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

Wright, James 7929 (
Tue, 22 Apr 97 09:08:00 EDT

Tom wrote:
>>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
>>are sinful and therefore suspect in motive on all occasions?"<<[JW]
>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
>It's a compliment (as much as one can be complimented for something one
>can't help doing). [DH]

>lowest morally (sin) or lowest on the causal ladder (e.g. I stretched my
>leg muscles because I wanted to climb into bed because I want to go to
>sleep because I have a final tommorrow because I want good grades
because I
>want a job because I want money because I want to be able to survive in
>modern world we live in because I don't want do die. That's why my leg
>muscles contracted.)<

I would not introduce morality into the discussion; I would contend it is
the lowest FUNCTIONALLY (see comments re:competition vs. cooperation in
another post). Yes, TODAY'S results might be favorable from a competitive
approach, but longer-term results might be superior from a cooperative
approach; this is where I would rate self-sacrifice ahead of selfishness.
Fighting another for control of a seasonal watering-hole might assure
survival for your group today; cooperating with another group to dig a
permanent well might assure long-term survival for both groups.