There is No Altruism

From: David Massoglia (
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 12:26:43 MST

It has been interesting to see the chats concerning the self-proclaimed
altruism of Eleizer and the differing view proposed by Robert Ettinger
(originator of the Cryonics Organization in Michigan).

The purpose of this is to either debunk the self-proclaimed view of altruism
or find a view that altruism really exists. I am clearly leaning to the
view of Ettinger and that all claims of altruism relate to self-interest or
self-values. If true, the claims of altruism would be stated as personal

His view is basically that people are motivated by self-interest to feel
good. He calls this view "me-first, feel-good". He basically states that no
one does anything, ever, for altruistic purposes. The only sacrifice anyone
chooses, ever, is that of one value or facet of his psyche in favor of
another. Thus, your only motivation is to please yourself or avoid something
worse. His book, Youniverse, is on the cryonics organization web page. The
following is from page 89 of Youniverse relating to altruism as quoted:

"The main point is the primacy of self-interest cannot be denied, claims of
altruism are always language traps. To the extent the behavior is motivated
(rather than accidental or a hard-wired habit pattern), no one "ever" makes
a "sacrifice" for someone else or something else. The only sacrifice anyone
chooses, ever, is that of one value or one facet of his psyche in favor of
another, the momentarily dominate value or personality aspect. In other
words, your only motivation is to please yourself - the currently dominant
aspect of your psyche- or to avoid a worse alternative. There is no

In other words: it is not possible to sacrifice oneself for another person
or for a principle. It is only possible to set one value, or one presently
perceived good, above another. In the extreme case ( I assume he means
sacrificing your life for someone), you value your prospect of survival less
than your desire for virtue or guilt avoidance."

Thanks for any comments.

David Massoglia

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