This morning, I came across a whatsapp status that asked the question, “Have you noticed that generous people find it difficult to ask for help?”

I posted it on my Facebook and people gave different answers. In my opinion, Mutiat Toyosi Orolu’s comment best answers the question. She wrote,

“I think they are generous because they are empathic.

They also find it hard to ask others because they are empathic. They will think people also have their own problems and thus do not want to burden them.

These are my thoughts… I don’t have any data or scientific evidence”

Me: I agree. Let me buttress it. The question is about generous people, not a business man. A generous person renders help out of empathy and altruism not necessarily because of abundance of resources.

Having proper understanding of the difficulty in reaching out, it is easier to understand people and not have any sense of entitlement.

Let’s go into more details…

Under Consequentialism, we have ethical egoism and ethical altruism. In simple terms;

Ethical Egoism means an individual considers the consequence of an action on himself than the result whether it is beneficial or harmful to the society.

It should not be mistaken for egocentricsm or selfishness.

Ethical Altruism simply means to live for others. The individual is concerned about his actions that have best result on the society and not himself.

Henry Sidgwick, an economist and philosopher (Utilitarian) argued that, argue that a certain degree of egoism promotes the general welfare of society for two reasons: because individuals know how to please themselves best, and because if everyone were an austere altruist then general welfare would inevitably decrease.

Most generous people are altruistic in nature and may not want to bother others.

I have discussed this several times and my postition it that one needs to be balanced between the two. Rephrasing Charlie Chaplin’s great speech,

Our knowledge should not make us cynical, our cleverness should not be hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…”

Ask me and I’ll recommend being an Altruistic Egoist.

Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman


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