redslider comments on What is effective altruism? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: redslider 17 January 2015 12:53:30AM *  2 points [-]

just a small thought on the term "altruism" -- in an omoiyari* world there is really no need for altruism or charity. They are not required and hardly, if ever, occur. In an omoiyari world every success is reciprocal, every personal creative act is a shared success. By the same token, every wound one causes to another is a self-inflicted wound. In such a world, the terms 'altruism', 'charity' and the like simply drop away. Nor is there any conflict between the states of individuality and collective. Indeed, where the personal is shared and reciprocal, personal creativity, imagination and exploration are routinely encouraged and fostered.

Omoiyari society (or civilization, if you prefer) is a "we" society. But there is no implication of "we" being at the expense of "you" or "me". It is a society which maximizes and distributes the surplus of our creativity and energy, rather than conscripting it. It does so with the minimum of distortion or dislocation of each person's self-directed initiatives. And there is plenty for an omoiyari society to recycle and share, because there is little need to accumulate, hoard or own for its own sake, nor out of fear-driven insecurity.

There is no "either/or" or "them/us" about an omoiyari society. Those are scripts for reality that have been written and handed to us by others to serve their own narrow, self-interested ambitions. There is simply no use for our current competitive, acquisition-driven, 'charity-fixated' societies or the compensations we try to make for them. We presently receive such reality scripts as if they were an unalterable part of "human nature". They are not. An omoiyarii society has no use for them. Why? Because, in an omoiyari-world, we all own and write the scripts of our own reality and we distribute them as a shared reality. We write them creatively and imaginatively and we share them reciprocally.

So, is that possible? Is there an "effective" way to bring about an omoiyari world? Yes, actually. It's quite simple and the tools to do it are already possessed by everybody. It is really nothing more than the realization that our reality is not something that can actually be owned by anyone, least of all those who presently claim a proprietary right to it (the ones who exclaim, "Reality is what we say it is" and by 'we' mean only themselves), the ones who can make reality seem unalterable only through the coercive use of power.

The effective end to that fiction is to simply begin rewriting that script. And that is not as difficult as it may seem. To begin with, we actually know what the real script for reality ought to be. We all know it -- even if our ways of expressing it may be different. It comes with our DNA, there's nothing extraordinarily complicated about it. It is a script which no longer has us settle arguments with ourselves by means of violence or war. It is a script in which hunger or homelessness or exclusion or other forms of neglect and deprivation are not possible simply because those wounds are self-inflicted wounds and no one (it's in our DNA) leaves their own wounds untended to fester.

It is a script in which there is really no distinction between work and play because the very act of using our energy and our bodies to do useful and creative things is a natural expression of ourselves, a yoga of living and a joy, even if the particular task may be difficult or routine. Our script would not turn people into interchangeable, expendable units of fuel for the engines of an economy or anything else. The human project would not be here to serve the economies it created, those economies would be here to serve the people. I could go on and on, but you see, you already know that don't you. It comes with our manual of operating a sane, healthy flourishing world. The one given to each of us when we were born. We just tend forget that at times.

So that's all I really came to say. A little food for thought, that's all. It may not happen in our lifetimes, maybe not for many generations (provided we survive the messes we've created for ourselves). When it does, those who rewrite our primitive reality will probably wonder at those first proto-humans who hadn't yet crossed the evolutionary rubicon from OMG to omoiyari, just as we wonder about the first hominids who stood at the edge of the Serengeti, but hadn't quite crossed the evolutionary bridge from thinking to minding.

But we can start now, preparing the way for those who will follow us. We can begin to reclaim small pieces of our reality and renew it as it should be. That we can do, and that will likely help make the Dark Ages to come a little bit shorter. That is all I have to say.

*omoiyari is a Japanese word that really has no equivalent in English. Roughly, it means "putting others first." It was first introduced to me by Charles Pellegrino in his book "Last Train from Hiroshima" (definitely an omoiyari, if tragic, book about events that should never have happened). Omoiyari was introduced to Charles through the writings and talks by Masahiro Sasaki, brother of Sadiko Sasaki, whom many of you will know as the girl who set about folding a thousand paper cranes in the interest of world peace and omoiyari. The girl who died of wounds received in the bombing of Hiroshima. -- omoiyari, Red Slider

Comment author: Patrizia 02 November 2016 07:38:39AM 1 point [-]

I totally agree. Altruism and egoism are the consequences of our intellettualistic occidental society. Does it really exist any difference between self and other? The logical analytic approach fails if it doesn't comprehend the dialectic aspects of the whole reality. When I am helping people I am doing something good not only for whom I help but also for me: i need to do good, that is my interior obligation that let me free only if I decide to obey it. To me we have to find out what human nature means.