TED Conversations

Emma Roulette

This conversation is closed.

Why be a good person?

If everyone in the world were altruistic, the net amount of suffering would be lower. But If I am selfish, my individual suffering is much lower than others'. What then, does one do?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 31 2012: Dearest Emma, First of all, it is not true that 'selfishness' reduces your own individual suffering. It may preserve your gains, but the totality of one's index of happiness and fulfillment does not come alone by what we have gained and retained. Love - the process of giving of oneself for the benefit of others - is a gift we give ourselves by directing empathy and care to others. So, whether you are motivated by altruism or selfishness, loving others is the best guarantee for assuring your own contentment and fulfillment. So there you have it. Your best guarantee for assuring your own happiness, and reducing the suffering in the World is simply to Love.

    If that appears insufficient, perhaps you should actually heed your name; Emma - which means 'God with us'. One of the most profound covenants in religious history is to 'love God and others'. The best means for achieving this is to simply accept the spirit of God - which is both the essence of Goodness and Love, within us. This is what some people refer to as 'Grace.' Once God (Goodness and Love) is actually within us, it becomes quite natural to be good and loving to others. So, the answer to your question of what to do? Simply affirm your name Emma; Let God be with you. Amen.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.