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Altruism And Egoism: Quintessential Indicators Of The Bicameral Nature Of The Human Mind (Research Paper Sample)



University Name Altruism Author 9 October 2018 Professor’s name Psychology To understand, with appreciation, whether people can selflessly care about others or not, one cannot ignore the verity that human beings are fundamentally social entities that derive their identity from nature or nurturing of specific behaviours (Gibbs 2014). Human action is a reflex of preformed opinions, actioned based on a prevailing circumstance. For instance, the human mind will decipher the action course of an individual based on data logged at the memory of their brain. Therefore, altruism and egoism exist as quintessential indicators of the bicameral nature of the human mind. The paper argues that altruism bears as much force as egoism when attempting to define “the help” people g to others, especially in the context of prosocial behaviour. Consequently, the two (altruism and egoism) cannot exist in isolation for a perfectly rational individual. If an individual were to exist in a social construct with pure altruistic or egocentric characteristics, then such persons would inevitably experience a personality imbalance. Firstly, social psychology plays a crucial role in determining whether an individual will accord assistance to others. Darley and Latané examined the different roles social psychology influences altruistic and egocentric behavioural patterns. They posited that the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility were crucial for an individual that decided to offer assistance (Manning & Levine 2013). The bystander effect advances that help is inversely proportional to the number of people present during the occurrence of a particular circumstance. The diffusion of responsibility is an assertion that as a congregation increases the blame and inherent need to offers assistance shifts to other people. Despite the approaches Darley and Latané offer, it is evident that the action to offer assistance will remain correlated to social psychology. Subsequently, social psychology is intrinsic to the constructs developed by the human brain either through nature or nurturing based on empiricism. The fact that an individual will contemplate an action based on the bystander effect or the diffusion of responsibility is, in itself, evidence of the contrary manoeuvre. If the person can acquire the thought to assist others but hesitate because of the presence of people; it is an indication that they may as well choose not to assist the bystander effect. Such a deduction builds on the position that altruism and egoism exist in equal, but opposite dimensions, whose balance defines the very personality of human beings (Köhn et al. 1999). Secondly, the collective organization and characteristic patterns of human beings always form the ultimate nature of the prosocial behaviour. Subsequently, prosocial behaviour cannot exist in a moral vacuum devoid of people. Darley and Latané reiterated that prosocial behaviour could only be towards a person and not an organization (Manning & Levine 2013). Note that, people as social entities approve or subscribe to certain ideologies defined by culture, religion or nativism. However, the standard denominator is the verity that a conglomeration of such ideas often defines the social construct of a people. For instance, people in the Arab world would have social behaviours guided by religion and Islamic culture. Their behaviour would be different with those living in Northern Ireland, where social behaviour would find commonality in acceptable laws of governance and native western culture. Ideally, the different ethnographic factors will dictate the social constructs of an individual. It is through such social constructs that norms and morally accepted actions of assistance gain meaning and definition. However, the human brain will prompt an instinctive action to help based on the social constructs. For instance, consider a man next to a woman drinking some water, and he is choked. A simple pat on the back delivered by the woman would ease the person’s situation. The man is likely to receive the pat in western cultured environments as opposed to the person in the Arabic literary society. Reason being that a woman cannot meet a man unless through recognized matrimony. The motivating factor for help in such a situation is the prosocial behaviour, which is different for both cases because of the cultural mainstream norms that define actions morally accepted. Perhaps, it would suffice to question whether the woman in the liberal Arabic society was wrong not to assist the man, knowing very well that the bystanders would immediately reprimand her based on societal values. Thirdly, the motivation to offer assistance draws from the individualities nature of people. he proponents of evolution theory peg their assumption and general findings of fitness survival based on individualistic nature of people. Individualism promotes egocentric behavioural patterns, but only to a modest extent, lest the society brands the individual as being selfish. Darley and Latané are of the contrary opinion that individualism does not correlate with altruism. However, the individual personality characters will vary based on the levels with which a person weights a social norm. For instance, consider the case of Sam Carvalho who offered advice to young people going through social and psychosomatic problems (Manning & Levine 2013). To the conservative, individualistic person such action is modest and humbling, but to the radical individualistic person such an action would receive criticism and question the basis of his understanding of society and psychology. While it is possible to argue that Sam ventured in a selfless endeavour, he did receive recognition for his action. The question is not whether he anticipated the recognition, but on what societal values prompted people to award him. It boils down to people caring less about the basis of the people, but rather on the action itself. The society upholds Sam’s action because it assists other people but immediately becomes oblivious of the assistance Sam receives in creating such a website. If not for anything, his virtues and character traits improve every time the website assists a young person. At the very least, he has to live up to his website. Thus, despite material benefits, the website has immeasurable benefits to Sam. In addition to the motivation for assistance, nativism and empiricism will influence the need to help others, but from a balance of altruism and egoism. Paul Ibbotson posits that people possess certain behaviours based on the nature of their surrounding, before gaining experience (Paul Ibbotson 2013). He offers the example of the fish that comes to life with gills because it expects to live in water. Hamilton postulated an inclusive fitness theory, which advances that those with increased genetic relation to each other accord assistance to themselves as a survival means. He viewed altruism based on behavioural effect, which inherently draws from an innate human desire to balance between altruism and egocentrism. For instance, the cost and benefit analysis will derive a particular behaviour based on the benefits outweighing the cost of an action. An action guided by benefit outweighing action cost fits into the definition of egocentrism as it alludes more to the beneficial nature of human beings. However, such action is weighted on its cost and benefit based on a native or empirical measure. Nativism alludes to situations existing ab initio rather than those gained through experience, learning, and imitation. The very argument of this paper draws from a nativist perception that there exists a correlation of care between an individual and others. ...
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  • Altruism And Egoism: Quintessential Indicators Of The Bicameral Nature Of The Human Mind
    Description: The paper argues that altruism bears as much force as egoism when attempting to define “the help” people to others, especially in the context of prosocial behaviour. Consequently, the two (altruism and egoism) cannot exist in isolation for a perfectly rational individual....
    6 pages/≈1650 words| 5 Sources | Chicago | Psychology | Research Paper |
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