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

Dan Henry (
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 22:30:19 +0600

At 08:10 PM 4/22/97 CT, Corey A. Cook wrote:
>Dan H. wrote:
>>I think the word "altruism" is just fine, and we all
>>understand what we mean.
>I'm sorry, but I must protest that this description of
>Reality is incorrect. If we all understood what we mean
>when we say 'altruism', why are we having a week long
>arguement over it's definition?

We are a group of people who love ideas. We'd pile 'em on the bed and roll
around in 'em, if we could. I'd bet that the personal library of an average
member of this group has ten times the volumes of the average person in the
general population (with a corresponding improvement in quality). We love
to discuss things endlessly (there's no sense beating a dead horse - except
for the pure pleasure of it).

So I don't equate the duration/activity of a given thread with progress or
success in developing group concensus.

I've seen lots of discussions on this list, but I don't think I've seen
anyone change any of his fundamental assumptions. Yes, we all learn things
as part of our arguments. We develop transitory allegiences, and we hear
new ways to support old assumptions.

Most of all, this list forces us to think through our defenses.

My point was this: we are all convinced of our individual correctness. I
know what someone means when he says, "Mother Teresa is altruistic." And I
think the members of this list know what I mean when I say, "Mother Teresa
is selfish." We know each other's defenses on this topic.

Guess I just got tired of the thread.