"You don't pay love back; you pay it forward."

The title strikes me, and is a direct quote of Lily Hardy Hammond in 1914, when she coined the phrase "pay it forward". Too many times you can't return the favor and wish you could have made a contribution in at least some kind of way.

Altruism is a trait that demands a lot more than consideration or empathy or understanding. It demands sacrifice. To justify altruism as a trait to aspire to, it takes a step out of our comfort zones. It demands we give up time, money, energy. To give up these for the greater good, for those in greater need than our own, to give away a portion of what we have, to give up in the name of charity, to some it is giving up a portion of what could make us successful, happy and comfortable, to others it is affordable within our means and necessary for changing people's lives. That is saying; some see a priority in their own success, happiness and comfort, aiming for an unrealistic future when all conditions are perfect when then is the time for giving; others see a priority in getting involved in life, being proactive, making a difference to others.

I have thought so much about how to make a difference. Altruism does not have to involve the poor, the oppressed, the sick or the elderly. It can be; volunteering for community activities, such as sports, building a community spirit to combat crime; local support schemes such as community watch or drug rehab; it could be living a single live dedicated to being an activist; it could even be giving away a significant portion of your life to raising kids, which by the title of this page would probably be impossible for the younger generation to payback in return, and is one of the noblest forms of altruism there is. Each different way of paying it forward can be seen as a network model.

In an ideal world, total altruism would be shortlived. Once all assets are depleted there is not more to give. There is a need for self-sustainability and self-sufficiency, living our own daily lives working to get by and maybe live a little. However, in an ideal world, total selfishness would also be shortlived, because firstly not everyone can have everything, there is not enough opportunity or resources to give everyone in the world success, happiness and comfort.

There is a nice article which describes how the lower classes pay more aid than wealtheir classes. Those who have more, will give larger amounts, but as a percentage of their worth, poorer people give more. To quote the website: " It seems that insulation from people in need may dampen the charitable impulse."

In the sense that total altruism and total selfishness are dead end solutions in solving the worlds problems, a long term strategy is required where there is a healthy affordable means to make a difference. To truly make a significant difference requires large contributions of said time, energy and/or money over an extended period. The networks built in the pay it forward model, in developing families, communities, charities, can only expand where inputs of said resources are greater than what is consumed at the far end which is not paid forward. If the inputs are significantly greater than what is consumed unforwarded, then a significant event occurs where the value of the pay it forward network becomes realised by the public and the network expands and expands. You can see this in any fundraising event, new charity or community project, interpersonal relationships, where once the effort being put in to make it work and the end product is not waste, then the network in any form of altruism will become stronger, more highly connected, more nodes (such as more people), expand to gain interest from outside parties or other networks.

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
 For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
 For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
 For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
 For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
  People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
 As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”
Sam Levenson

 

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