What is Altruism?
According to Advanced English Dictionary:
“Altruism is the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others”.
According to Dictionary.com:
"Altruism is the principal or practice of unselfish concern for the devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism)."
I happened to teach this topic in my class a week ago. At first, the term ‘altruism’ seemed to be so advanced, so untouched to discuss. However, after I had to teach this in class and conducted a discussion among students, I finally realized that altruism is actually something we can do every day. Just a simple act of concern to others is a kind of altruistic behavior. Removing a stone/ branch down the street that might make people stumbled can be considered as altruism.
Before I go further with it, let me quote what scientists said about altruism:
Altruistic behaviour towards strangers is uniquely human and observed at very young age. Dr. Felix Warneken and Dr. Michael Tomasselo of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have shown that children as young as 18 months saw a stranger throw a pencil on the floor, none of them picked it up. However, when the same subjects saw someone ‘accidentally’ drop a pencil, nearly all the children picked it up.
You can see illustration in the following video:
Another thing, I be-chanced finishing reading a book about this issue.
This book tells about Conor’s concern towards children trafficking that happened during Maoist oppression in Nepal. He struggled to reunite the children and their parents in such a way that turned out to be something really worth for both of them.
On purpose, I browsed similar books having the issue alike in Goodreads. I gained a lot of books. Take some examples as follow:
The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam (Goodreads)
This is about a woman who got an experience of being sold into a sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. Years later, she used her bitter experience of life to be an activist against the powerful and corrupt forces that steal the life of hers and other girls.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof (Goodreads)
It is still about women fight against sex slavery. Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn undertook an odyssey through Africa and Asia. In the journey, they show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad.
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins (Goodreads)
Again. This is about women...
Gail Collins, New York Times columnist and bestselling author, recounts the astounding revolution in women's lives over the past 50 years, with her usual "sly wit and unfussy style" (People).
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortensen. (Goodreads)
A homeless mountaineer who followed a 1993 climb Pakistan’s treacherous K2 got inspired by a chance encounter with destitute mountain villagers and promised to build them a school--school especially for girls.
Another work of feminism, but this is a historical fiction.
Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is a twenty year old university graduate. In her social status, she can work, but her mother would be more satisfied if she has ring on her finger. Instead, she works hard to write a book about discrimination on social status representing black maids in her surroundings.
If I have to list down all the books with altruism topic, it would be tens or even hundreds of them. At least, now I know altruistic attitude is spread around the world. And, some of them happened to record their experience into books, something that might inspire us, you and me. Aand, as always, I have marked some books mentioned into to-read-shelf. I don’t know if I would be lucky to get the books J . Let me close this non-review post by taking some quotes from some writers:
“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”
― Kahlil Gibran
― Kahlil Gibran
“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”
― Brian Tracy
― Brian Tracy