Friday, April 30, 2010

Good Ain't Good, If It Ain't Reciprocal?

A couple of months ago, I found a cellphone after working out at school. My mind raced:
- Should I sell it for $450?
- Should I return it to the owner?

If I were to sell it, that would've been my gas money for the next 2 and a half months. I had nothing to gain if I returned it. I certainly wasn't going to sleep easier, 'cause I sure as hell didn't care about whether or not some guy I didn't know needed a new phone because he was dumb/careless/absent-minded/whatever it may be to leave it there to begin with.

While I was looking the phone, I found a picture of what seemed to be dude's turntables. As someone who used to spin, I decided to go against my better judgment and return the phone.

After finalizing plans to return it...I began to think how this would benefit me in any way, whatsoever. I don't get a warm tingly feeling from "doing the right thing". I know that if I ever lost my phone, I probably wouldn't get it back. Given that premise, it made more sense to sell the phone and use that as a reserve for when I do lose my phone (because I most likely wouldn't get it back). But it was too late...I already told dude that I was gonna give his phone back.

What's funny is that I got absolutely nothing from this. Dude didn't even have the decency to meet up with me - and his girlfriend wasn't even hot. 

This got me thinking: what's the point of doing good, if it isn't even reciprocal?

Yeah, yeah, I know that the world could use less people like me...but does it make any sense to do something that doesn't benefit you whatsoever? I ended up just losing time and being late for a class - hardly even close to worth it, in my opinion. 


- knowledge


  1. What’s the point in doing good if you don’t get any reward or even at least an appreciation in the end? But what you really need to ask yourself is, “Why am I doing this?” I guess it’s natural for people to want praise, appreciation, recognition, or some kind of gold star for good deeds. That’s the tiny thought that stays in the back of our hard-wired altruistic mind whenever we help someone else. That means that if you do a good deed you expect that something good will happen to you, to be rewarded in some way by karma. Without those, we feel taken for granted, cheated, unnoticed, and disappointed. But that’s when the problem starts. If you truly want to do good, then expect nothing in return. If you truly are doing a good deed, you are doing something for nothing. We want to act out of kindness, not out of a reward. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and that is all there is to it.

    So what’s the point of doing good, then, just for the sake of doing good? For the sake of leading to strong relationships, friendships, keeping peace and trust. Ultimately, we do it for ourselves - for the sake of keeping peace with others, gaining their trust, for the sake of just wanting to do good deeds. You do it because it’s what YOU want.

    No matter how nice you are or how hard you try to do the right thing, some people will still be rude, self-absorbed, ungrateful jerks even after you’ve been polite and shown them kindness. Ever heard of the saying “No good deed goes unpunished”? When you help someone, you’re always risking something be it your time, effort, and energy. When doing good deeds, we all suffer a little consequence, but it’s okay because we’ll live. It’s just a temporary thing.


  2. Good to see you finally on-board, Joanna :)

    And what if it's not the appreciation or praise that you seek? I'm talking about it from a logical standpoint. Why throw away time, money, or effort for something that won't give back. Why would you invest in something that isn't going to yield results.

    Unless it's in your best interest, what's the point of doing good?

    I would argue that for the sake of relationships and friendships, doing good to them DOES have benefits, and might actually be worth something - since they're your friends.

    I guess if you get a warm tingly feeling, then that's a reason to do good...but I doubt everyone gets that warm tingly feeling.

    - knowledge

  3. What do you think about unconditional love?

  4. "It's hard to have faith in humanity when the most basic and rudimentary concepts of courtesy and respect can't even be honoured."



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