Honestly, this is one question which probably arises in anyone’s mind especially, the one whose chips are down. Can we still expect Altruism from humanity in general? Why is it becoming a ‘Dodo’? Why is Altruism on the decline? But is it really so? Don’t rich people have problems? Are they totally satisfied in their lives? Or are they just masking their problems with a false facade of satisfaction and happiness?
No one’s immune except the ALMIGHTY
Trust me, it’s just the ALMIGHTY who does not have any problems at all PERIOD Rest of us mortals, all of us including the rich, filthy rich, ultra-filthy rich, middle class (upper, middle, lower), and the poorer people have problems. Some might argue it’s just the middle class which suffers – the rich don’t have any problems and the poor have the capacity to deal with the problems. Sometimes I think, the poor people really have the capacity to rise to the top. Because they don’t hesitate to get their hands dirty. And when push comes to shove, they are ready to do anything. The reason is sometimes their very survival is at stake!
Is Altruism dead?
Coming back to our original topic, is altruism really dead? I don’t think so. But with each new generation of human beings, the trait of ‘opportunism’ is getting stronger. And I think this has to do a lot with the nearly total demise of altruism. Yes, in today’s world, you can never trust anyone totally. But without trust and faith, it’s very difficult to move ahead in life. Many a times, if someone approaches you for help, you can in many cases trust your gut feeling and conscience. Of course, there’s a chance you might be wrong. But just like everything else in life, you have to take risks, at least calculated ones at that.
How do you trust someone in help?
If someone approaches you for help, what do you do? You evaluate your position – whether you can help that person or not and then tell him or her about it. But then, this depends on the person who’s asking for help. You just don’t ask anyone for help, right? The first people whom you turn for help are members of your immediate family and close friends. Blessed are those who have an understanding family and friends. But how does one get convinced to help a person in need or not? It’s by knowing the person completely. How can one know a person completely? By keeping in touch with your close ones on a continual basis.
When/Where shall we meet?
Until a few years earlier, people used to meet at least during weddings and funerals. Now, with people living far apart sometimes even poles apart literally, this is no longer possible. Everyone seems to have a ‘hidden agenda’! Don’t laugh, but I myself was surprised to hear this term from my closest family members and my ex-school mates. Earlier, friends used to meet in a mutual friend’s business location or a park, etc.. But these days, the focus of both family and friends has shifted to WhatsApp – this has become the new battleground for everyone. And even elders behave like kids here – where they vent their emotions, ‘hyped-up’ pseudo-patriotism and what not! Here family and friends render lip service to umpteen number of causes.
Use the ‘D@#n’ Phone, Stupid!
These days, you can call your loved ones even in the foreign countries for free. One should make a habit of at least calling whom you consider close once in a month. Then one can really understand what state the person is in. But you know what, even for calling, EGO comes in between. The first question Satan inserts in one’s mind is – “Why should I call the person first?” He is elder to me, why can’t he call me first? And if he is younger, then RESPECT and other virtues come to mind. He’s younger to me, he should respect at least my age.
I won’t scratch his/her back until he/she does it – Opposite of Altruism?
The second question which satanic Satan inserts in one’s mind is – “Did that person ever help me at all?” I have heard with my own ears about the gifts (monetary) to keep in a Muslim marriage. Here down south in India, Muslim marriages are loved by one and all, especially for the Biriyani and other sumptuous food fare on offer! So one guy tells the other – this was way back when I was young about thirty years back – let’s give 100 rupees as a gift – and eat about 10 pieces of mutton in the biriyani – then our investment of 100 rupees is justified!
Do something without expecting anything, at least once in a blue moon – Altruism
So, without any benefits, no one wants to help. But trust me, an act of just stroking your pet cat’s head releases so many happiness-inducing hormones like Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, Endorphins, etc. According to an Islamic Hadith [saying of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)], sadaqah (charity) extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire. He also stated that the believer’s shade on the Judgement day (Day of Resurrection) will be his/her charity.
So forget about just yourself every now and then, or at lease once in a blue moon, try helping those in need without expecting anything in return. And help keep the genes of altruism alive and kicking in this humanity until the end of this world. Happy living and letting others too live by helping them!!!