got used to their flavor. I've become able to enjoy quite a lot more foods now than I used to. I've read that sometimes people's sense of taste becomes less sensitive over time. I also have come to find it more of a hassle to go to social events and not be able to eat, so motivation to have more flexibility (not have to leave events because I'm hungry and can't find food I can stand) could be part of the change. I'll stop this now, as I'm rambling...

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