Altruism vs. Reciprocity: Purity in Giving….

Posted: November 16, 2008 in Uncategorized


A mutual or cooperative interchange of favors or privileges

Reciprocity-A mutual or cooperative interchange of favors or privileges

Lately, I have become fascinated with the concept of altruism.  It is basically the concept of giving selflessly or without the expectation of receiving anything in return.  In my experience, it seems that most people are more inclined to embrace the concept of reciprocity, as it pertains to giving.  Reciprocity is basically the antithesis of altruism, and represents a situation in which something is given with the expectation that the favor will at some point be returned and the giver and receiver will ultimately switch roles.  The key idea in the comparison and analysis of the two concepts is the motivation behind the giving.  It begs the question, should we give only because we know that at some point we stand to receive? Or, should we give because it is the right thing to do and because it contributes to the overall greater good of humanity? 
Based upon my research, there seems to be doubt among some in the scientific community that altruism really exists.  The doubt is rooted in the idea that even when giving without the expectation of receiving something tangible in return, there is joy that the giver receives as a by-product of the act, which makes it a reciprocal situation that makes the act not completely selfless.  It is at this point that I will state my opinion.  I personally think that altruism does indeed exist and its validity or purity, is not in any way nullified by the idea that a giving act, which is performed selflessly, may yield joy or any of a number of positive sensations for the giver.  Allow me to state my case.
As a true and living God who lives 120, I will naturally look to the lessons to substantiate my position.  The understanding god degree in the 1-40 states that “Allah is the God of the heavens and the Earth. He is just and true and there is no unrighteousness in him….”  This concept of righteousness is a recurring theme throughout 120.  Allah self civilized people we teach uncivilized people civilization, righteousness, the knowledge of self, and the science of everything in life, love, peace, and hapiness.  We do this not because we seek a reward, but because the knowledge build degree states that this is our duty.  Just because one reaps a reward for doing what is right, or righteous, that does not mean that said reward was the motivation behind the act.  To take the idea of acting righteously a step further, let’s consider the number five or power or refinement in our supreme mathematics.  It is not a coincidence that the Nation of Gods and Earths are also referrred to as 5 percenters.  The knowledge equality degree states that this makes us “the poor righteous teachers.” That quantitative value’s (5) qualititative counterpart is a right and exact label for us because the knowledge that we posess and impart to others is so powerful as a force that can effect change for the greater good, and it simultaneously promotes constant elevation, in the form of refinement.  In a sense, it is a gift that keeps on giving.
The above equation is one that was manifested by the biologist, William D.Hamilton.  Hamilton expanded on Charles Darwin’s theory that altruistic behavior may represent a genetic predisposition that acts to promote the survival of a given species.  It considers the relationship between the subjects and suggests that an altruistic gene may be passed down from generation to generation if the benefit reaped by the recipient of the altruistic act outweighs the cost paid by the altruist.  For master equal, the validity of the equation lies in the idea that as humans, we are all related and because we are born with certain behavioral predispositions based on heredity, if altruism is a dominant behavioral trait within our genetic history, then it is very much plausible to think that we may be altruistic because others in our families, who came before us were as well, thereby setting a precedent.
I see altruism as a form of pure giving that has not been “diluted, mixed, or tampered with in any form” (9/1-14).  It is a concept that can promote humility among human beings all over the world if it were advocated systematically within various realms of social interaction.  When we give with the expectation of being repaid, said expectation can become a “sword” that we hold over the head of the recipient of said act to make them feel like they owe us something.  It’s not that reciprocity is wrong or unrighteous, born u truth it has it’s place as does altruism.  When the expectation of repayment is absent, it is easier for the recipient to perceive the act as one performed out of genuine love and concern and such an expression can be tremendously impactful for those who don’t feel said sentiments on a regular basis.
  1. Maternal says:

    I see the end result being “balance”. This is an extremely timely blog. I dealt with a situation earlier this year in which I was “altruistic” in my dealings with a company and yes, I found myself “expecting greater results” only to be let down, so balance is important. I saw my end result in the situation as I did my “duty” regardless so I have no regrets to this day, but I did leave with a lesson learned.


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