TED Conversations

Jesus Zuazo

This conversation is closed.

Do we really care for others or just think we do?

We talk a lot about how bad the world is, what we could do to improve it. Sometimes we give money to various charitable campaigns or even take part in a project, but often ignore the sadness, loneliness or illness of our closest neighbors. How much good can be done just to give a bit of friendly conversation to someone? How many times have we dodged a homeless man on the street as we come to give money to charity? Do we act and we are engaged? or we deceive ourselves to feel good?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 6 2013: We really do care for others as we think we do. This is innate. Unfortunately this trait can be discouraged by the cynical, by those who champion greed, by those who go around saying things such as,"Nice guys finish last" and "You'll never be able to help everybody,so learn to cast a blind eye upon the less fortunate" and others whose hearts have somehow fallen into questionable places. They are not without compassion, mostly. Oh, a few may have been struck with such devastating fortune as to truly be able to consider nothing beyond their own personal welfare, but thankfully such people are exceedingly rare in today's world. They are generally found only in areas where an entire community has been visited with extreme deprivation. No, when we hear people speak in ways that discourage kindness and charity, we are called upon to counter their arguments. Just as we are inclined to practice kindness and charity, we must also be inclined to speak out in favor of it.

    If we act to help others, then we help others. Generally they will forgive us if our hearts are not in the best of all places as we do so. We may be deceiving ourselves about how engaged we are, this is true. How many in a world that so often tells us to take care of ourselves first can truly put ourselves second when engaging with someone in need? Forgetting about ourselves successfully can take some practice. And as in all things, including all good things, can be overdone.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.