So, after further thought, altruism is less a good than a basic tenet of human survival. I'm fairly certain I've written on this before, but I'm going ahead with this next bit anyway. If communities are to survive, the members need to have reasonable expectations of how they will treat one another. Altruism is the answer to this. Treat others kindly and they will do the same in return. In some small way, we can control others in that way.
The point of this, besides reducing altruism in my eyes, is to point out the pre-eminence of the community. If the Golden Rule is what communities are built on, they have to be one of the most important elements of civilization. Why? Because humans cannot exist on their own. Even before all of the tending one needs as an infant, a man and a woman need to have sex to produce them. As trained adults, I guess humans can survive wholly on their own, given the right location. Still, they're merely surviving at that point. Animals survive, humans can be more. Now I just need to figure out what humans should be reaching for.
3 years ago