atruism makes happier marriages?

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On the radio they just said a University of Chicago study says that couples who practice altruism and empathy have happier marriages so I looked it up. Rand must be rolling over in her grave, especially with the trends towards more, not less altruism.

It's fine to put your significant other and your family up on the top of your values list, but I would not extend that to the world at large. People who do are bass-ackwards. How can putting yourself at the bottom of the list make you a happier person? A spouse or child is one thing, but this promotes values that are definitely screwed up.

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Kat, this is a promising line of research!

When I was in college English class, I wrote an essay on altruism, how it would break down in practice if everyone tried to be altruists.

If it is more blessed to give than to receive, and if the good of others is more important than one's own good, then one should allow others to do the giving so that they will be more blessed than you. (Who are you to try to be more blessed than them!?) And if everyone followed this line of thinking, no one would give -- they'd all be sitting around waiting for the others to give to them, so that the others would be more blessed than them. :-)

But one-on-one, in a marriage, if you took turns, it just might work. For instance, in the bedroom: "OK, honey, you've had your fun being an altruist, allowing me to give you pleasure, so that I would be more blessed than you. Now, it's my turn to be the altruist. It's your turn to give me pleasure, so that you can be more blessed than me." heh-heh


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Roger, now really!

That's not altruism.

It's a simple handshake business transaction involving standard value-for-value exchange of goods (well, let's not get gross) but in this case more of services.

All it is is that the buyer has negotiated, shall we say "net 30 minutes" terms, repayment to follow in the form of whatever (since no cash is involved, hopefully, we're talking about organized barter, which is perfectly acceptable).

Think of it as a delayed billing sequence, to accomodate the respective business models of both entities, not to mention being a customized solution speaking to, er, manufacturing flow.

Now that I'm done cementing my tongue into my cheek...

Altruism, for one thing, is overrated, almost as much as physical reality is. I've been in a lot of places and I have never really run into that many truly practicing altruists. Altruism is mostly lip-service. It's damn near a straw man, in my eyes. The altruism that Ayn Rand was talking about had historical origins, based mostly in political ideology. More there than in religion, I think.

Were and are there religious altruists? Sure. They are mostly dumbasses.

Political altruists are more serious and deadly. The real ones. Most people that espouse altruism are not real altruists, they are con artists; they have an agenda that is easily satisfied by pulling heart strings. In the wild, it is generally found as pseudo-altruism, specifically: dedicated sheep-shearing action.

In families, you'd have to be a total loser to really march out real altruism. Granted, that's one place where it's probably the most popularly rolled out. I"ve seen whole families of altruists. I find that where you have one or two parents that have the "amiable" personality type, if you're familiar with that type of personality analysis. I tend to view it as more of an innate defense mechanism when you see it there. You aren't likely to see much altruism where mom and dad are both strong driver types.

The real altruists I've seen in those situations are very destructive to the family, because included in the altruism (or maybe it is just the heart of the matter) is a lack of accountability. Things just "happen" to them.


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