Altruism Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old altruism quotes, altruism sayings, and altruism proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Altruism is a barbarism. Love is the word.     

John Lancaster Spalding

Human altruism which is not egoism, is sterile.     

Marcel Proust

Altruism is a hard master, but so is opportunism.     

Mignon McLaughlin

Altruism is for those who cannot endure their desires.     

Mason Cooley

Altruism accrues little benefit to those lying cold in the gutter.     

Raymond E. Feist

Altruism is the best source of happiness. There is no doubt about that.     

Dalai Lama

Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.     

Robert A. Heinlein

Altruism is a fine motive, but if you want results, greed works much better.     

Henry Spencer

The most popular form of altruism is giving to others the advice you cannot use yourself.     

Evan Esar

Altruism is masked self-interest. Aggressive self-interest is a masked urge to self-destruction.     

Greg Bear

It often turns out on closer inspection that acts of apparent altruism are really selfishness in disguise.     

Richard Dawkins

Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society.     

Ayn Rand

A large part of altruism, even when it is perfectly honest, is grounded upon the fact that it is uncomfortable to have unhappy people about one.     

H. L. Mencken

Altruism is a brief phase through which some adolescents must pass. It is rather like acne. Happily, as with acne, only a few are permanently scarred.     

Gore Vidal

There is another kind of altruism that seems to go beyond that, a kind of super-altruism, which humans appear to have. And I think that does need a Darwinian explanation.     

Richard Dawkins

Infinite altruism is the basis of peace and happiness. If you want altruism, you must control hate and you must practice patience. The main teachers of patience are our enemies.     

Dalai Lama

Altruism has always been one of biology's deep mysteries. Why should any animal, off on its own, specified and labeled by all sorts of signals as its individual self, choose to give up its life in aid of someone else?     

Lewis Thomas

Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value - and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.     

Ayn Rand

Altruism does not mean mere kindness or generosity, but the sacrifice of the best among men to the worst, the sacrifice of virtues to flaws, of ability to incompetence, of progress to stagnation-and the subordinating of all life and of all values to the claims of anyone's suffering.     

Ayn Rand

Altruism is one of the most fundamentally social impulses, and doing things for others without expecting anything in return is core to what makes us human. This is why, from the day Facebook Platform launched in 2007, Causes has been honored to be one of the most popular applications, with over 140 million users.     

Joe Greene

Very usually, altruism is only the sublimest form of selfishness.     

Sri Aurobindo

Anonymity is the truest expression of altruism.     

Eric Gibson

The Way of our Master is none other than conscientiousness of altruism.     


The person who works for recognition devalues the work he does.... altruism's true name is always Anonymous.     

David Marusek

Altruism is an instinct for survival that may be in our genes--an internal force for goodness in everyone that begins with birth.     

James R. Ozinga

Altruism in nature remains an exception. It poses a puzzle, being in prima facie conflict with the survival of the fittest and most selfish.     

Peter Birks

Altruism is rarer than it should be among leaders, and that's a shame, because selflessness is key to being aware and avoiding a myopic view of things.     

John Mattone

Charity should be spontaneous. Calculated altruism is an affront     

Edward Abbey

Altruism is but a phantom in our world. Only the most foolish among us would believe that our first priority is not to follow the empirical evidence that leads to one's own self-preservation!      

Lary A. Sims

Altruism eventuates in all realities, else self-destruction consumes it.     

Guy Lozier

All altruism springs from putting yourself in the other person's place.     

Harry Emerson Fosdick

The root of happiness is altruism - the wish to be of service to others.     

Dalai Lama

Altruism is selfishness out with a pair of field glasses and imagination.     

Christina Stead

Altruism is innate, but it's not instinctual. Everybody's wired for it, but a switch has to be flipped.     

David Rakoff

Altruism became the sole legitimate motivation for giving a kidney. And it is a partial - I say a partial failure.     

Sally Satel

The altruism of foresters can serve as a motto for humanity in general: "We reap what we have not sown. We sow what we do not reap."     

Leo Errera

If you don't have altruism, inner strength, inner peace, attention, then it's a trauma. It makes a difficult life for you and for others.     

Matthieu Ricard

Altruism itself depends on a recognition of the reality of other persons, and on the equivalent capacity to regard oneself as merely one individual among many.     

Thomas Nagel

At the core, our motives are always self-serving, Kate. Altruism is a fog created by sly minds seeking to benefit from the energy and skill of others. Nothing more.     

Ilona Andrews

Altruism is written in everlasting and resplendent character on the Cross of Christ, and it was at Calvary that the centre of life was shifted from selfishness to sacrifice.     

Jon Weber

The practice of altruism is the authentic way to live as a human being, and it is not just for religious people. As human beings, our purpose is to live meaningful lives, to develop a warm heart. There is meaning in being everyone's friend. The real source of peace amongst our families, friends and neighbours is love and compassion.     

Dalai Lama

Gratitude: An imaginary emotion that rewards an imaginary behavior, altruism. Both imaginaries are false faces for selfishness, which is a real and honest emotion.     

Robert A. Heinlein

Altruism may be ... so fundamental, so essential to the survival of human beings that it has taken root in neurocircuitries designed for other purposes, finding its expression in numerous unexpected, but largely successful ways.     

Shelley E. Taylor

Which is more subversive-and corrosive-to believe in altruism or to see it simply as a cloak of self interest? Even if altruism did not exist, it would be necessary to believe in it. Pessimists in power are prone to despotism.      

Frank Prochaska

Altruism always lived in my heart. I knew it was there, I knew it from the start      

Charmaine J Forde