To think the only truly altruistic act a person can do

(29 Posts)
Normalisavariantofcrazy Wed 26-Mar-14 22:15:52

Is to donate organs after death because there is no gain for you as an individual

Been discussing it with DH and he says I'm wrong but can't find an argument why I'm wrong

Happy to be told IABU on this!

DealForTheKids Wed 26-Mar-14 22:20:05

Hah, this reminds me of a similar Friends episode...

chicaguapa Wed 26-Mar-14 22:23:49

Is it really you being altruistic though? You could argue that it's the family who actually gives the go ahead to organ harvesting, albeit because they believe they are carrying out your wishes.

(Just being Devil's advocate)

There may be "gain", if you believe that this final act will get you a place in Heaven (or where ever).

I'm Buddhist-ish, so I believe that intent is everything, so it is the intent behind the act.

Youay have been a bastard, but want people to have something nice to say about you, so donate your organs.

I admired Mother Theresa, but her motivation was that the good deeds that she did whilst here, ensured her a "eternal life at the Lords side", although she went beyond what she needed to do, out of mere duty.

You have asked a very deep question for AIBU.

Innogen Wed 26-Mar-14 22:26:33

Depends. I'd agree that it was truly altruistic is you are dead and don't know about it, but there is personal gain to be found if you know you are going to be an organ donor.

FutTheShuckUp Wed 26-Mar-14 22:26:33

But planning to do that whilst still alive and particularly sharing your intentions to do so could be seen as wanting to boost your ego/garner attention

shakinstevenslovechild Wed 26-Mar-14 22:27:25

It isn't your choice though, it's your next of kins choice, although you can express a preference it really isn't down to you.

But if I agree now to allow my organs to be donated I can enjoy the warm feeling of being generous so it is in my interest. Also I could start threads with titles like "AIBU to think that people like me who donate organs are really wonderful" smile

So you can't do anything completely altruistically.

But, it doesn't matter. The important point is that people who get a kick out of doing something good are still better than people who only get pleasure from hurting others. It may not be true altruism, but it's nearly as good.

consideringadoption84 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:27:41

I was also thinking of the friends episode!

What about a single person with no living parents or children giving their life to save someone else they don't know well?

WooWooOwl Wed 26-Mar-14 22:31:19

There's no loss to you as an individual either, so I can't really see what's altruistic about it.

It's not at all altruistic if you feel good about the potential those organs have, or if you know anyone who loves you may be uncomfortable with it.

So i think YABU.

Ledare Wed 26-Mar-14 22:35:52

I am donating my body to medical science for purely selfish reasons. I am not afraid of death, but don't want to be buried or cremated alive and figure that the more I am examined and poked about with, the less likely this is to happen.

Dozer Wed 26-Mar-14 22:43:10

That's quite dark thinking ledare!

if you were seemingly dead the medical students would get a shock!

noblegiraffe Wed 26-Mar-14 22:45:08

There's no loss for you as an individual either, because you're dead, so surely it's a neutral act?

Dozer Wed 26-Mar-14 22:46:01

OP yabu

1. You would be dead, can't be altruistic, or anything, if dead.
2. It's relatives who would take the decision, so being altruistic.
3. Signing organ donor register, like other giving/promises, isn't wholly altruistic.

thebody Wed 26-Mar-14 22:46:52

it's not altruistic though as Woo says.

isn't it giving your life to save someone else. so an act of complete sacrifice and bravery.

if you donate organs after you are dead well you are dead anyway so you don't need them do you?

puddymuddles Wed 26-Mar-14 22:50:27

Sacrificing your life to save another person is truly altruistic. As for the organs after death - you are dead anyway so what thebody said!

AwfulMaureen Wed 26-Mar-14 22:54:48

Ledaire will that include your skeleton?

MaidOfStars Wed 26-Mar-14 22:57:00

Altruism is overrated. Some people place it on a pedestal as evidence for our innate goodness, true humanity, whatever. Bobbins. Altruism = improved survival and evolving (biologically and socially) so that altruism creates lovely feel good factors is ideal. Hence, I refuse to analyse the why of it, as if there needs to be a higher reason.

Take the feel good stuff and run with it, it's what Darwin would have wanted!

DoJo Wed 26-Mar-14 23:09:24

I agree that it's not altruistic as you aren't really 'doing' anything - you're dead, you have no motivation and there is no hardship for you as an individual either. Also, does this mean that those who are on the organ donor register but aren't able to donate (for whatever reason) are less altruistic than those who do?

missuswife Wed 26-Mar-14 23:45:38

My religion teaches that burying someone (a stranger) when they've died is the most altruistic thing you can do, as a dead person can't return/repay the favor.

caroldecker Thu 27-Mar-14 00:00:58

You can be altruistic if the pain to you is greater than the gain. People have thrown themselves on grenades and died to save other lives.

Lurleene Thu 27-Mar-14 00:14:41

My Dad wished to donate his body to medical science but no-one wanted it so we cremated him instead. He would have been really pissed off if he'd known!

TillyTellTale Thu 27-Mar-14 00:19:52

"Altruism" is a funny old thing. I'm on the organ donor register too. But am I doing it out of true altruism? Not sure I am. I am on there because the idea of my organs going to waste, in the event they're salvageable that is, when other lives could be saved (and other families saved grief) gives me emotional pain.

In order to save myself that unhappiness and fear, I carry around a little plastic card.

People often tell me I'm nice. I'm not really. I just happen to have ended up being wired in such a way (nature/nurture/exposure to philosophic rambling) that other people's sadness makes me sad. So I try to solve their problems in order to stop my sympathy (funny)bone being twanged!

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 27-Mar-14 00:25:25

I didn't know you could be buddhist- ISH, Birdsgottafly smile

"I didn't know you could be buddhist- ISH, Birdsgottafly "

I'm just being really honest and I know that every intent I have isn't the best, so whilst I am Vegan, meditate, believe the teaching, try to apply them moment by moment.

I have a work to do before I can say that "I am a Buddhist".

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 27-Mar-14 21:14:52

I have a work to do before I can say that "I am a Buddhist"

I think I understand that, a bit.

tulipsaredelicious Thu 27-Mar-14 21:38:35

I don't think any act can be truly altruistic. Someone I know wants to donate their body to science but part of his thinking is that it's the only useful thing to do - so in the end he's making that choice because he prefers to.

If you give knowingly give your life for someone else, isn't part of your thinking bound up with how you would feel afterwards? - that you let someone die for you?

You catch my drift...

bookishandblondish Sat 29-Mar-14 06:19:50

Richard Titmuss wrote a book about this - the gift of blood ( I think it was late 80s where he compared UK/ US policies - the US has changed theirs since. But his premise was along the lines of giving blood is truly altruistic because the donor never wants to get it back.

bookishandblondish Sat 29-Mar-14 06:21:25

Actually he wrote it in 1970.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now