Catch up and do good

Catch up and do good
Catch up and do good

A psychologist and TV presenter Galina Timoshenko talks about why we love to sacrifice ourselves so much.

Catch up and do good

A psychologist and TV presenter Galina Timoshenko talks about why we love to sacrifice ourselves so much

It would seem that the Soviet years are infinitely far from us, with their predominance of the public over the personal and the need to benefit society … A whole generation has grown up, not knowing that the Soviet people are obliged to observe the moral code of the builder of communism. It would be time to come up with something new in moral terms… But the ideas of altruism live and flourish. It seems that everyone has learned the phrases “I owe nothing to anyone” and “These are your problems”, only this does not lead to anything sensible. People still use the word "egoist" mostly in a cussing way, and in intimate relationships rely solely on altruism.

I love - and even more so, and my job is conducive to this - to ask people what they mean by this or that word. Such exotic answers can sometimes be obtained … For example, the answer to the question "what is love?" in about one case out of five contains the word "self-sacrifice". The next question immediately arises: “What is self-sacrifice?” No, in the event of a threat to life, everything is, of course, understandable. But then, it turns out, until I give my life for my beloved, my love for him is a huge question. Or is it about readiness for self-sacrifice? Well, then, of course, everything is simpler: for example, I am ready for self-sacrifice in the name of anything and anyone. This is when another opportunity presents itself - if at all it happens to protect someone with your chest. But basically, I'm ready. Shall we erect a monument to me as the embodiment of inescapable and boundless love for humanity?

It quickly becomes clear that not such extremes are called self-sacrifice. Simply, if a woman settled at home as a housewife, this is already self-sacrifice: she refused her own vocation to be someone else! Further - more: any concern for a loved one turns out to be self-sacrifice …

Let's remember to whom and in the name of what sacrifices were made. It was a long time ago, back in pagan times, and then there was a sacrifice of a kind of advance payment - without any, however, guarantees to receive the goods. Moreover, the sacrifice was made to a god that was clearly not too merciful: even having received a herd of buffaloes or a hundred young beauties as a sacrifice, the god could well not be generous with the long-awaited rain, good luck in business, or other requested favors. It is very easy to be afraid of such a god, but, you see, it will be more difficult to love.

And if we recall the meaning of the word “victim”, which is closer to us chronologically, associated with the criminal code, it becomes completely bad. What kind of beloved is this, who favorably agrees to accept such sacrifices?! Although, to tell the truth, usually in such cases, the beloved does not suspect that he, it turns out, is a god-monster. This is the one who loves, for some reason decided to designate her actions as self-sacrifice.

Another answer to the question of what love is: "This is such an attitude towards a person in which you do everything in your power for him." At first glance, this option will be he althier than the previous one - but only at first glance. Because already at the second glance it turns out: it is understood that the beloved, in turn, must do the same. Why is such a complex construction needed: one person is quite capable of doing everything for himself, but does not do it, because it is “everything” that another does for him, who, on the other hand, does nothing for himself, because the first is exclusively busy doing it for him … And all why? Altruism, you know.

Here is the classic of Russian literature F. M. Dostoevsky put a big pig for all of us: it turns out that reasonable egoism consists in being happy only when all of humanity suddenly becomes happy at once. And until that moment, you couldn’t even think: what about the starving people in Africa, abandoned children in orphanages and dying of cancer?!

Do you feel resentment boil up inside you at my hardness of heart? Well, really, isn't this a great human virtue - compassion? And isn't it a sin to scoff at the love of one's neighbor like that?

Over the love of neighbor, probably a sin. I don’t know for sure, because I don’t have a spiritual order. Only I'm not talking about love for one's neighbor, but about altruism. The same altruism that we somehow got used to oppose to selfishness. Only an egoist, as you know, is a person who thinks about himself, instead of thinking about me. Or it can be put differently: an egoist is a person for whom the main thing in life is his own desires, but at the same time he understands that for everyone else the most important thing is their desires. And the one who believes that his desires are the most important thing in life both for him and for everyone around him is not even an egoist at all, but an egocentrist. Is there a difference?

Well, what is an altruist then? A person for whom the most important thing in life is the desires of some other person? And what exactly? Anyone? Or do you still have some preferences? And if these preferences do exist, then aren't they connected with some very specific sympathies? And if they are connected with these sympathies, then why is the desire to do something for another person an altruism?! The great thinker La Bruyère said: "The most exquisite pleasure is to give pleasure to others." And if I give myself this most exquisite pleasure, giving pleasure to others, then why am I not the most selfish thing?

But then another question arises: and if I thus please myself, then why should I declare all this altruism? And here we come to the most interesting. If I do something exclusively for myself, my beloved, then only I myself can thank and feel obliged to myself. But when I sacrificed everything for the sake of my beloved and I live only for him, and, of course, his desires are a million times more important for me than my own, and all this is solely because of my indefatigable altruism and spiritual kindness, then here already you can count on solid dividends. Profit can be received both in the form of simple gratitude, and in the form of an obligation to repay the same, and in the form of admiration for my high spiritual qualities, and in the form of guilt about my unfulfilled desires and ruined life … In general, the prospects open up quite bright. Long live selfless altruists!


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