The tension/philosophical problem of “altruism versus self-interest” is resolved by coming to a place (one of some kind of humility) from which one sincerely appreciates and respects and identifies with the strivings of other people and sincerely wishes them well. If your sincere desire is that another do well, you can be completely “selfish” while at the same time in an open emotional state, not cut-off, not tight-and-miserly-with-one’s-concern. The “contradiction” evaporates and is gone.
“Altruistic” often seems to connote a state of reluctant self-sacrifice. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just saying it is possible to get to a place where you sincerely wish other human beings well. Think about your relationship with your friends or possibly your family: in such cases, there is often no conflict at all between your will and theirs–in fact, your wills mutually reinforce and bolster and love one another.
Also, this is what we’re talking about when we talk about communism. We’re talking about creating a whole world where economics and politics are set up so that this kind of mutual well-wishing is fostered. Not at all in a brainwashy type of way but in the same way that capitalism, in its material (economic and political) set-up alone, encourages the opposite. The set-up of communism would make it natural and reasonable and prudent–and each individual could easily come to this realization by themselves without any pushing or trickery–and see that, indeed, no miracle and no trick: we have just achieved a situation where it makes complete rational sense to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself.
The ideology of mutual well-wishing is strongly antagonized by our society’s current material arrangement and STILL it pops up. This strongly suggests that we would have much more of it in circumstances in which the material conditions actually fostered it.