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

Dan Henry (
Mon, 21 Apr 1997 20:54:35 +0600

At 08:16 AM 4/21/97 EDT, Wright, James 7929 wrote:

I appologize for joining the discussion late, and trying to grab too many
threads at once. Tends to make for garbled messages.

[was that appology altruistic or self-serving? .... I leave it to the reader!]

>You personally may display altruistic behavior or not, as you choose; do
>you dispute that any altruistic acts exist?

Yes I do; but after having read sooo many posts on this subject, it appears
that we all have our own views. I haven't noticed any memes gaining
strength. When you say "altruistic," I translate to: "altruistic on the
surface, but self-serving underneath." You, it seems, tend to bristle at my
assumption about underlying motives. Fair enough.

>If intent of the act is part of
>altruism, then must the lowest possible intent always be ascribed to a
>given act? Or is this one of the background meta-memes at work, "All men
>are sinful and therefore suspect in motive on all occasions?"

Wait just a minute. Could be some insight here. Why do you assume that
self-interest is the "lowest possible intent," compared to true
self-sacrifice? I feel that self-interest is the highest possible intent.
It's a compliment (as much as one can be complimented for something one
can't help doing).

I think the word "altruism" is just fine, and we all understand what we mean.