The Spirit of giving

By Betty

Today we see more and more people on the road side with a sign “Vietnam Veteran- please help” Many of us wish the light will turn green quickly so that we do not have eye contact with the person. Singer’s argument is simple. We ought to save a child from drowning unless we are risking something as valuable as the child’s life. He then explains that as many as 27, 000 children die every day (about 18 per minute) from poverty that could be easily and cheaply helped by existing charities. Singer asks the reader to imagine just how much they could give up, starting with bottled water, before their only possessions would be of a value anywhere near that of a human life. The book next addresses common objections to giving. For example, Singer explains that having a right to spend our money any way we want does not change the way we ought to spend it.

Singer references specific psychological studies to try and uncover why citizens of richer nations do not donate as much as they could. He mentions psychological theories including an evolutionary history of our ancestors. The author continues that humans are very capable of establishing a society where giving is the norm, and cites groups that have empowered one another in this way. Singer hopes that a culture of giving would allow individuals to fully admit to themselves how selfish some individuals have become with their money. He contrasts billionaire Paul Allen, who spent $200 million dollars to build The Octopus – a 413 foot personal yacht that requires a crew of sixty (according to some estimates, that translates to saving 200 000 lives)[2], with individuals like Paul Farmer.

It is difficult sometimes to think about another person’s problem until or unless it is in front of us. We make assumption that someone else will come to their rescue, or if I turn the other side, I will not see and it will not affect me. It is even easier to sponsor a child in Africa, Haiti or Asia and have their pictures sent to us. Cognitive dissonance is a scratchy feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas concurrently. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have ability to decide.  The terms Drive theory is based on the principle that organisms are born with certain physiological needs and that a negative state of tension is created when these needs are not satisfied. When a need is satisfied, drive is reduced and the organism returns to a state of original and relaxation. According to the theory, drive tends to increase over time and operates on a feedback control system, much like a thermostat to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. Human beings are Social animals who are affected by their thoughts, feelings and behavior, and influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. People are prone to social influence even when no other people are present, such as when watching television or following internalized. Following a choice, such as buying a new car, expectations can clash with experience, as when the car does not fit its garage. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. Despite contrary evidence, people are biased to think of their choices as correct. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.

Today 7/31/10, CCAAFP has a fundraising to start a  Transitional Housing for At Risk, Abused and Neglected children, the question would be ‘why should I give/donate since I live in a neighborhood where there are no such children’.

Filed in: Finances, General • Saturday, July 31st, 2010

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