RE: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Priso ner'sDillema

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 15:07:27 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, Wright, James 7929 wrote:

> IMHO: This seems to me to be an inherent contradiction. It is in MY
> self-interest to grab all I can, wherever I can, whenever I can.
> Cooperation arises when I see that the results of cooperation are
> SUPERIOR to self-interest, so that ultimately self-interest is seen as a
> disadvantage to personal fulfillment in a social group.

I think my views are similar, although I cloak them in different robes.

I consider my `state of wellbeing' (SofWB) to be a byproduct of the
interaction between myself and my environment. So it is possible to
improve my SofWB by improving my personal state or by improving the
environment in which I am a part. So called "selfish" actions improve
only my SofWB. So called "altruistic" actions attempt to improve my SofWB
by raising the SofWB in those around me. Both stem from a degree of
self-interest, but the second needs not be seen as entirely "selfish".

Personally, I go with improvements in the general SofWB if given the
choice, despite it's lack of traceable cause-and-effect. That's just my
nature. :-)

-Prof. Tim