Thursday, June 18, 2009

Altruism and Mother Theresa

It has been asked repeatedly whether altruism can actually exist. Even Mother Theresa has been doubed as an altruist, since, if the claim that no one can be one is true, then she was not.

The reason the Vatican published her letters of fear that for 12 years her God had forsaken her was to prove that indeed, she was an altruist.

Auguste Comte coined the word to mean: "the discipline and eradication of self-centered desire, and a life devoted to the good of others; more particularly, selfless love and devotion to Society. In brief, it involved the self-abnegating love of Catholic Christianity redirected towards Humanity conceived as an ideal unity."

In Comte's use of the word he invented, Mother Theresa was indeed an altruist. All she wanted was to have her God speak to her, and he did not. Why do you think she looked so sad all the time?

It's amazing how people have twisted the word "altruist" to mean that no one can be one "because we all do things for our own benefit." If she wanted to work for 12 years without a word from God, she had a reason, which was "the self-abnegating love of Catholic Christianity.

"But "self-abnegation" is not to one's benefit if one thinks that that action has caused God to forsake you. If you hear from God on a regular basis while abnegating your sense of self in the service of other people, then you are benefitting, and cannot be considered altruistic.

Bill Gates and his wife have done more for the third world than 1000 Mother Theresas could do in terms of providing material needs. They are not in the Third World 100% of the time as the Mother was, so they cannot provide for the spiritual needs of people when they are not there. But do you think that when they do visit the places to which they send their philanthopy that the happy faces and filled stomachs and dancing and music provided by the villagers are not better for the spiritual needs of those villagers than a self-abnegating altruist with a sad and spiritless-looking face?

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