To put it briefly, altruism is feeling empathy and caring about others’ well-being despite our own interests, without expecting anything in return. In true love, lovers are altruistic: they passionately strive to do anything good for their beloved, even sacrificing themselves.
Altruism: What Is It?
Altruism is the ethical belief and practice of caring about the well-being of other people or another individual regardless of our personal interests. In other words, it is the ability to care about another’s well-being without wanting anything in return. It’s important that altruistic actions are ones that people intentionally choose to do because they want to help and benefit another person.
Altruistic lovers behave by being motivated by a desire to benefit the beloved for the sake of that person. In some cases, altruism requires doing something to help someone else, even scarifying yourself in one or another way, to one or another extent.
People commonly use the term altruism as an antonym for “self-interested,” “selfish,” or “egoistic” thinking, feelings, and behaving.
What Do Altruistic People Have in Return?
We shall, however, admit that acts of altruism and kindness are probably not completely selfless. Altruistic people still receive psychological rewards for these actions through hedonistic motivation of internal and intrinsic emotions. For example, American psychologists Robert Cialdini and Douglas Kenrick (1976) did a study that proved the hedonistic view of altruism to be true. Some people find it emotionally rewarding and self-gratifying to do good things for others. Their socialization experiences likely had an impact on their altruistic psychological traits, emotions, motivation, and behavior.
The Multifaceted Concept of Altruism
Throughout centuries, scholars studying altruism and altruistic love have been prolific in their research (Karandashev, 2022a). Thanks, now we know much more about this topic than ever before.
Altruism is a complex cultural idea that includes values, traits, attitudes, moods, and emotions. In this regard, altruism is multilayered. The psychology of altruistic love consists of (1) the desire to help others, (2) the action tendency to do things for their own good, and (3) the act of helping others. Altruistic psychology also involves altruistic thinking and feelings.
The Nearly Cross-Cultural Universality of Altruism and Altruistic Love
The moral virtue of altruism has been around for a long time in many cultures across religious and nonreligious contexts. Many religious worldviews preach the high value of altruism as their central tenet. I presented the Western Christian and Eastern Confucian religious teaching of altruism elsewhere.
Scholars and educated people in both the West and the East know a lot about altruism and altruistic love. What about other cultural contexts? Many other cultures around the world have had a long history of contemplating and writing about selfless, altruistic love (Karandashev, 2022a). Scholars can trace these selfless tenets of love back to the earliest periods of the cultural ethics of the world’s major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism. The scholars of many countries have widely discussed the concept of altruism and altruistic love in nonreligious contexts (Karandashev, 2022a).