Unless you are Pol Pot or maybe Ted Bundy, you shall agree that all lives matter.
However, are you a believer that every life matters equally?
If you have answered with an immediate and emphatic “Hell Yeah !!” , do allow me to pose a couple of rhetoric questions.
Have you bought a life insurance for the benefit of a charity?
Would you save a drowning enemy soldier if he had killed your mates?
Whether humans are innately selfish or altruistic has been discussed for hundreds of years.
It may be never been answered.
However, this scientific study by David Rand reveals that the less time that one has to deliberate, the less selfish one will act.
Therefore for the rest of you who are still mulling over the question, it is likely that your eventual answer will be a muted no.
After all, it is not politically right to say that your life matters more than someone else.
In truth, most of us do believe that the lives of those who we love matters more than a stranger.
It seems impossible to care about a random Italian painter in Rome or a budding footballer in Buenos Aires.
Since we do not know them personally, it is natural to care less about them.
If we are honest here, we are being a little selfish.
It is simply logistically impossible to take care of everyone.
The Inspiring Everyday Hero
That is the same reason why we are in awe of selfish acts.
Adel Termos threw himself at a suicide bomber in Beirut, thus saving lives of many other while sacrificing his.
We love the story of kind Samaritans such as Kermit Kubitz who help save a 15-year-old girl from her assailant but end up being stabbed himself.
In the local context, the recent passing of SR Nathan had brought back the memories of his great deed in the Laju incident.
It was not just his poise in the face of extreme pressure that inspired us.
It was that he had placed himself in grave danger in exchange for the lives of the hostages.
They were heroes, not just because they were courageous.
They were so because we knew that they had to put their lives on the line to save random unknown people.
Deep down inside us, we were unsure if we would risk our most precious life in exchange for saving a few other strangers in similar situations.
We would definitely do that for our beloved family and possibly friends.
A bunch of outsiders? Doubtful.
The Rise of Extreme Altruism
With the advancement in technology and the advent of online journalism, we are able to access to stories of ordinary people around the globe quickly and easily.
Go to your Facebook now.
I bet that you will have at least a story about a stranger in your news feed.
Due to increased visibility, it has given some a new perspective.
No single life is more valuable than another.
Say hi to extreme altruism.
To the extreme altruists, every life matters equally.
They do not care for themselves more than anyone else.
If they do, they will feel a sense of guilt.
Extreme altruists feel obliged to work for the betterment of everyone.
Not family or loved ones.
Literally every single living soul on Earth.
They scrimped and saved as much money as they could and donated them to charities.
Every time they decided to spend on themselves, they needed to weigh their consideration against the needs of others.
In fact, they felt that they were selfish whenever they splurged on themselves.
To be clear, they did not make their decisions on a whim.
It was not an impulse instinct like what David Rand had discovered.
They contemplated carefully and finally made their choice of being selfless.
Incapable of unequal love
Given that extreme altruists love everyone equally, it seems natural that they should be applauded for their lack of self-centrism.
We love our heroes, don’t we?
It was pretty much the opposite.
Despite their unconditional love for everyone, not everybody like them.
If you are going to love me like any other outsider, I am going to reciprocate in kind.
There is no specialness in their love.
Extreme altruists do not love you more because you are family or friend.
In fact, you are more likely to feel that they love strangers more than they care about you.
I knew of one extreme altruist.
Tim does not realize that he is one but he truly loves everyone.
When we were school-mates, Tim would give almost all of his allowances away to charity.
He would go hungry.
When his parents came to know about it, they were angry at him for not taking care of himself.
His actions were frowned upon by his friends.
Tim would seemingly prioritize helping complete strangers over his own friends.
When we informed him that he was been taken advantage, he would go on a moralistic high ground.
In fact, we would blame him for being selfish for sticking to his ideals than to do what seemed right to us.
It was difficult to understand Tim as a friend.
Only upon realizing that he is an extreme altruist, everything clicks.
He is incapable of loving you any more than other despite that you care more for him than a stranger.
Who is actually selfish?
From an arithmetic standpoint, he definitely has more love in his heart than most of us.
The problem is his love is spread so evenly that no one can really feel it.
It is akin to spreading your butter so thinly on your bread that you cannot taste it.
Extreme altruists are thus viewed as selfish beings.
They do not care about returning the favour to those who love him or her.
Their systematic way of planning their next good deed without a thought about their close friends and family are kinda selfish from an angle
It is ironic, though.
Someone, who think that some lives are more equal than others, has judged other who do not share the same opinion as selfish.
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong.
An extreme altruist would judge our preferences for loved ones as a selfish agenda too.
It is just a matter of perspectives.
Perhaps ordinary folks like us can learn to extend our love a little further and help those in need.
As for the extreme altruists, it is no shame to treat your family and friend a little better.
After all, a little compromise is what the world needs at the moment, isn’t it?
Whichever camp that you are rooting for, be sure to look into insurance as your tool of care.
Whether you are buying for your close ones or for everyone, you are sure that your love will not be extinguished even when you are not around.
That, my friend, is true love.
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