Altruism, Religion, and Thermodynamics

Why do we help others? Many of us would seem motivated by reward, be it a reward in this life or a reward in the next. Religions promise reward for socially desirable behavior. I once heard a man proudly refer to prayer as “sending up bricks”, building his house in Heaven. Many of us would seem to help others out of the desire to feel good about ourselves: “If I help someone in need, this makes me a good person.” But, is it really selflessness if our motivation is to feel good about ourselves or find reward in another life? I believe both of these motivators are based on one incredible misunderstanding of our world. This division of flesh and skin is temporary. We are energy. We are not bad or good. I help you because we are parts of the same life-force that fills every living thing on this planet. If you want to call that “God”, that’s fine. If you want to call it something else, that’s fine too. But stop fighting, stop killing over who understands this energy best. It is this energy that gives us the ability to conjecture about it’s nature. It is this energy that enables us to create stories that promote our own agendas and claim the agendas are that of this energy. We can kill and shame in the name of God… or we can live in it, live for it, experience it as the greater whole of our own existence, and know that we have nothing to fear. Pain is temporary. But the energy that fills every living being on this planet is eternal ( So is “selflessness” the right word for it? Does “altruism” even exist in any way other than theory? Is “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” even possible? As long as we continue to recognize ourselves as separate from the whole, altruism is possible, but not practical. On the other side of it, if we accept that we are all small parts of something greater, real altruism may be impossible, but efforts toward achieving it may be perfectly practical and even a part of our nature.

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