Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Of Self Suspicions

Sometimes, when I am doing something charitable for example, I wonder about my sincerity in doing so. Sincerity I feel occurs when the actual act of charity and the motivations of the donor are aligned i.e. that the former actually needs and the latter genuinely wants to do that act of charity without any underlying motive. So when earlier I said I wondered about my sincerity, to be more precise, I meant I contemplated my motivations because they seemed to me vague and obscure. Why did I feel the need to do this? I have many theories all of which at first glance applicable and at second, incomplete. So there is no point in pursuing this. 

There is little point in considering a genuine charitable motivation situation because there is no mystery there. There is more interest in considering the 'false' motivation, in the sense that there are other more primary motivations involved, such as to boast about it later, to use charity as a cover for fraudulent purposes, etc. Is an act of charity stained by false motivation? Does it and should it matter to the donee? Are they really in any position to question an act of charity? Can the starving man turn away food from an asshole? And perhaps it is because I don't know I tend to theorize that since I am unsure, the answer was likelier to be found in the 'false' area instead of the 'genuine' area because I cannot say with certainty that I know what it truly means to have a genuine motivation, as I often tend to feel that genuineness means remaining unconsciouos of your motivations, and so the mere act of contemplating it, destroys that genuineness.

All that is left from this is a vague sour feeling sense of guilt but that is easily accounted for. 


KS Cheah said...

Interesting point. My view is that so long as the charity is needed and you can provide it, it is superfluous to even attempt to contemplate. As Nike says..."Just do it!"

In being charitable, there is always a trade-off whether it be direct or indirect. Even deserved feel good factor is replaced by guilt if one gives two hoots about giving. Even karma is by definition a consequence of the good and/or bad and the belief is that most of us are "doomed" to return to receive and/or pay.

I agree with you that genuineness means being unconscious about your motivations. If only we can just pertinently give without any second thought.

In the end we are left with the most effective self-preservation tool in our bag of survival tricks; self-justification. We can almost always justify to ourselves the good or the bad that we do.


asiseesit said...

this reminds me of the cartoon "dilbert principle" many, many years ago.

dilbert was telling dogbert it was his moral duty to give to charity every year without fail.

dogbert reiterated that if dilbert doesn't, what would it be to him?

dilbert said he will feel guilty morally for not doing his duty as an able citizen to help the poor.

so dogbert rhetorised it that dilbert is just trying to satisfy his moral guilt than to an actual need to help the poor.

sorry, but if you actually read that particular comic strip then, it is all so hilarous yet have a grave sense of reality we are facing now.

that particular strip actually got me hooked to dilbert cartoon since due to it's off-beat alternative realism.

i once helped a group of college students organizes a charity run for the m'sian cancer society. mostly because they needed guidance and them at an amazing young age (19) to be doing it.

i offered my help without hesitation eventhough my office workload don't seem to favour it.

after 2 months, it was a great sense of satisfaction and of course, a feeling of accomplishment knowing that the event had put in additional funds to MCS to at least help one more soul.

i think that itself is it's rewards seeing that i played a part in it.

mei1 said...

Good point there, Harun. I admit that sometimes I do give a second thought especially when it comes to money matter. I mean you expect to get some sort of return, for instance tax deduction, season's greeting cards, calendar. In contrast, I've no hesitation when i come across a blood donation campaign (provided that I qualify to donate). Anyhow, it feels good after doing it.

art harun said...

Dear Mei1,

As much as I would love to get the credit for this utterly brilliant and highly intellectual article, the fact is I do not have neither the intellect nor the self analytical ability to write it. This is an article written by the owner of this blog, Mr Daef, whose brilliance inspires me to sometime put 2 or 3 words together in this little corner of ours.

Thanks for visiting.

mei1 said...

Hi Harun, didn't realise that this blog is not belonged to you but Mr Daef. No wonder the article was relatively short compared to yours. You are too humble to say that you neither have the intellect nor the self analytical ability to write. To my opinion, both of you are equally great! :)