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Conceptsand Behavior of Altruism

Altruismis a rare practice among many people across the world. When a personconcentrates more on the well-being of the other people, then he issaid to be practicing altruism since selflessness goes hand in handwith the comfort and prosperity of others. Almost all the culturesacross the world stress on the aspect of altruism. In fact, when onetalks of any traditional virtues without mentioning altruism, thetradition seems incomplete. People who put the concerns of othersahead of theirs were highly respected in the past. In the modernsociety, the emphasis on selflessness forms one of the major morals.Almost all the religions ranging from Christianity, Islamic, Buddhismand Hinduism pay particular attention to the virtue of altruism.Selflessness is a critical aspect of the social life of people andhence applied across many cultures in the world. Therefore, thisessay will discuss the various elements of the selflessness behaviorconcept such as the cost and empathy among others.

Oneof the key subjects of altruism is its concepts. The ideas andopinions about selflessness cut across cultural boundaries. The firstthing to note is the behavior of altruism. The selflessness behaviorrefers to the conduct that aims at benefiting other people withoutthe drive of responsibilities. It is regarded as an action that goespast the bond of relationships. This implies that if a person helpedanother because of the fulfillment of duty, then the practice is notconsidered as amounting to selflessness. Individuals who practicealtruism go an extra mile in helping others. In a case of emergency,they tend to sacrifice their time to help others. The selfless peoplerisk going beyond the set rules in ensuring that they help others.Those practices are examples of the common cultures regarded asinvolving practices that concentrate more on the society and thecommunity than the individual. Such kind of cultures put theinterests of the group or people first.

Theconcept of the selflessness behavior is composed of five majorelements namely, the concern, cost, the recipient benefit, empathyas well the easy way of escaping. One of the key characteristics ofthe altruistic person is his/her great concern for others. Altruisticindividuals concentrate more on the well-being of others at theexpense of theirs. For instance, when one helps a person and afterthat thinks whether he/she will be rewarded or not, then that is notaltruism. Different cultural practices can be the reasons behind suchthoughts. Besides that, altruistic people incur some costs as theyhelp others. The costs are mostly seen as a sacrifice on their part.A good example regards when somebody gets hurt or even dies whilehelping others. The cost can be beneficial, and this differs from oneculture to another especially in heroism (Vakoch 21).

Theother element is the benefit of the recipient. Any practice ofaltruism should aim at ensuring that the individual who is receivinghelp benefits. The benefit can be spiritual, emotionally ormaterialistic. Empathy plays a key role in motivating the altruisticpeople. When generous people witness others suffering, they tend tofeel sorry and desire to help. They think much of others thanthemselves. The last element is the ease of escaping. People can beforced to help others to avoid being punished or for reward. This isnot an act of selflessness.

Inconclusion, the five elements outlined define altruism acts, and forma basis for the definition of selflessness. Empathy and cost form alink between the society and the individual. Ease of escape, concern,and the recipient’s benefit helps develop an understanding of thealtruistic cultural distinctions.


Vakoch,Douglas A. Altruismin Cross-Cultural Perspective.U.S.A: Springer, 2013. Print.