According to Steve Taylor Ph.D in his article Extreme Altruism posted on September 20 2018, one third of donors of kidneys in the United Kingdom are living donors. 11% are non-specified donors who have no connection at all to anybody needing their kidney. This may be great but shows that if altruism happens it is still only a minority who do it in an unmistakable way. Or is it that unmistakable? He found at the Living Kidney Donation in Manchester that these donors are usually people who have suffered greatly. They were in wars where they were nearly killed. And people who suffered serious illness were also donors as were those who suffered a terrible bereavement.

He writes, “Most acts of altruism are reactive- that is, we do them when we witness other people’s suffering or misfortune first hand, or through the media.” But, “It’s less common for people to be altruistic in a more proactive way, on a point of principle. It seems to speak of a more deep-rooted and unconditional compassion, resulting in what you could call ‘unconditional altruism.’”

He thinks such altruism cannot be explained by things such as you trying to look good in your own eyes. He thinks the answer is that we know we are all human “share the same essence” and this makes us feel that if some suffer it is something we are a part of that suffers so we are still involved though it looks like we are not. He calls altruism innate for this reason.

But if you feel the other is really you in some way and their suffering is really yours then that is an illusion. It is not altruism but illusion. And your intention is somehow to help yourself as in the 'other' you.