Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bullshit ft. Random Acts of Kindness

My two cents of random acts of kindness is a mix of my faith in humanity sprinkled with a layer of bullshit. Yes, being kind to people is great and especially doing it annoymously is extremely noble in my eyes. But what do you call it when people do these acts of kindness for attention? 

Take for example the multiple YouTube videos of acts of kindness: a man giving a homesless man a "winning lottery ticket", giving subway sandwiches or blah blah blah. 

Yes, these acts are very kind and I can admit that I popped a tear while watching some of these videos... but what if it was fake? Even if it was true, isn't the popularity benefiting the user in not only their image and reputation, but with profit as well. People have made YouTube as their career and is their main source for income. The more views one video gets, the Youtube Partner generates more revenue. Being "kind" to others also makes you "look good" and naturally, people develop more respect for you, but is that gained respect fake? 

Here is where the subjectivity comes in. People doing acts of kindness not for being kind but for their own personal gain. Some argue that there is no such thing as an entirely selfless act. They argue that every act that we do no matter how selfless we think it could be, always has something gained for the person whether it would be that good feeling of pride, reputation boost, money, or other factors when doing these "random" acts of kindness. 

Some might ask me, so what Tam? Why do you care? One may argue that although people can be doing acts of kindness for the "wrong" reasons (or the reasons not entirely for what they intended it to be) they are still benefiting society and hopefully inspire other people to do these random acts of kindness. In a utilitarian point of view, it seems like everybody wins this way. Person A gains respect, the person that is being helped feels happier, and society can feel inspired and happy there are still (fake) people in this world who truly care about society! Why would you object to this Tam?

This idea even got more extreme as one CEO on a Linkedin article proposed for a Random Act of Kindness app where one can use the app to request a (not so) random act of kindness to their advantage. One user argued it seems like it was just a app where people scratches each others back because if you do them a favor, it is only right to return this act of kindness. 

BUT TAM YOU DON'T GET IT, this app can create more random acts of kindness in the world and overall make people happier!  My problem with this is that the intention is not there. It's like doing the wrong things for the right reasons. This topic is highly debatable but this was just my two cents. Leave a comment and add to the money jar? Let me know what you think.

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