I feel that altruism ought to get a proper game theory treatment, similar to cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This post will detail some of the peripheral ideas, in the hopes of teasing out the underlying factors. Disorganized rambling follows.
Charity: Low-cost, high-benefit altruism (AKA philanthropy, noblesse oblige). Notably, confusion surrounding this idea has been used by transnational, elitist cosmopolitans as cover for their treason against their fellow nationals.
Sacrifice: High-cost altruism.
Love: Mutual altruism. Note that this is distinct from mutual cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma because altruism requires a significant personal cost.
Cuckoldry: Altruism in one direction only, typically but not necessarily enabled by deceiving the cuck.
Treason: To destroy one’s neighbors for a relative gain. The neighbors are typically but not necessarily sacrificed to foreigners.
The social competitor’s proto-ideology: A deeply held conflation of altruism and competition, such that the competitors can rationalize their competition as “helping”. The precepts of the ideology will be chosen to best rationalize the desired action. E.g. Proponents of open borders capitalism will often claim that their ruthlessness is good for the economy (before fleeing the 3rd-world country they create in the process). E.g.2. Bullies will often claim that their bullying is good for the people they bully.
I’m tempted to bring guilt and shame into the mix here, but we’ve previously established that these are tools to discourage cheating in Commons Dilemmas, and this shows that it will be necessary to distinguish between the factors involved in cooperation and altruism.
For example, in the case of genetic altruism, there is no place for the Chrono Trigger sexual strategy of sacrificing oneself for one’s friends and then being reborn as a genetic clone (via group selection).
The eponymous key to the game’s plot is the “chrono trigger”.
This egg is one of two key items used to resurrect the protagonist Chrono, completing his reverse Behelit myth. Rather than sacrificing his friends to elevate himself, he sacrifices himself for his friends. This motif also appears in My Little Pony at the end of season 4, and is resolved in a similar fashion. The other key item is a clone, which suggests to me that the moral of the story is to praise the biological altruism of self-sacrifice, and suggest that the genes of such altruists will live on through the ability of their tribe to recreate them.
Faith: Continual cooperation with another individual in an iterated prisoner’s dilemma, based on pattern recognition applied to interpersonal history.
Hope: Cooperation based on poor information and dire necessity for the best possible outcome.
Blind: No history in a relationship on which to apply pattern recognition. E.g. A “blind” date.