Samaritrophia is the suppression of an overactive conscience by the rest of the mind. The conscience, in effect, commands and dominates all the other mental processes until, inevitably, these processes note that, despite everything, the conscience remains unappeased, and that the outside world has not even been microscopically improved by the unselfish acts the conscience has demanded, at which point, they rebel. Thereupon, the mental processes search out a new leader and find him in the form of Enlightened Self-interest, which unfailing appears whenever the conscience is stilled, and whose motto is: The hell with you, Jack, I’ve got mine!

In determining how much guilt and pity a person might be safely be allowed to feel, models based on persons with reputation for being normal have concluded that a normal person, functioning well on the upper levels of a prosperous, industrialized society, can hardly hear his/her conscience at all. Thus it would appear that samaritrophia is virtually as common among healthy Americans as, for example, noses. Consequently, samaritrophia is only a disease, and a violent one, too, when it attacks those exceedingly rare individuals who reach biological maturity still loving and wanting to help their fellow men and women.

-Paraphrased from Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater


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