Altruism: To The One Who Needs It has been edited by Pratichi Sadavrati.
disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.
I have been taught this in one or the other way, back in school and while growing up: to work for people without expecting anything in return. To be selfless. To be kind. Honestly, I did everything I could. I tried being selfless, I sacrificed, and also tried acting like a saint in the world of “moh-maya”. But now that I think of it, it makes no sense to me. It feels like working on an article for a year and then seeing it go under someone else’s name. Makes me nothing but a ghost writer, the one no one knows.
It left me feeling like I was committing a crime against myself, the kind I wouldn’t be charged guilty of. It felt like I was stuck in boat, with the obligation of saving everyone because that is what I have been conditioned to do. Why? Because that is exactly what I have been taught all my life: to be selfless. And every time I think about it, I die a little inside. My conscience
kept on asking me how could I be just to the world, when I couldn’t extend that to myself?
How could you truly be a philanthropist when the people who claim to be one are rarely true to the deed? When the world who taught you to sacrifice has barely done you any good? Tell me, is the world really living up to this idea?
When I decided to put my head into this concept, I discovered that there are three existing theories. These three theories divide the entire world into different categories. First deals with “convenient altruism.” Second deals with the traditional and conventional/traditional theory of altruism. Third deals with the one I personally favour, where altruism towards self. .
The Theory of Second Handers:
The second handers follow the theory of “convenient altruism”. They feed themselves or make their lives entirely dependant on the person who lives on his own values. It is like Rahul Gandhi blaming Bhartiya Janta Party
for his incapability. This is not it, they make the individual believe that whatever they have achieved is because of them. The theory of convenient altruism rejects any idea of working for others with no self-interest. It preaches to make others work for you in the name of altruism and giving something in return to the society. Looking at the present world, the theory seems to be the ‘ruling party’ of the world.
The ‘By-The-Book’ theory of Saints:
The theory of saints is what the google quotes. They believe that the sole purpose of their birth is to work for the society without expecting anything in return.And that they are free from the worldly pleasures. Their religion is to just serve the people and show them the right path. However, here, no one asks us what path we want to choose. It is like making a beggar dependent on you by feeding him every day without anything in return. And you do this in name of altruism because this is what should be preached.
This theory explains altruism in its truest sense. It asks how can the term self-interest
be coined without the word “self”? What is it?
It is like a puzzle where every piece has its importance and uniqueness. The pieces of the puzzle consist of self-worshipping, selfishness
, interest, and justice. And the best thing about the puzzle is that if you complete it, it will lead you the word altruism
The first piece conveys it importance by telling that an individual, lives their entire life for themselves, to feed themselves and to achieve a certain level of satisfaction. When they feed themselves, they do it on their principles of morality for their own profit. When I think of profit, it leads me to the second piece i.e. selfishness. Selfishness is that element which refuses the idea of thinking of any other person before yourself. These two pieces lead to the third piece of the puzzle which proves the idea of self-worshipping and selfishness correct. Ego provides you with the fuel in the form of faith to make you stand on your morals once you have known your work. It makes you egoistic because of the love for your work and thinking about it without compromising in the name of well being of people.
All these three pieces take you towards the interest of making you see yourself as an entity, as a whole and feel your soul. It leads you to live your life your own interest and your betterment. And all of this takes you to the last piece of the puzzle, justice. Living up to yourself, your morals, your ideas, your interest and ego of knowing who you are leading you towards the word term Altruism. The term which I think the world has always mistaken as the doing good to others. According to me, altruism in its truest essence rejects the idea of selflessness. It is the concept of worshipping yourself as a creator, an individual who lives on their rules. A person who worships themselves and is the creator or the destroyer of their fate. A person who gives justice to their work for their betterment and not only of the world.
Nevertheless, it made me realize that I, at least do not belong to the class of people who follow convenient altruism. I think I am standing on the wooden bridge, somewhere in the middle confused where to go. Which path shall I take and what would I become, a saint or an egoist? I don’t have the answer, but I refuse to feed on someone or make someone feed on me.
One day, someday, a time will come when this term will gain its true defintion. Till then quoting Ayn Rand
from the book “Philosophy: Who Needs It
”, “The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” An altruist, however, will answer: “Yes
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