The Basic Nature of Human Behavior

The basic nature of human behavior as altruistic and egoistic is unique and has distinct attributes. Equal importance to these behaviors is the understanding of the natural inclinations of human beings. A further analysis on these topics will bring such concepts to light. To begin, altruistic behavior is defined as presenting an impartial and selfless apprehension for the welfare of others or being unselfish. Pollock (2017) declared that “researchers found that when subjects performed altruistic acts, their behavior triggered the pleasure center of the brain, connected with food and sex. This indicates that moral behaviors are hardwired into humans’ basic impulses” (p. 89). However, these basic impulses may be negative as well as positive. Kivivuori (2007) inserts that “in addition to obedience, the role of altruism as a general human motive should be examined as a driving force behind both trivial and serious forms of proxy crime” (p. 829). This may propose that the offender might feel that he or she is serving or helping others by committing a wrongdoing or misconduct for them.

On the contrary, criminology has perceived altruism as an influence that reduces misconduct. Communities that inspire helping conduct tend to have fewer wrongdoings than that of others. Kivivuori (2007) states that “however, at the micro-level of individual motivation, criminal acts may be motivated by altruistic feelings, so that the crime itself is a sort of gift to a person or a cause” (p.830). In other words, the crime is viewed (by the wrongdoer) as a contribution to the feelings or wellbeing of the individual they are committing the crime for.

On the other hand, egoistic behavior is defined as a belief that separate self-regard is the real purpose of all cognizant action. Pollock (2017) finds that “egoism postulates that what is good for one’s survival and personal happiness is moral” (p. 42). Egoistic individuals hold that we all place our personal desires before others. Egoistic behavior may cause individuals to have an exceedingly overblown opinion or judgement of themselves. In other words, it is a method of self-delusion instead of a specific mode of observing the world. An individual may be egoistic without being egotistic because they are not one in the same. Hand in hand, there are two forms of egoism discussed by Pollock, psychological egoism and enlightened egoism. Psychological egoism is the understanding that individuals are continuously driven by self-regard and self-centeredness. This may even occur in what seems like an act of altruism. Psychological egoism is the decisive motivation of all voluntary acts and is a craving for an individual’s personal well-being. All acts are observed as selfish arrangements regardless of the fact that the egoist willingly points out that individuals generally try to obscure the defining purposes for their acts. This is due to the fact that hiding such motives is another form of self-interest.

Also, enlightened egoism proposes that serving others is an individual’s own interest. Pollock (2017) acknowledges that this “concept appears to be altruistic because it is in one’s long-term best interest to help others in order to receive help in return” (p. 42). Enlightened egoism also claims that it is an individual’s self-regard to aid others and themselves. It is occasionally advocated as a means rather than an end. It pursues the idea that everyone follows their own regard to exploit the universal affluence.

To continue, natural law is known as a build of static ethical values or inclinations viewed as a foundation for all human demeanor. Wolfe (2003) states that “the first and most abstract notion that can be called ‘natural law’ is that human beings are a certain kind of being, and the features of that being should direct our understanding of how human beings should live” (p. 38). Pollock notes four key natural inclinations in his book. Pollock’s (2017) inclinations include “the preservation of one’s own being is a natural inclination and thus is a basic principal of morality, the essence of morality is what conforms to the natural world, sociability, and the pursuit of knowledge or understanding of the universe” (p. 31). These inclinations are not only seen as natural but also morally correct.

To conclude, the basic nature of human behavior may be altruistic or egoistic in character. Each behavior is unique and both have distinct attributes. The natural law and inclinations of human beings, as well as an understanding of these factors, coincide greatly with each behavior. Here is my question to you: “Do you think altruistic behavior actually exists in crime, or is it simply an excuse individuals use in an attempt to be relieved of trouble or of being charged?”

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