An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Cost of Altruism and Primacy of Genetics

altruism.jpgHow much are you willing to give as charity? Does it depend on who you are giving it to?

Well, a new study now says that there is a link between the Cost of Altruism and the Relationship of the Recipient to you.

Participants gave more low-cost help to their romantic partners (regardless of whether they had a child together) than their siblings. More medium-cost help was given to romantic partners who had a child (biological and adopted) than siblings and romantic partners without children. In the high-cost condition, the estimated altruistic tendencies were stronger toward siblings and romantic partners who have a biological child than toward romantic partners with no children and partners with adopted children. Participants also believed they were more altruistic than their siblings and romantic partners.

There is some other research which also says that people would be willing to help friends, with whom they are emotionally close, than genetic relatives like siblings and cousins.

Weird part of the study was the realization that although people were emotionally closer to their romantic partners, but if the cost of altruism was “life-threatening”, then people would rather help their siblings than their partners and friends.

So, we humans cannot even do charity for others and hold our own first and foremost.

Ironically the definition of Altruism is: selfless concern for the welfare of others

If one has to give “others” but go only so far away from “yourself” and not outside of your family, no matter how much you love that person, then some thing is wrong with the society and our definition of “Good”.

Altruism should not be with a view that one would like to “help” others, but that one is an instrument to fulfill some useful need of another. If you take the credit to yourself, then you get lost in vanity.

Interestingly, the categorization of the romantic partner also changes depending on whether one has had a biological child together. According to the researchers, this enhances happens as people view each other as sharing the same vested genetic interests.

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