Despite my philosophy and best intentions, I seem to have become unselfish.
I give. Not just to those who I wish to gain from…but to a lot of people.
I do expect to gain from all I give to. Or I see it as a angle investor sees their investments: that I will have a net gain from all this giving, due to a few grand returns amongst a lot of smaller losses.
The thing is…the thing that I didn’t expect or really want to happen at all is…I enjoy the giving. I enjoy knowing that I have made someone’s life a little better. That I have increased the measure of positive in the universe.
I make unnecessary effort to make stranger’s lives a little better. To throw up a peace sign and a grin. Why?
I don’t know. For small things like this, I don’t really expect a return. Sure, there’s the psychological value of one more person thinking I’m a cool guy. A fuel to my self image. Yet as far as an actual measurable benefit to my goals, I don’t really expect or see one. And I can’t think of any specific instance in which I have seen one.
Is the enjoyment of the action enough of a reason to continue the action? Yes. Of course, for enjoyment is what I value most. But it’s still confusing…I still have no answer to the why. Why do I enjoy giving without expectation to receive?
I’m far from charitable. I don’t give to the homeless, the starving children, the whales that need saving. I don’t give to those who I don’t expect will use what I have given to make a significant impact on existence in some way.
Many of those who I do give to though, people like Chris from whom I gain a fascinating and beautiful story and lens to viewing the world, the attractive guy who gave me a cigarette, the bus drivers and baristas…I did not expect to gain from these interactions when I was in the act of giving.
I suppose, subconsciously, I give in the expectation of a net gain. A net win, both directly (though people giving to me) and indirectly (through people simply enjoying life more and being more formidable humans, which improves existence as a whole).
And, a little bit, because I want to put some of the giving back in this ‘universal piggy bank’ that has supported me through much of my life.
As Doug Bayne wrote, “I am a generous lover, but for selfish reasons”. I think I give because, at least in part, I gain from the act and often from the results.
Am I right? Have I escaped the poisons (and, perhaps, insidious) philosophy of altruism? Or am I deluding myself?
I think yes. I think that I give selfishly. Which, if I’m right, means that I truly do give.
Photo is from my first ever modeling gig a few days ago.