Altruism is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.
Altruism can be distinguished from feelings of duty and loyalty. Altruism is a motivation to provide something of value to a party who must be anyone but oneself, while duty focuses on a moral obligation towards a specific individual (e.g., a god, a king), or collective (e.g., a government). Pure altruism consists of sacrificing something for someone other than the self (e.g. sacrificing time, energy or possessions) with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect (e.g., receiving recognition for the act of giving).
Much debate exists as to whether true altruism is possible. Some] argue that no act of sharing, helping or sacrificing can be described as truly altruistic, as the actor may receive an intrinsic reward in the form of personal gratification. The validity of this argument depends on whether intrinsic rewards qualify as 'benefits'.
The term altruism may also refer to an ethical doctrine that claims that individuals are morally obliged to benefit others. Used in this sense, it usually contrasted to egoism, which is defined as acting to the benefit of one self.
And on that note, the cover story of the New York Times gives a fairly accurate portrait of what it means to give and to receive. No city other than San Francisco frankly demonstrates the definition of income inequity better than New York City, even the Mayor is a Billionaire who does little to demonstrate empathy or compassion the two most traits needed during a time of crisis. A man reliant on facts, figures and order a good Billionaire make, but a Politician no. We like them a little more than "just the facts ma'am" when the proverbial shit hits the fan. The same traits that I find appalling in the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, during normal business hours are actually the same ones that during this storm, literally and figuratively, are useful. Calling people stupid before the storm - bad; running around in a fleece coat and putting aside differences to work with as opposed to against the President - good. Who knew?
And now we have the volunteer brigade. Well meaning with intent to help - good, but taking IPhone pictures for your Facebook - bad. Its just that the guilt and shame of the Riches need to be dusted and brought out and we the Poors due our duty and be grateful and thankful. Thanks, I think? But hey I am still waiting for my gift bag from President Obama. When will that get here?
I am pleased to see the kids of Occupy back and doing what they do best - helping others. They may not be the best messengers or have a well organized plan but they do know how to care and its on full demonstration of a new kind right now. Another lesson they are teaching by doing.
I wonder if any of the same people so busy passing out soap and clothing would ever sit down and have a coffee or beer with the same people? No and would those same recipients do the same? No. As I have said we have a much bigger divide than race its economic and class. We have an inter war that has been as devastating. Divide and conquer should be the new motto of our times. We do little to even acknowledge our neighbors immediately adjacent but those whose lives are inherently different we don't at all. That is the real price of income inequity.
HELPING HANDS ALSO EXPOSE A NEW YORK DIVIDE
by Sarah Maslin Nir
Published November 17, 2012
After more than a week of self-sufficiency, George Ossy, an immigrant from Africa living amid the chaos of the Rockaways, with his 10-year-old daughter in tow, walked into the relief center down the street, one of several set up by the volunteers who had descended on the storm-battered peninsula in Queens