27 Nov 2002 vorlon   » (Master)

"Once the bullshit speak is installed, instant denial a la Ghost Not kicks in, and we see the characteristic development of anti-altruism instead of selfishness, and anti-selfishness instead of altruism (where altruism and selfishness are actually the same thing). Hence the M0 dictionary definition of "selfishness" explicitly asserts that helping self is a zero sum game, and actually describes anti-altruism. Meanwhile M0 altruism is converted into anti-selfishness - the denying of benefit to self on the false assumption that reducing benefit to self automatically increases benefit to others (the reverse is true).

"Perhaps the idea that no matter what you do, you are doomed to help increase the complexity of the universe is a little odd sounding. Consider Microsoft. If their fervent practice of anti-altruism had been a little less intense, would there have been so many people stacked up, pissed off, and keen to help make Linux work? That's the hard way to do it. On the other hand, I doubt that Linus Torvalds is ever going to find himself without employment prospects at a high salary if he wants it! By helping others, he has (like a cosmological waste product) got loads of wonderful, complex opportunity falling right into his lap."

Profound stuff that I think many in the Free Software community will recognize the truth of. So many commentators on the "Linux phenomenon" try to sort developers' motives into the appropriate pigeonholes: are they selfish motives, or altruistic ones? Some commentators make it so far as to say that our motives include a mix of altruistic and selfish goals, but even this is only half the truth: many of us have goals that are simultaneouly altruistic and selfish. We know the world we live in is not a zero-sum game, and we are not constrained to choosing between helping others and helping ourselves. We recognize that some courses of action achieve both.

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