Getting started: anger and altruism.

I don’t know what to blog about. My life is pretty much just work and my son right now. I don’t have any hobbies or anything I’m particularly good at. But they say that the only way to get better at writing is to write, so here’s some writing.

I felt really down yesterday, and that extended into this morning even though it usually doesn’t. Sleep is restarting the computer when it’s running slow, or so it has been until now. This revelation led to a pretty crappy two days so far. And because of the way I think about things, I always wonder if other people are going through the same thing and just sucking it up better, or if I really have a problem. Only time and professional help can tell. Unfortunately everything costs money and I don’t have that, so I’ve been procrastinating looking for help. I should really do that this week. We’ll see.

I tend two have two operating modes which are angry and placid unless I am otherwise inebriated. The anger usually comes from small frustrations and it burns out of control. Fortunately it’s also exhausting and I can’t stay mad for more than  maybe a hour, usually less, before I will literally fall asleep. These experiences have made me come to think of anger like a drug. At the time, it feels great. Getting anger our fills you up with energy and makes your mind fully awake. Adrenaline does that I suppose. But then afterwards you feel foolish and promise yourself you’ll never get out of control like that again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It’s a terrible cycle, and an addicting one which only lends itself further to the explanation that anger is a drug. So maybe, sometimes, if you have an anger problem, it really does warrant being treated like an addiction, especially if that’s what it takes for you to get help. Anger will tear apart a family, lose you your job, and destroy your health just as readily as a drug addiction. I’ve seen what anger can do to a family. It’s not something I’ve ever wanted to see repeated.

It also seems to me that I am selfish. Though I like to think of myself as selfless, as I’m sure most people do, I’m not. I do a lot of things selfishly, and so do you. So does everybody. They say there’s no altruism in nature and I wholeheartedly agree. Whenever I do something for someone else it makes me feel good. I do it because helping makes me feel good, and it is only a side effect that it helps someone else as well. I think that when we use the term “selfish”, it’s usually people who act just the same way, but the person they’re helping is themselves. Condemning that behavior is great for building a society where people can work together and achieve more than they could on their own. It’s part of how we got this far as humans already. Plus, I’m not saying we shouldn’t frown upon it. I just think we should take a closer look at ourselves so we can understand why we undertake selfless actions.

If what you’re doing doesn’t benefit you in any way, you don’t want to do it, you’ll feel crappy about losing whatever it is you’re going to lose for doing it, and the only possible reason for you to do it is that logically it will benefit a community or individual that means nothing to you, that could be pure selflessness, actual altruism. But let’s be real, when’s the last time that happened? If given the choice between one of two groups of people dying where one is your kid and the other is 5 random kids, picking your kid is selfish. You’re letting up to five other families experience that kind of loss instead of just yourself. At the same time, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t make that choice the selfish way, and I’m pretty sure we all understand why. But if you want to make someone uncomfortable, ask how many other kids there would have to be for them to let their own kid die. Narrow it down to an exact number that they feel their kid is worth more than. It’s a great idea for the next time politics comes up around the dinner table and you want to change the subject.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Until next time, cheers.

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Getting started: anger and altruism.

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