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

Martz (
Sat, 26 Apr 1997 08:38:42 +0100

On Fri, 25 Apr 1997, Tim Rhodes <> wrote:

>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".

This is exactly the sort of thing I mean. You act to improve your SofWB
- a selfish motive. It so happens that you see your SofWB as being
linked to that of the people around you (and this connection can be
shown to have some basis in reality so I'm right with you on that) so
everyone benefits. Personally I don't see any need to kid myself that
I'm acting altruistically to validate those kind of actions. Indeed, I'd
be prepared to argue that such self-deception is counter-productive in
the long term.

>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. :-)

But there *is* observable cause-and-effect. When you do x you feel
better. Therefore you do x.


For my public key, <> with 'Send public key' as subject an automated reply will follow.

No more random quotes.