Altruism Research Paper

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1.4. Types of Altruism

The type of altruism described in analytic literature has both pathological and normal faces. These outward appearances altruism are explained under various headings such as: healthy altruism, normal altruism, genuine altruism, mature altruism, proto-altruism, generative altruism, conflicted altruism, pseudo-altruism, and psychotic altruism.

Pathological altruistic behaviour is habitual, maladaptive and compulsive with the motivation of having the welfare of others as its goal. Pathological altruism involves excessive or extreme behaviours that go beyond self-sacrificing. Pathological altruism is often self-destructive in its consequences. It becomes pathological when the altruist cannot share the happiness of others, which follows his altruistic acts. In pathological cases a person may be sincerely engaged in altruistic deeds but may end up in harming her-/himself or the group she/he is trying to help, often in an unanticipated fashion. Or again a person may even become a victim of her/his own altruistic actions (Okley, Knafo, & McGrath, 2012). Defensive altruism can sometime take a pathological form, too. In defensive altruism pathological cases are associated with guilt feelings for not having sacrificed enough, although they might have given their everything. Pathological defensive altruism “is characterized by a pattern of self-sacrifice in which continued avoidance, denial, compromise, and over compromise lead to the inability to experience joy for oneself” (Turvey, 2012, p. 185).

1.4.1. Proto Altruism

In the opinion of Seelig and Rosof (2009), proto-altruism has a biological basis. It can be observed both in animals as well as in human beings. They consider maternal altruism to be the basis for p...

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...hat their sacrifice is not adequately appreciated. So the malignant altruist will be found to be in a continued cycle of sacrifice, martyrdom, and punishment. One of the common examples for malignant altruism is that of parents who expect their children to live according to their expectations. Some self-sacrifice on the part of those parents can be ways of punishing their children to make them live according to their expectations.

The various concepts of altruism described throughout analytic literature can be summarised under the term “endocentric”, a term that is used by Karylowski (1984). Endocentric altruism is: doing good to feel good about oneself. Here, the beneficiary in strict sense is not the other but the altruist. Can we call endocentric altruism genuine altruism? Is not genuine altruism exocentric, which means doing good to make the other feel good?
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