The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism)
Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews, though the concept of “others” toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.
Altruism is a word that is seldom heard of these days, if at all practised. The modern world places demands on people that makes us as individuals very self-concerned with our own struggles, dreams and fulfilment without much thought for those of us who around or those who unfortunately have less.
How often have you passed by a homeless person with no thought or care for their plight? Or even worse judging them for their predicament?
Are you aware of the conditions that led to their demise? Maybe their all-to-human story would perhaps expose you to an ugly truth.
That there are legitimate humanitarian concerns would be intellectually acknowledged by most people. Issues like mental health disorders, drug addictions, sexual abuse and extreme poverty lead people to being homeless. These issues are issues that present homelessness as a victimization of individuals opposed to exclusively the personal failings of individuals. When presented in these terms as basic health problems or poverty, we see that they should be aided by government not hindered, marginalised or victimised.
Altruism isn’t just and issue for individuals but also for governments also. How many of the world’s government’s worry excessively about immigration into their country?
Most immigrants only want for a better world to live in, a chance to raise their families in peace without threat of war, crippling poverty, disease and starvation.
Yet these people are vilified for wanting to try and live the kind of life that we take for granted.
Historically most citizens of the world have emigrated from one place to another in hope of a better life……..yet this lesson in world history seems to have escaped the world we now live in.
Charity is a start and there are many ways that we all have given or suffered in the name of charity. But is it charitable to do deeds to raise money for a fantastic cause if there is some kind of self-benefit? How charitable is that act? Some may argue this point and say that charity despite the motivation is a worthwhile act and I would agree to a point…. If there never was any benefit to anyone in carrying out acts of charity, would any causes be championed? What if your religious/political views prevent you from helping people who desperately need your kind of help? No matter where it comes from or what motivates that help. At that point self-indulgent charitable acts breakdown and Apathy’s dark spectre creeps into your soul.
But did you know pure Altruistic acts of random kindness are a powerfully effective tool for elevating consciousness by re-establishing our inherent connection with each other and ultimately with ourselves. In the act of loving kindness and compassion you are passing on the message of hope and unity to all mankind through your selflessness and compassion. Like a bush wildfire your compassion for other’s acts as a tempest on the flames of understanding spreading the message of hope and loving kindness.
In doing so you are sowing the seeds of Empathy and Altruism in the mind of the recipient.
So let’s push things forward, next time you pass a homeless person or someone just needing help pause for a thought. If the roles were reversed would you expect a degree of human kindness? What about the basic necessities to survive? Do you really need that change in your pocket? Do you have some spare time to help somebody make their lives a little easier?
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life…”Nelson Mandela