“You’re only helping yourself.”
Everyone’s heard it, or even said it, a few times in their lifetime.
The idea that the altruist is not really an altruist at all, but a self serving gratification seeker, is nothing new.. but I fail to see the negative aspect of such a thing. Sure from a moral point of view, it might not be as admirable as truly sacrificing yourself without any reward at all, but the end result is the same.
I would even go so far as to say the byproduct; people getting helped, is much more important than the main goal which may or may not be gratification.
Let me be clear, I am not accusing anyone who is putting their life on the line helping others of being self-serving. Quite the opposite. But I do think that the increased feeling of self-worth, and the positive empathy you feel when helping others could perhaps unconsciously be part of the why for some, if not many of the people who lay down their lives to better the world. Even if that were true, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mean, the world could use a documented self serving reason for helping others.. what better way to inspire selfish people to truly help out?
And I’m not talking about the occasional donation to alleviate guilt here. I’m talking getting down in the trenches, and doing some hands-on helping. Continue reading