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"Maturity" is altruism

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d'Anconia
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Out of lack of better things to do I googled what people mean by "Maturity"... you know the weapon used against children.

The most common answer I found was that you are mature when you stop thinking "only" about your self. An example that was given is that todlers walk around saying "mine" (and they also eat and drink... <_< ) and when they grow up they find that it's alot better to help others etc. etc...

So is this word like so many others today robbed of all meaning? And what do you think it should there for mean.

I'm always regret reading these forums... almost like horror films. :dough:

EDIT: By "these forums" I didn't mean this one ofcourse.

Edited by d'Anconia
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Infants do not automatically recognize others as individuals with their own mind.

Children have to learn that other people make choices, have needs and preferences, and by doing so, they learn how to behave socially. They start understanding the principle of rights.

Small children are NOT truly selfish, as it is widely believed. They GROW SELFISH inasmuch as they excercise reason, and discover themselves in a world full of other "selves" with whom he needs to cooperate to get the most out of life.

The more a child matures, the more selfish he becomes.

The inmature man, on the other hand, is the one that has failed to recognize his place in a world of minds. He is stuck in an inintellegible world, in which he has to be one with the others (to join the mass)either by giving up his mind to the others or by asking others to give up theirs to him.

The wish to be united with Nature, mankind, or the whole... the wish to dissolve your ego into something "greater" is a remanent of the most infantile wish to remain in the family, in the arm of your mother or in the uterus itself.

Edited by Hotu Matua
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Altruism doesn't mean simply thinking of others or caring about others, it's about disregarding your own well-being for the sake of others. Caring about people that are important to you, however, is about incorporating their own well-being into yours. They become personally important to you, and it becomes selfish to do things to help them, etc. In my opinion, it is a sign of maturity to be able to heavily invest in another person in this way, although I certainly wouldn't use that for the definition.

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@Hotu Matua

Well ofcourse it isn't the right definition... they never have the right ones. So I sometimes just use the word as they would.

Is it wrong that a todler wants to keep his toys for himself? I mean if he doesn't want to share it whit other kids there really isn't anything wrong with that is there? Would it be better if he were to give away his toys (most parents would be proud of that unfortunately).

I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation.

For instance - recognizing the rights of other rational beings is not thinking only of one's self - but it isn't altruism.

When the people on these forums (again I don't mean this forum) say that a child is mature when he stops thinking of "only" himself I bet they don't mean it like you defined it. They think it's ok (normal) if he considers others (even that they blow out of proportion)but in their minds it's great if he's completely selfless.

Altruism doesn't mean simply thinking of others or caring about others, it's about disregarding your own well-being for the sake of others. Caring about people that are important to you, however, is about incorporating their own well-being into yours. They become personally important to you, and it becomes selfish to do things to help them, etc. In my opinion, it is a sign of maturity to be able to heavily invest in another person in this way, although I certainly wouldn't use that for the definition.

Yes again I use their definition... that is really just benevolence.

Caring about others that are important to you is caring about yourself anyway (as I think you also said).

Now with the bolded part I have a bit of an issue. Why do you think that is a sign of maturiry? Is then someone who has noone around worth caring about immature if he doesn't care about them?

(Sorry for the poor structure and probably grammar of this post.)

Edited by d'Anconia
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Now with the bolded part I have a bit of an issue. Why do you think that is a sign of maturiry? Is then someone who has noone around worth caring about immature if he doesn't care about them?

No, that person wouldn't be immature; first and foremost in investing emotionally in other people is making sure they're worth it. I meant that it indicates maturity, not that it's equivalent to it. I think being able to invest heavily in another person indicates maturity for the same reasons that pursuing long-term goals and values indicates maturity; it shows an appreciation for some of the subtler aspects of one's own well-being. A big part of the potential richness of life comes from deep relationships with others, and coming to truly understand that takes time and experience.

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As Dante wisely says, love is the ultimate sign of maturity.

The problem with the guys in the forums you attend, is that they see love as self sacrifice, while we in Objectivism see love as self affirmation. A person who loves is not selfless but selfish.

Unless they come to appreciate this, they will keep thinking that the children become less selfish as they mature, and you will have no way to persuade them.

