Michael J. Rosen wrote:
> There was a long story on a regional NPR affiliate a couple of days ago
> about the rash of new Positive Psychology courses at US colleges. I
> confess I went back to the jazz CD I had been listening to because the
> story was kind of fluffy and unsatisfying.
No argument from me: marketing a concept for widespread consumption has
its inherent dangers.
Out of curiosity, I just took a look at the Wikipedia entry for
"altruism", and found all sorts of interesting information and points of
view - much more than I realized.
Topics include ethics, philosophy, biology (e.g., slime molds),
psychology, sociology, religion, ...
Here's a particularly provocative section of the entry:
"Philosophers who support egoism have argued that altruism is demeaning
to the individual and that no moral obligation to help others actually
exists. Nietzsche asserts that altruism is predicated on the assumption
that others are more important than one's self and that such a position
is degrading and demeaning. He also claims that it was very uncommon for
people in Europe to consider the sacrifice of one's own interests for
others as virtuous until after the advent of Christianity. Ayn Rand
argued that altruism is the willful sacrifice of one's values, and
represents the reversal of morality because only rationally selfish
ethics allow one to pursue the values required for human life."
Nice brain food!!