Every human being, regardless of their station in life, has an unquenchable thirst for making an impact, being a catalyst of change at least, if not the prime-mover. Of all the changes that mankind desires, alleviating the lot of the underprivileged is a perennial favorite. It probably is a reflection of our parental streak or perhaps the pack leader’s protective urge that harks back to our hunter days.
From the stone man, to the man who proposes with a “stone’, aspirations evolved with tastes.
Post the industrial revolution, the curve swung northwards. Amenities, creature comforts, mechanical substitution for human efforts, became the desirable elements. Amassing become a trend. Need was placed second. Display and ostentatiousness became the clarion call. The trend continued unabated during the IT boom of 90’s, and the early 2000’s, greed and not need were the driving forces. Then came the millennial’s. The younger generation, having being born into these comforts and conveniences now started seeking “meaning” and ‘purpose’ of their rat race.
To this satiated generation, “self-worth” is what drives them and while “the corner cubicle” is still the professional goal, the raison d’etre for one’s existence remains the eternal enigma and is something that every individual seeks. Is it to be a mere cog in the wheel of a giant corporation, or is it being the agent of change, of improving someone’s “less fortunate” circumstances? Not everyone can or wants to be the “Monk who sold his Ferrari”. Having said that, there has to be some middle path that would allow these people some method of balancing their professional madness with munificentic method.
Charity, to use a broader term, is the solution. Contributing to any noble cause is the new high. The fact that the world’s richest, for whom the world is their oyster, are leading in these altruistic pursuits is a clear indication that money is indeed, neither the supreme mover, nor the goal. For, money is merely a medium that acts as a means to an end and if the end brings joy to someone, relief to a stricken, hope to the despondent, then, that is a payoff that every humane person would want to be an instrument of.
Various scientific researches across the globe have irrevocably established the connection between the act of giving and the resultant euphoric feeling the giver experiences. Called a “helper’s high” (by wellness expert Allan Luks over two decades ago), it is the overwhelming physical phenomenon of the clichéd “warm glow” that fills the cockles of the heart with that indescribable warm and fuzzy feeling. It activates a very primitive part of the brain that is associated with sex and hunger, thereby proving that the mechanics of giving are as old as humans themselves.
So be a giver, an enabler, a harbinger of hope and see that “Cheshire cat” grin of owning materialistic possessions being replaced by a beatific smile because as is famously said “For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi