Altruism does not exist

the title is pretty self-explanatory but I can expand it. What I want to write about today is the theory of selfish gene and how it interacts with selfishness and altruism. (Btw. do not forget to check out my second blog!)

So altruistic act is the act that helps others while giving you to worse position, by this I mean that it costs you some energy for example.

What I want to say that there is apparently altruistic behavior towards those who are similar to you. Who is that? Your family.

Over all you share 1/2 of genes with your siblings and with your parents and also children, nobody can get closer to you if you wont make a copy of yourself or you have twin.

From the point of the selfish gene which is in you, it is important to stay in population and not die out [1]. This means that the gene is trying to safe other genes which may be riding in different bodies.

How does he know that there is his identical gene twin in other individual? Dawkins says for example in his book The Selfish Gene, that when there is gene for altruism in your body you will know that this same gene appears in somebody else who is also behaving altruisticly. While it is always from evolutionary point of view best to safe yourself, it is also good to safe others because they may contain the same stuff as you and that is what is important, not the outer shell which is anyway just a vehicle which will disappear after few years.

To enhance this argument I will just add: if gene is able to recognise himself in other “survival machines” then it will be more often present in future generations which is basicly natural selection.


You can not apply this for human behaviour because we are no longer bound only by instincts and this surely is not a way to live a life. At the same time, think over your past days about you and also people around. Do you behave altruisticly or are you hiding your selfishness behind altruism? What I see often is that people do “good” things just because they want to look like doing good things over all being selfish, what do you guys think about this?


[1] It is of course not important for the gene. Genes are not thinking. If the gene would not be good at staying in population it would not be there.




11 thoughts on “Altruism does not exist

  1. hoponacomet says:

    Species other than humans appear to act altruistically. Look at the social networks of bees or ants, for example. So altruism is rooted in many organisms with the goal of preserving others (i.e. the colony). The same is true of most mammalian species as well. Mothers will do just about anything to protect their young with the goal of preserving her genetic line. It seems to be that this is both fully altruistic as well as completely selfish, at least in a genetic sense.

    Part of the problem is that the concept of altruism implies motive which, in turn, implies some kind of conscious willingness to put another ahead of oneself. I’m not sure if insects like the ones I mentioned consciously make the decision to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Perhaps it could be called “unintended altruism” or “accidental altruism?” I haven’t done enough research on that topic to give a definitive answer.

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, what the bees do is that they sacrifice themselves because other bees are related to them (3/4 of their genes are similar I think) and for the genes it is best to protect the whole hive. Also they can not reproduce so their genes will be send on only by the queen.
      Am I understanding your comment right?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. People will sometimes risk their own lives to save a drowning person. They may not know that person. It is not rational to risk oneself to save another in this way. We do it because we dislike suffering, and we call this ethics.

    Liked by 1 person

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