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Author: slowlythere Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3080  
Subject: Re: Can altruism, benevolence be taught? Date: 12/6/2006 3:47 PM
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Everyone, thanks much for your replies, thoughts, and experiences! I wish I knew more people like each of you in my real life. It sounds like each of you have raised all of your kids to be conscientious and active about what they can do for others.

Unlike your families, my nephew's family is far from philanthropic in any sense whatsoever. My nephew has been coming to me for general guidance largely because I am notably different from the rest of the family. He just barely has any sense that I do any type of volunteer work; the rest of the family really has no clue that I would "waste" my time and energy this way. If it's not about the accumulation of my own material wealth and status, they disdain it. Broadly speaking, they are people-users (manipulators), not people-helpers. They often participate in schadenfreude, can be malicious, vindictive, or merely indifferent and unconcerned. When they see homeless, impoverished, or neglected (not talking about panhandlers or beggars), they will make statements like, "they deserve it," or "tough luck." That assumes that they even notice other people around them. If they hear of tragedies in the news, far from being sympathetic, they sometimes laugh or judge victims in some fashion. They have the attitude that they are immune, or too good (deserving?) that such things would ever happen to them.

They make Ebenezer Scrooge (the before, not after) seem like an angel, at times. At least he was miserly: he didn't generally gloat, nor revel in the misery of others.

It's hard to make a connection about "why" it's important to respect or be openminded to people we don't know directly just because "it's a good thing" as oppose to respecting them because "they might be good [materially advantageous] to know down the road." How do you go about teaching (or showing) someone to go from using people to caring about them? Maybe it's too late for some, but I'm wondering if it's possible to teach or show anyone.
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