Altruism (latin “Alter” — other) is a selfless direction of human behavior and activity, which puts the interests of other human, or the whole society, above the personal interests. Usually used to denote the ability to sacrifice one’s profit for greater good. The term was introduced as opposite of egoism by french philosopher and founder of sociology Auguste Comte. In biology, there are the following types of altruism:
1. Ancient altruistic instincts of the pack level category.
Altruism of a female towards a child. A human child is helpless for a very log time, altruism of the mother or grandmother is necessary for the child’s survival. Sometimes, human females are somewhat altruistic toward others’ children, and, sometimes, to the animals of another species when the mother’s instinct is not satisfied. It is a well known tendency of women without children and grandchildren to take care of cats or someone else’s children.
Altruism of a male towards a child. Same reasons apply here, the difference is that the male takes care of children at a later stage, as well as fulfills the role of provider and defender, while a female provides direct immediate care for the child and creates initial informational background.
Altruism of a male towards a female. This one is based on a number of instinctive programs — the ancient reproductive core protection instinct, the leader’s responsibility instinct, a mid-rank demonstration of success instinct, self-sacrifice of a low-rank.
Altruism of a male toward his society. The pack protection instinct in its pure form, known today as “patriotism”. Inherent more to low-ranks, which fulfilled the buffer role in a pack, but is not alien to leaders. A leader, too, can sacrifice himself for the good of society, which is known today as philanthropy.
2. Young altruistic instincts of the human society level.
Altruism of a man toward a friendly man — friend, comrade, companion. This type of altruism is imperative since invention of the stone axe to increase efficiency at war and at hunt.
Altruism of a human toward another human (from the same society). The pack protection instinct, which evolved and is now being applied to individuals.
Altruism of a human toward another human (alien). The species preservation instinct, which evolved, and manifests itself in hospitality tradition. An alien, if he does not show aggression, should be fed, healed and supported. This instinct is taken advantage of by professional beggars.
The latter two types are not as developed as others, and are easily suppressed by any selfish instinctive programs. The innovatory idea of Jesus from Nazareth was to develop these two instincts and use them to neutralize the animalistic instincts that lower a society’s efficiency. He called it “love thy neighbor”, and neighbors included enemies as well (“love thy enemy”).