Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
Most of the people who are the least virtuous have the greatest need to be seen as virtuous.
It takes a special kind of person to be willing to spare their resources for someone else. Especially if that someone else is a person that we do not know.
We would be willing to support someone we know in a heartbeat. In some cases, if the relationship is very close, we might even agree to spare everything that we have. But most of us would not be willing to spare even the bare minimum for someone that we do not know.
Most people that I have seen do not have the heart to give.
When billionaires say they are donating, most of it just buying favours. Even so, as if to prove the point, wealth does not reflect a willingness to give. Gautam Adani is competing to be the richest man on the planet, look where he is on the list.
Strikingly what I have found is that a poor person with limited means is often far more willing to make an act of generosity that would leave him on the verge of bankruptcy, than the rich in the world. I have seen this first-hand. When I have been in situations where my entire bank balance was a thousand rupees I would be far more willing to part with five hundred than when I have had fifty thousand in my account.
At the heart of it is the fact that it takes a brand of selfishness to get rich.
Every rich person walking on this planet is selfish, without exception. This also explains why nature has had such a price to pay for that wealth.
What I find amazing is that even a person who is insanely selfish does not wish to be called selfish. They want to be seen as virtuous.
This is the programming of our society. This is exactly why religion exists.
Further, some of these most selfish people are the ones that would organise dinner galas for donations. If a donation was all the goal was, they can very well donate silently, there is no need to make a show of it in public. But the truth is that it is not about donation at all. It is about virtue signalling and about the status games that allow one to play.