22 Rising above altruism

On one level, the word altruism is the empty set.  It has a definition but contains no elements.  Why no substance?  Psychological hedonism teaches that selfless concern for others gives satisfaction, which is a selfish reward.  (Nothing is completely selfless.)  To avoid circular reasoning, let us rephrase the question.  We ask merely whether an action is beneficial.  There is no need to isolate a beneficiary or to define “selfish” by distinguishing self from others. Self-oriented passages of the Old Testament are isolationist and genocidal, separating “us” from “them” (the group level of “self” and “non-self”).  On the other hand, some …

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20 What is the big picture?

Relax!  Today’s article links you to your world without requiring you to save that world.  Humans enjoy context (the big picture, your world).  This is comforting if you agree with Friday’s message that the world is beautiful.  Now we consider how that helps. When we see ourselves in the bigger picture of reality, that affects three areas of our personhood: Perspective gives meaning to our lives; we feel purpose in our being. We appreciate relationships to our environment and to other people. We draw succor from not being alone. Life includes a feedback loop.  In lay terms, that means that …

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