Saturday, January 27, 2007

Altruism

You know this is actually an interesting subject!

You are probably wondering what am I talking about?

Yes, its the word called altruism from an evolutionary perspective.

But what is the connection? How will this add up?

I began wondering about patriotism. To me patriotism is the act of sacrificing life for the welfare of the nation or a group. This idea of patriotism is usually linked to human beings. Because you can cite numerous examples of people actually sacrificing their life for their country or nation. But this is also quite true in the animal kingdom too. Imagine a pack of wolves defending their territory from a bear that has strayed into their LoC. [Line of control] ;)

But then the very idea of patriotism is against the laws of survival. Evey individual is prompted to live and increase its chances of survival. This is something selfish but it is vital. This notion is hinted in the phrase survival of the fittest. Because its those who compete and succeed thats wins the race. But how does this idea support the phenomenon of patriotism?

The answer is altruism.

First of all you should differentiate the use of words patriotism and altruism. Patriotism is almost always commonly used by man in the context of politics. Therefore I believe it will confuse some people. To avoid this ambiguity I chose to use a more scientifically sounding word - altruism.

Even my understanding of this concept is incomplete. It seems there were a lot of revisions into the idea. People have used statistics to come up with proofs that are vincible. I have not quite followed that trail of thought. In fact I popped a question relating to this at Yahoo answers and received links to web pages that dealt with this subject.

However, to begin with, it is an idea better understood from a 'gene expansion' standpoint, rather than from an individual's survival standpoint. It is the gene that is trying to favour its selection by maximizing its trait. This is what I understand of it at present. However if you are interested in research check out the following links:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological/
my yahoo answers question
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