Effective Altruism

benjamin-franklin
The psychological phenomenon and philosophy of Benjamin Franklin

Hi everyone, Gustavo here with my first post!

 

Like most of us, today I came across a very interesting idea worth that kept me thinking and believe is worth knowing about. This is the idea of effective altruism which helps not only in the growth of our character but it also benefits our community and contributes towards the well-known greater good that so many others talk about.

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Check out the movie Hot Fuzz if you haven’t already seen it.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the term “altruism” – it is the common principle of being selfless and having an earnest interest in the welfare of others, even if sometimes it is at the very expense of the person who practices altruism. It is the very opposite of egotism and being of a selfish nature.

The truth is that there are varying degrees of altruism which interestingly enough are not only part of human nature, but it is also a principle that often seen as traits of other animal species, such as wolves who hunt in order to feed their wolf pups or dolphins who tend to the ill creatures of the sea. It seems that the act of being selfless transcends logic and seeps into the nature of most inhabitants of our beloved blue planet.


Coming back to people, some of the most well-known historical figures who stood out or caused great social movements were practitioners of altruism who often  advocated for teaching people about the acts of being selfless and helping others.

Such people include Mahatma Gandhi famous for his civil disobedience via non-violent protests against the unfair British rule in India and Africa that affected so many.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta the catholic nun who devoted the majority of her life to helping the poor in the slums of India and other admirable humanitarian accomplishments; and lastly Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the US, to whom people attribute a great deal of credit for his lasting legacy to help others.

The titular phenomenon named after Franklin himself follows an altruistic principle as well. In his autobiography, he wrote:

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

In other words,  if you do something nice for someone, then chances are they will return the favor. Reciprocate. A fact to which the opposite may be just as true. There are various historic figures and people worth knowing more about, and you can click here to find out more.

Regardless of whether one is to receive something back or not, the next are true facts and benefits about altruism:

  • Altruism makes us happy
  • Altruism is good for our health
  • Altruism is good for our love lives
  • Altruism promotes social connections
  • Altruism is good for education
  • Altruism is contagious

Simply put – being a genuinely caring person can go such a long way and in many ways.


Altruism while being Effective

I am not here to impose the idea that one should suddenly give up everything going in life to help those in times of need on the other side of the world. Instead, let me suggest that life to be seen with a different pair of glasses. More specifically, find the means to be efficient and effective.  An added perspective in which by implementing even a little bit of selflessness you will benefit from altruism while also helping the world and those around you. A principle that differs from altruism is effective altruism. Being able to accomplish the best you can do. As most in college around my age, we’re often concerned with being able to get the most we can under a set amount of time. The idea of being cost-effective and always getting the best bang for your buck. Effective altruism is very similar to that sentiment and it seeks the goal of being able to maximize the welfare while being as efficient as possible. I will leave an amazing TedTalk video by one of the world’s leading philosophers and leading researchers of effective altruism, Peter Singer, who effectively conveys this philosophy.

With that, I wish you all have happy upcoming holidays and may you keep breaking the limits and redefining boundaries.

Namaste,
-Gus

 

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