Portfolio Entry for Helping Behaviors

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  635 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

Helping behaviour is widely discussed by most philosophers because of its importance to society today. Helping behaviour is any voluntary action that is intended to help other people regardless of whether there will be a reward or not. It is considered a category of prosocial behaviour that is intended to benefit others such as comforting, helping, sharing and rescuing among others. Altruism, on the other hand, is a form of behaviour that is different from helping behaviour. Altruism is different in that one usually has a desire to help others even when the benefits are outweighed by the costs. A good example of a person who showcased the traits of altruism is Mother Teresa.

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However, not every person in the world today has the heart to act in altruism. So does a selfless act exist in the world today? From the movie clip 2012 there is an act of altruism when Dr. Helmsley manages to convince the world leaders to open the ark that was built for the elite in society in case of an emergency. With only fifteen minutes remaining, the doctor feels compassion for the innocent people that are about to be wiped out by an apocalypse. The doctor also shows a sense of responsibility and morality in his actions. From actions of altruism, people can get some internal reward for their selfless actions. From the movie, the doctor felt satisfied and contented that he was able to save people from being destroyed by the apocalypse. These are positive emotions that people feel when they do acts of altruism. This, therefore, means that is a person can put humans in a good mood, such as showing them cool places, and helping them escape a catastrophe like in the case of 2012 it means that such a person is more helpful and generous than they always are.

Another reward that a person can get from altruism is the reduction of guilt. In the movie, Dr. Helmsley felt bad seeing those people struggling to get into the ark. Some people had dropped into the mass of water while they tried to find their way into the ark. This act of hopeless people has what moved the doctor, and his conscious mind could not handle it. He therefore selflessly confronted the world leaders to open the ark for all people to save humanity. From this act, the guilt of seeing people perish was reduced from the mind of the doctor and the rest of the world leaders. This made them feel better about their selfless actions of saving people regardless of the time that was remaining for the disaster to strike.

Another factor that dictates and motivates our actions to help others is social norms whereby humans feel responsible for the misery of others. This social norm is always demonstrated by people in some ways. There are those who are involved in charity works and those who help the homeless by feeling the responsibility to buy them clothes and something to eat. The act of opening the gates and risking the lives of all the others including those on board was motivated by a sense of responsibility for humanity.

In summary, to explain the movie further, it was prudent for Dr. Helmsley to act the way he did even though his action could have caused the lives of the entire humanity. The doctor did not expect anything in return, but he was contented and satisfied of his actions. He was able to free himself from the guilt of having to watch so many people perish. This is what altruism is all about.


Kloser, H., Gordon, M., Franco, L. J., Emmerich, R., Cusack, J., Ejiofor, C., Peet, A., Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Firm). (2010). 2012. Culver City, Calif: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


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Portfolio Entry for Helping Behaviors. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/portfolio-entry-for-helping-behaviors

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