Pathological Altruism

We all know the type. I will help you until it hurts. I will help you so hard I will kill you. Now the pathology has a name: Pathological Altruism

From Selflessness Gone Awry, and the Damage It Can Cause – NYTimes.com:

As the new book makes clear, pathological altruism is not limited to showcase acts of self-sacrifice, like donating a kidney or a part of one’s liver to a total stranger. The book is the first comprehensive treatment of the idea that when ostensibly generous “how can I help you?” behavior is taken to extremes, misapplied or stridently rhapsodized, it can become unhelpful, unproductive and even destructive.

Selflessness gone awry may play a role in a broad variety of disorders, including anorexia and animal hoarding, women who put up with abusive partners and men who abide alcoholic ones.

Because a certain degree of selfless behavior is essential to the smooth performance of any human group, selflessness run amok can crop up in political contexts. It fosters the exhilarating sensation of righteous indignation, the belief in the purity of your team and your cause and the perfidiousness of all competing teams and causes.

David Brin,
a physicist and science fiction writer, argues in one chapter that
sanctimony can be as physically addictive as any recreational drug, and
as destabilizing. “A relentless addiction to indignation may be one of
the chief drivers of obstinate dogmatism,” he writes. “It may be the
ultimate propellant behind the current ‘culture war.’ ” Not to mention
an epidemic of blogorrhea, newspaper-induced hypertension and the use of a hot, steeped beverage as one’s political mascot.

Interesting phenomenon. The militant do-gooder is actually a filthy drug addict, just the drug is an endogenous opiate.

#OccupyWallStreet

I was tracking the #OccupyWallStreet phenomenon from when it was just a twinkle in Anonymous’s eye.

As usual, the Anonymous twitter leaders talked it up, and went ahead despite fairly withering criticism. Then it looked like it was going to flop.

Numbers were low, Tweets begging people to bring blankets and sandwiches to the occupiers were mocked by critics pointing out they had 6 months of preparation. And worst of all, the mainstream media completely ignored the protest.

Then the NYPD maced those women for no good reason, and the whole thing flipped.

Now you have a fairly interesting situation.

The Unions are involved. They scented the media attention and rushed in to share the spotlight, but what they have found is a typical “anonymous” rabble: No coherent demands, no focus, no agenda and no leadership.

The original band of hippies and griefers that started the protest have no been joined by semi-professional grievance mongers and it will be fascinating to see if the movement can actually articulate an agenda, or will diffuse into nothing.

The most interesting thing for me is that the media are no acknowledging Anonymous at all in their coverage. They definitely started it. It was an anonymous operation, and now its being hijacked by the Unions, it remains tio be seen what will happen.

See also:

  • Why Did Liberals Embrace ‘Occupy Wall Street’? (Hint: They’re Obsessed With the Tea Party.) [The New Republic]
  • Occupy Wall Street, another futile peasants’ protest [Fabius Maximus]