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Can true altruism exist in humans?

Can people really act with 100% altruistic behaviors; in other words, can people act in a way that solely benefits another individual without any type of material or emotional personal benefit?

For example, one can suppose that a type of gift given from one individual to another is entirely for the benefit of the receiver, but then we may also suppose that the gift provides some type of benefit to the giver (good feelings, potential reciprocity expectations, etc).
Is there any way for a human to perform an act such as this with zero intentions to benefit in any way?


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    Oct 10 2012: Pure altruism is impossible; we want to know our efforts are worth while.

    So, what then can we say about altruism?

    It's a strange concern. The altruism for one's family/friends seems to be the norm, but after your family/friends what then is the benefit of selfless acts?

    In a paper I been reading called "Social Incentives and Human Evolution" the author dictates when groups interact within themselves, altruism is a concern. How much does the group support the individual and vice versa? Altruism requires a give and take relationship. The 'give' requires an amount of sacrifice and the 'take' is the expected reward. When the 'take' is lower than the 'give' is that more altruistic? Thus, I believe there are degrees and levels of altruism. (The author argues we have evolved socially/culturally based on what the group(s) desires and rejects (gives and takes) - so perhaps history is vital to the concern of what is in fact a high level of altruism or a low one)

    I for one do feel we can be both altruistic and selfish while maintaining a good attitude towards life - it's a balancing act.
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      Oct 15 2012: I agree:
      No pure or 100% altruism!
      Our instincts (ancestors’ successful experiences saved in DNA) make us symbiotic rather than altruistic.
      Otherwise, humankind can never survive!

      That is why symbiosis makes us HAPPY VALIDLY.

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