BW: I detect the scent of Marxism, a natural consequence of assuming that altruism IS morality and that social control is the only legitimate objective of human action. The individual is nothing (since he is automatically selfish) and the collective is everything (because it flows toward an equilibrium of needs).
BW: If altruism is merely a pretext for satisfying individual needs, how does that relegate "responsibility" to the individual? They aren't responsible for any of their acts (as you characterize it), so their acquisition of "social control" is entirely dictated by their proximity to whatever happens to be the "social equilibrium" of political power. An individual can't have any "control" over others, since the actions of all those others are predetermined by their social position: both the controlled and the controller are just selfish cogs in the collective machine, governed entirely by the pursuit of equilibrium.
BW: You seem to be asserting that all animals (particularly humans) are naturally selfish, but pretend to be altruistic in order to acquire friends, who will fight other groups in the mindless pursuit of a collective equilibrium of power. That's a pretty bleak view of humanity, but probably consistent with the Marxist "class struggle".
BW: After assuming that altruism is the primary characteristic of ethics (morality), and then asserting that every altruistic act is a mere pretext, you now assert that it is an obligation. Strange. Of course, in your view (as presented above), all acts are determined. Therefore, there can be no such thing as an "obligation", which is a requirement imposed on others. Human actions dictated by others are irrelevant if every act is determined.
TSW: "Society can sponsor those actions it considers altruistic by providing the kind of macrocosm in which altruism is likely to occur."
BW: If EVERY individual is merely faking altruism (as you suggest), then why would society - or political leaders - be any less devious? In some respects, politicians are even more hypocritical, since they *never* sacrifice their own money for altruistic motives: they simply take it from one group and give it to another. IF altruism makes any sense at all, why shouldn't the poor "fake" altruism by giving their money to the rich?
BW: Just for context, I think the altruistic ethic is incoherent, illogical, and perverse. For the most part, I agree with Ayn Rand (though I disagree with her improper use of the word "selfish"):
TSW: "The basic point of this chapter is that humans are microcosms too: portions of the universe, matter in motion."
BW: Except that *everything* is a "microcosm" - and simultaneously a "macrocosm" - relative to something else that is smaller/inside or bigger/outside. Certainly, there are vastly more internal mental processes (matter in motion) for humans than for any other entities in the universe.
BW: Generally true, but this ignores the *kind* of processes that occur in every brain. Human brain processes are obviously quite distinct from those of other animals, or vertebrates, or simians. What you assert here may be true for all of them, but it doesn't enlighten us on the unique *human* qualities of mind.
TSW: "... altruistic acts [are] ... univironmental interaction in which the motions of the microcosm appear to benefit the macrocosm."
BW: Your jargon is getting in the way of what you're trying to say. Is it that individuals (microcosms) "appear to benefit" the collective (macrocosm)? Are you saying that's just an illusion, or is it an intentional deception, as you seemed to advocate earlier? Why is self-sacrifice *by everyone* a benefit to everyone in composite? Won't "gives" and "takes" equal out in the end, with a zero-sum game the only result?
BW: I'm going to postpone the next chapter to offer my view of free will, determinism, and ethics. Then, I'll resume discussion of your chapter on The Social Microcosm, which offers little more than flippant dismissals of "free will" and a superficial analysis of social interaction.