RE: virus: Strange attractors and meta-religions (was God and

Wright, James 7929 (
Mon, 07 Apr 97 09:36:00 EDT

Mark Hornberger wrote:
>>mosquitoes. Those already infected would not be suitable subjects; it
>>HEALTHY volunteers he asked for, and received.<<
>I guess you have me there. But I'm quite the cynic, so even then I
>question the validity of their altruism. <
OK, they might have decided,"It'll get me now or it'll get me later, so I
might as well go down fighting!"
> We all have a particular worldview, and a set of principles which we
like to think >we live by. <
Many people have the first: I have met a few who had none of the second.
> I think people do what they want, even if it is self-sacrificing, to
>what they believe, in a sense, to make themselves feel better. Witness
>many people will obsess that they 'could've done *something*' after a
>crisis or whatnot, then go on later to find a niche in which they can
>others. This is a vague example, but I think you understand. Charity
>workers, or those who work with the disabled, do so from a personal need
>feel that they are doing some good. The end result is that others are
>helped (we hope lol) but I don't think that was how the process started
>out. Perhaps my reasoning is insignificant in that this activity would
>still be called altruistic, regardless of how the impulse started in the
>person's heart, but I've always felt people have their reasons for doing
>everything. That isn't bad per se, just (to me) a realistic
Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" may have long fingers! This seems a
reasonable point of view, although I would contend altruism can be more
prevalent than you would imagine.
I gave someone a "jump-start" yesterday for their discharged truck
battery. No money changed hands, I don't know their name; I might call it
altruism, you might call it disaffected self-interest; labels are less
important to me than the fact that it happens, hopefully more frequently
than you might imagine.
By the way, there is a practice in Buddhism that promotes such deeds,
done in total (if possible) ignorance of whom you are doing them for, and
needing also the total obliteration from your own memory (if possible),
to fulfill the requirement of not being "attached" to such a deed. By
publicizing it here, I have removed my deed from consideration in such a
class, but then perhaps I am moving beyond the need for attachment to
altruism! (VBG!)
>Ah, toasters are hard-wired, but I can supply you with examples of
>toasters. There will always be anomalies, but I think the impulse to
>for our young is definitely hard-wired in, and not a learned behavior
>se. The species wouldn't have persisted otherwise, methinks.<
Then the percentage of faulty wiring in the population is on the rise (or
maybe just better-publicized?) Consider S. Smith of S. Carolina, who
drowned her own children to win the affections of a man not their father
(allegedly); those who sell their children into slavery or factory-work
at a young age; and those admittedly few who abuse their own children for
their pleasure.
I would still contend that "care for your young" is a socialized
behavior, a meme that would not be prevalent were it not explicitly
necessary for societal and civilizational survival. Individuals would
survive and prosper whether or not they took care of their young; the
young, society and civilization would only survive if they were taken
care of. Please explain how you understand that this is hard-wired, I do
not so far agree.
Thanks again for another well-written post!

take care