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Altruism: truth or invention?
The recent research published at PLOS ONE magazine suggests that, on the contrary to what happens to human beings, chimpanzees seldom if ever act with altruism and it is necessary a helping request. It is a curious study, first of all because they generalize. Secondly, they take into consideration only beings that live imprisoned in cages, far away from adequate conditions. And also, it makes us think if there is the real altruism.
By definition, altruism is the generous love to the one near you, to help with no expectation of receiving something back. But, does this really exist? Whenever you do something good to somebody, you think “I will have it back in the future”. It is impossible to avoid that we feel good and we do something good. But we never do things free of intentions. Mother Thereze, Gandhi and company did? I do not believe so. Because whenever they did their actions, they always expected a spiritual return, divine or from other way. Therefore, there is no pure altruism.
I am not condemning, in any circumstances, benevolence actions. What I want to say here is when you do something good to somebody, you never do simply without any intention. Even less when one is a human being.
Among chimpanzees in the wild and the ones who live at Sorocaba Sanctuary, we see that there are ones who are more helpful and other who are more selfish – just like human beings. Jango and Junior, for instance: when we take food for them, Jango always grab both jars. But when Junior gets around and sees the food, Jango right away gives him one of the jars. And in terms of leadership, Jango is the one who order, what could lead him not to share the food. And why he does that? For friendship and help towards Junior? It can be. Then, we could say that if there is a real altruism, chimpanzees are the species who gets nearer to it, and not men. So, to affirm that “the human trace of helping others voluntarily could have developed from the same behavior seen in primates” is pure utopia.
On the other hand, there is a possibility that Jango knows that in the future he may need Junior’s help? It can also be. And this, automatically, indicates that they have notions about future time.
Then, if primitive human beings are also near a true altruism and have notion of time, why Science continues do deny? Simply because this is the interest of scientists. It is not interesting that these persons/researchers admit the time notion and awareness of other great primates. Otherwise, they would have to review their lab and pharmacological tests, for instance. To deny humanity in other primates is ignorance, but it is the only way to make invasive scientific researches possible, with arguments that they are “simply animals”. If we prove, with no doubts, the feelings and the consciousness, it does not mean they do not exist. The scientific coolness is condemned and human stupidity is awful.