The Balance of Giving and Taking
Childfree people are often attacked for being selfish. But this is not logical. Because the difference between selfishness and selfpreservation is the consideration of the baseline. In this case, the baseline is that people start into adult life without having children.
Selfpreservation is the insistence of not changing some circumstance by making a sacrifice, selfishness is the attempt, entitlement or success in getting more advantages than is conceded to the other, selfishness is exploitation.
The refusal of a rational woman to make the sacrifice to have a child is selfpreservation.
The dishonest tricking of an instinct-driven woman to get pregnant with a man, who explicitly does not want children, is selfish in favor of the compulsion of her genes. She forces sacrifices upon a man against his will.
The contrary of selfishness is usually considered as the altruism of making sacrifices. But from a logical point of view, the more important difference is between either the balance of giving and taking or behavior reducing the balance.
An egalitarian world can only function, if every body accepts the balance of giving and taking between the two parts of a couple and also between the couple and the rest of the world. That balance has to be accepted as a guidance by the own value system, by a self-restriction against taking unjust advantages, it cannot be enforced by power struggles. By a power struggle, there is only a balance, when the available powers are equal. Else the result is a hierarchy.
This means to apply all variations of the golden rule:
- Not to do to others, what one would not want to suffer oneself.
- To do to others, what they wish to have done to them.
But even better is the tit-for-tat strategy, to react by giving others the same kind of treatment as they have given themselves. If the first step in such a chain of interaction is a giving, friendly act, then this is prone to lead to a balance of giving and receiving.
There is indirect and direct selfishness. Both are based on a strong delusion, when seen from the perspective of egalitarianism, in which everybody is entitled to have the same rights.
Egalitarianism is rational in as far as it calculates that if all people by choice give as much as they take, then over a life time and with many exchanges, people probably get the balance and they do not have to fight for it.
Direct selfishness is based upon the entitlement delusion and often also the grandiosity delusions. Indirect selfishness is based upon the deity delusion that a deity in the afterlife will reward people for all sacrifices and suffering.
All instinct driven persons fight for resources, and I suspect, that this in a simplified manner leads to a hierarchy with mainly three levels. On the top level the direct selfish, who were more successful in the power struggle, the second level the direct selfish, who did not succeed against the stronger ones, and on the bottom level the indirect selfish ones, who do not attempt to fight, because they wait for their benefits in the afterlife.
Egalitarians, who also do not want to struggle, if they can avoid it, and if they are wise, just stay away from the hierarchy and keep to themselves.
In an ERCP relationship, to install a fair balance of giving and taking, it needs to know, what is fair for the two individuals concerned, by knowing the needs of each other, and the perception of the subjective value of what is exchanged. This needs a lot of communication to find an agreement upon a policy that prevents power struggles.