RE: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Priso

Dan Henry (
Mon, 21 Apr 1997 18:00:55 +0600

At 11:35 PM 4/19/97 CT, Corey A. Cook wrote:

> Are you saying that /everything/ that is labeled altruistic is
>actually something else?
> Does that mean that there is no such thing as the defined version
>of altruism?
> Does that mean that a new version of altruism or a new word,
>which means altruism but takes into account our inherently
>selfish nature will need to be coined?
> How will we go about propogating this new definition or word?
> Will the mass propogation of this new word have any effects
>on our culture?
> Will they be benificial or harmful?

I think Mark Hornberg answered this very well. I'll only add that there are
many words and phrases that people use regularly for which there is no
correspondence in reality:

unconditional love

There are even words and phrases that in reality are the opposite of what
the users/defenders claim ("war on drugs").

As for a new word that means altruism but takes into account our inherently
selfish nature, I think we have one. You may think this is flip, but I
don't mean it to be. The word is "self-interest."