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レポート:About altruistic activity - Can we think that the activity of protecting the environment is for our self satisfaction?

Today, we often hear of various kinds of activities to protect the environment. For example: separate collections of garbage, the stoppage of dumping oil into sewerage, saving of water, the stoppage of usage of a synthetic detergent, recycling of cartons and old newspapers, etc...

These topics usually make me say to myself, "I must be more careful with these problems". That is to say, we feel a consciousness of the problem. But when I actually do some task, I cannot help thinking "This is too troublesome! Though many people are lazy, why must I bear doing this task?" Even when I dare do some task, I am not quite satisfied with my activity. Even if I do good thing, why do I feel not quite satisfied? This is strange.

I have thought about the strangeness.

This strangeness is found not only with environmental problems. There are many contradictions in this world, as you know. For example: discriminations, problems of military power, problems of differences in economical level, problems of guns and drugs, problems of pressure groups, etc... Surely we can find many more problems. When we hear of these problems, we often think,"Why can't we change this for the better?" However, when we have a chance to do something with some social problem, we feel that the activity is tiresome for us and that to be lazy is better for us. Don't you feel,"This is strange" ?

If we think that to be lazy is better, we can do nothing. There will be no progress ever. This is too pessimistic, isn't it? So I want to recommend you to think,"We get self satisfaction from our body by doing social activities (to do something to reduce social contradictions)".

Let's remember what it is like when you feel indignant at finding a social contradiction. You are somewhat more lively by feeling indignant, aren't you? I think that to have a consciousness of a problem is one of the activities "to do something to reduce social contradictions". In other words, we get self satisfactions from our body by having a consciousness of a problem.

Anyway, if we think as I suggest, probably we can do tasks more easily. Not for other people, but for ourselves (in other words, to get our self satisfaction),we do tasks. We can avoid unpleasantness to say to ourselves,"Why do I do things for other people?"

But can we really insist that "We get self satisfactions from our body by doing social activities"? This opinion seems to be too strange to agree with. But when we touch some social problem, we seem to feel some pleasant sensation. Can we find a reason for this insistence ?

Yes, we can. We can find a reason by thinking of genes.

Have you heard of "prisoners' dilemma game" ? (the explanation for those who don't know it...)

As a result of long natural selection, "nice guys" who have the advantage in the struggle for survival have survived. We should be programmed to behave "nicely" and to control to behave contrary. In other words, we have been under the natural pressure which select those who lives somehow altruistically.

But how should we understand that "We should be programed to behave "nicely"?
The altruistic activity by genes could not have evolved lately in nature. Because there is so much time, species who behave somehow altruistically became a majority in the natural world. It seems to be natural to think that creatures had this nature long time before mankind appeared and that this was inherited by mankind. If so, genes should affect on us as well as other creatures. Altruistic behavior of man should be unconscious as well as other creatures.

What is the unconscious altruistic behavior ? It seems not easy to think about "unconscious activity"(off course, I mean somehow complex one). We never do an activity without feeling "I want to do it" or "I should do it" or "I have to do it" or so on. Each activitiy should has its own motivation. It is difficult to think about, for example, altruistic activity with no thinking. Then what makes us behave altruistically?

I think that the motivation is a certain physiological pleasant sensation.
When we hear of some social contradiction, we feel angry. When we are doing something about the contradiction, we feel a certain liveliness. I think these are the physiological pleasant sensation.

This is one of strain. When actually we face to some problem (for example, environmental problems), there are many factors to decide how we concern with it. My insistence is one reason to act more positively.