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In a full sense, it is scary to think of how the eastablishment succeeds in determining a sane persona`s convinctions by means of cheap, emotionalistic `stolen concept`---e.g., `human` rights, morality, values and ``maturity`` as well, including the ``authoriative`` very ones who pretend to be thus naive about it (``What? Are you not in the real-world? You`re so extreeme and different~!``)

``There is a tragic, twisted sort of compliment to mankind involved in this issue: in spite of all their irrationalities, inconsistencies, hypocrisies and evasions, the majority of men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right and will not oppose the morality they have accepted. They will break it, they will cheat on it, but they will not oppose it; and when they break it, they take the blame on themselves. The power of morality is the greatest of all intellectual powers -- and mankind's tragedy lies in the fact that the vicious moral code men have accepted destroys them by means of the best within them.``

Yet, if you (for the sake of an illustration) are rejecting formally-worded argument lifting-up you hand for claiming that ``You are philoosophizing [The only way to stay away from philosophy is not asking `why` and hence not giving your arguments a connection with reality] \ Everybody knows you`re wrong [Who is `everyone` and does `everyone` know he is right?] \ Life is not a matter of balck or white and logic does not necessarily work [And this I do not even attempt to respond] \ It is definitely foreseeable that you haven`t grown up and haven`t formulating the accepted opinions you should have since you are such an Anti [Anti-what? Anti-breath? Anti digestive system? Anti-individualism? Anti-anti?] \ You think you know everything better than anyone else without any reputation [Oh, you`re so right for saying ``You think you`re so right``. Or you have a certain consistency and integrity and you do not find yourself to be right as well? I shall trust you] \ You are a nerd and I`ll beat you up [Well, I`ll build a nuclear weapon]`` you are simply not a part of my target audience, nor of any rational man on earth`s.

It is absolutely tragic that people are brainwashed not to judge by their own and moreover not to think in principles but in vague slogans.

It is absolutely tragic that everyone you see is a second hander or an malevolent second hander or one of those cynicals with this idiotic-fake-conformistic smile spread on their face dropping meaningless, arbitrary and spare notes which could not recognize whether are real or a mere pointless joke when one is dread to evaluate.

But in such a society, it is a huge pleasure to tell oneself: You are lonely!

Until the school year ends I mean to write upon the placard of this quotation of Janusz Korczak (this teacher who committed in the gas chamber in WWII) about ``maturity`` ``Who is John Galt`` so that in effect these horrendous people shall research on it (sure they will).

Edited by Tomer Ravid
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It is absolutely tragic that everyone you see is a second hander or an malevolent second hander or one of those cynicals with this idiotic-fake-conformistic smile spread on their face dropping meaningless, arbitrary and spare notes which could not recognize whether are real or a mere pointless joke when one is dread to evaluate.

But in such a society, it is a huge pleasure to tell oneself: You are lonely!

Do you honestly think that this is an accurate description of modern society? I think this is a completely distorted and false perspective on the "average" person.

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Immaturity means dependence, second handiness, in short altruism, because altruism is not about of "helping others", it's even not about living for the sake of others. Altruism is an ultimate surrender of one's mind to others.It is a trait of self-abnegation, self-denial which becomes the standard of value. Infants and small children are natural "altruists". They don't possess "self" as such, and therefore totally depend on adults who provide all their needs. Their "selfishness" is an egotism of a parasite. When the child matures and becomes self-sufficient , only then he can value others, recognize their rights and interact with them by using trade principle or even non-sacrificial benevolence and help. If that is the meaning of the coin phrase "thinking about others", then I agree.

Edited by Leonid
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Infants and small children are natural "altruists". They don't possess "self" as such, and therefore totally depend on adults who provide all their needs.

I don't think there is any basis to this claim. Just because someone doesn't have an explicit understanding of egoism doesn't mean that they are altruists in any sense of the word, even with quotes like that. I mean, you described altruism as a self-denial and put infants and small children into the same category. These seem like unimportant features, or at least turning maturity into a wider concept than it is.

Becoming self-sufficient is not really an essential feature of maturity since that usually implies doing things yourself and only asking for help in emergencies. What I think is essential about maturity is being able to consider and make choices without having someone go through that process for you, and trying to think about those choices long-term rather than short-term. That doesn't necessarily imply any second-handedness if one is not mature in this sense. Even children can be mature, but that really depends upon level of intellectual and cognitive development.

Edited by Eiuol
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Infants and small children are natural "altruists".

That might be true if we ignore the fact that all they want is what will make them satisfied. They constantly cry if they are not getting what they want. They definitely don't sacrifice anything to get what they want.

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I'm sure you notices that I put "altruists" in inverted commas. Infants are dependents by their very nature. This is biological, not moral feature. And altruism is not only self-sacrifice, it is also sacrifice of others to self which is eventually means sacrifice of one's mind to others, a dependency. Children do it by necessity, they cannot survive otherwise. However, adults who carry on to behave in the same way are definitely immature.

Keating from "The Fountainhead" is a good example. He's a big child who runs to daddy (Roark) every time he has a problem.

Edited by Leonid
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