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The metaphysical basis of altruistic proposals is, in part, sound enough. It teaches that we must clearly negate the illusions of individual existence if we would arrive at the truth of individual existence. The greatest of those illusions is that, in the external world, an individual stands separate, apart and alone. He does not. He cannot. Hence when the war compelled entire nations and entire classes within a nation to co-operate in many different ways in order to win it, this dire necessity showed them the virtue and value of co-operation. It made every individual realize that he was not merely a separate individual alone but also a member of an interdependent community. That is to say, the individual began to work for the common welfare because it was essential to his own welfare, too. At first he did it involuntarily and unavoidably, but he did it. And through the actual experience of doing so, a few individuals began to appreciate the ideal itself. But they were only the few: for the many, when the war ended, the outer stimulus to such an attitude also ended. So the altruistic ideal quickly sank below the horizon again.


-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 3: Their Presence in The World > # 228






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