The extraordinary advantages of altruism

Zsolt Hermann
2 min readOct 22, 2022

Question from the Internet:

“How can or does a diplomatic altruistic person find or feel a sense of identity that is uniquely different from others if he or she is simply an advocate as a voice for the people and the wishes of wider society?”

We do not have a “sense of identity” on our own. We have no way of knowing ourselves in isolation. By what measurements could an inherently egocentric and subjective person examine oneself and establish an identity?

From birth, our “self” is a product of our relationship with other people. First, we identify ourselves through our relationship with our parents, carers, family and the close circle that looks after us. And as we develop, we constantly sense and measure ourselves through our connection to other people.

We recognize and feel ourselves in comparison to other people. Our “self” is that unit that senses itself in the point of interconnections within the human network we exist in.

Thus there is no difference between a selfish or egoistic person sensing oneself and an altruistic person doing the same. The only difference is the relationship the selfish and egoistic or the altruistic and “diplomatic” person has with that human network.

A selfish and egoistic person has a broken role in that network since such a person cares only about what he can use and exploit from the human network for his own pleasure and success while harming and exploiting everybody else in that network. So such a selfish and egoistic person has a very limited and distorted self-image forged from the constant conflicts and mutual harmdoing one has with others.

An altruistic person dedicates one’s life to helping and serving others. By that, one extends one’s “self” over all of those people one is helping and serving since that altruistic person starts to feel and fulfil the desires of others as well beyond one’s original desires and needs. Moreover, such an altruistic person initiates a positive, mutually complementing relationship with others — instead of existing in one’s fearful and militant fortress like the selfish and egoistic person.

As a result, the altruistic person constantly gains new abilities and qualities through one’s positive interconnection with others on top of the abilities and qualities one has to start with. Moreover, since an altruistic person senses reality through the desires and viewpoints of others as well — since one is not harming or distorting others but starts existing through them — the altruistic person’s perception of reality keeps expanding, elevating even beyond the confines of time and space that are egocentric and subjective concepts.

So an altruistic person’s self-image and self-esteem are constantly growing and developing, encompassing more and more people while also developing one’s ability to find the best possible function and role in society — while the selfish and egoistic person remains static or even “shrinks” due to one’s negative and destructive relationship to others.

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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.