What have you done, or done without, to benefit most the least of us?
I volunteer my time to various charitable organizations. It is my belief that hands on is better than writing checks. I use public transportation and ride a bike, buy locally produced food, and am actively promoting smart growth in my community.
It may not be much, but as a single working man with two children to support, I do what I can. I encourage my children to contribute to the common good. They help me do maintenance and rebuilding projects for for low income blind, elderly and disabled. On their own they have participated in fund raisers like "Aids Walk" etc.
I am many times disheartened by the selfishness of most people, even though I know it isn't their fault. When I feel discouraged I remind myself that self centeredness is part of the American culture. The only thing in this universe that I have a modicum of control over is myself.
I obeyed my parents. By transivity that meant "volunteering" to many and various activities that served immediate family, extended family, friends of the family, church, school, and community.
That may not sound like much, but I was the only male child in a traditional right-wing family. A lot was expected of me as part of parental identity. Since there were no other boys, they had no other object on which to project their backwards narcissistic ideals, and I sacrificed a lot of dignity. I did not stand up for myself when I should have, for things I didn't want or need to do, that I shouldn't have had to do, and that should have been better if I chose to do them, etc. I sacrificed independence and the joy of going about life my own way, as well as the ability to recognize that when it happens. They did not understand the concept of freedom at all, just obedience to God and tradition.
I'm still young, but I think the best sacrifice you can make for the world is to let the people you care about make their own decisions. Don't try to manipulate people for their benefit, especially when you think you know better.
I do a lot of the same things that Skyhunter does (ignoring the children I don't have), but I don't consider any of them to be "sacrifices." It's not like I've given up anything. You can argue I've given up my time to volunteer to tutor people, but what else was I going to do? Sit on my ass for three hours a day?
There is no sacrifice that can be truly beneficial. All action between two or more people is either mutually beneficial or not beneficial at all. One can no more sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others than one can benefit from sacrificing themselves to themselves. Value can not be given without an equal exchange of value, otherwise it is the value itself that is ultimately sacrificed. Even the ultimate exchange of ones own life for a value worth gaining or keeping can only be maintained if by this exchange the value one dies for is preserved.
Does Dmstifik8ion's post count as "overly speculative?" :tongue2:
Game theory blows some of that stuff away.
I educate myself the best I can. And on the rare occasion that I see folks eager to learn, I take great joy in teaching.
(this is in response to the question in the OP, not the thread title)
Exactly, when I saw this thread title, the first thing that popped into my head is; the blood of a virgin lamb? :tongue2:
I agree with LYN to a point. There are times when I would rather do something else, so in a sense it is a sacrifice. However, there is a certain satisfaction when you hear the clients of the blind center talking about how they can now use the kiln to make pottery because the roof is no longer leaking water onto it.
nothing. And proud of it.
Wrong. You flipped burgers at a fast food joint, didn't ya?
I also did not make ny sacrifices per se, but I did act as I thought requierd by the circumstances at the time. I marched in Montgomery with Martin Luther King, at some risk to my life, as i was approached with hostility at least once. I skipped hour exams for this and my grades suffered (i had done the reading).
Later I demonstrated peacefully in support of a draft refuser from the Vietnam war, when the police asked the reporters to go home so they could "end this quick". Ultimately I ended up in a Boston emergency room that day with 6 stitches in my head from a plain clothes policemans billy club. While he beat me I protected a fallen but uniformed pliceman with my body from the crush of people driven forward by the rogue police.
As I grew more observant of police treatment of innocents, I vocally defended a young man falsely arrested for fighting after he ahd ben beaten by thugs, when the police were to lazy to chase the perps, but arrested the victim instead. In response the police threw me in jail, tore my clothes and threatened me.
I turned in my draft card in protest against havingthe privileged position of deferred student, was promptly drafted, refused, and had my draft records forwarded to my tennessee draft board for prosecution. my case was included in the spock trial, where the poor pediatrics doctor was accused of corrupting my mind and those of other people of conscience. I was saved from up to 20 years in federal prison when the courts began throwing out cases of conscience.
Later i stopped paying my income taxes for two years (after accurately reporting the amount owed) since they went largely for war. The government ignored my reasons explained clearly in a letter, threw away the letter and treated it like a non payment case, preferring not tell their own collections people that there were citizens who risked jail to oppose the war.
Ultimately I ceased all these activities out of weariness and inability to function and have a family. I soothed my conscience that I waited until Nixon (of all people) got us out of vietnam. But I have not done much of anything on the last 30 years. I still refuse to apply for grant money even for harmless geometry research, if the money comes from DARPA.
For those who are younger I will say this: I never thought there could be a worse president than Nixon, but W is so much worse there is no question. Nixon was not an idiot, and had some concern for his image in the history books. There are apparently few things worse than a leader who is both unintelligent and self righteous. Ask some other people of my age what they think. I have heard lots of people say these things. Even from the world war II veterans era.
Sacrifices are unnecessary, just do what you think is right, but be a little prudent. Stay out of jail if possible, but at least vote.
I work and take care of my family.
I would add that you have donated a good amount of time to PF.
I had a political science professor who rode with King on the busses. You two have probably crossed paths but I don't remember his name anymore.
Thank you for the kind words Ivan. Your comments remind me of a Sanskrit scripture I once heard specifically on the value of sacrifice.
It went something like this:
Bringing a bullock to the altar, making donations of alms, even giving ones body to be burned - all these things have less value than the giving of encouragement to people.
Oh, and I gave $200 to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004. Best investment I've ever made.
I eat meat to make sure domesticated animals don't overtake the world
fortuitous comment corbett, someone may be motivated to up their donation to the other side to keep up.
Now that is a sacrifice.
But I suspect you eat it for the taste.
I make other people sacrifice themselves for me. It works.
No one said you shouldn't enjoy the sacrifice, after all...
...animals are nutritious and delicious.
On the other hand, altruistic acts have their own intrinsic reward, if not material reward when the favors are somehow reciprocated.
I'll bet by human habit (whether it be you taking advantages of situations without considering what impact it may have on others or earning the favor of the people you give to, or even recieving material reciprocation) there's not much difference between your gain and loss if you lead an 'altruistic' lifestyle.
ironically enough, there's been plenty of greedy, desperate, and twisted people that push technology and thought in a direction that has 'helped' humanity in the end. (Hitler and Newton to name a few).
It's hard to say what negative or positive influence any of your actions will have on the rest of the world in the long term. If you agree with that statement, than you must recognize that any short term satisfaction gained from altruistic acts are similar to the stroke an owner gives its cat.
Sir, I agree with one hundred percent. I think this is a very interesting point to bring up; how many people have caused unspeakable damage or misery in the name of good (or at least their interpretation of it). Perhaps it sounds like a glass-is-half-empty outlook, but the overall ramifications from a persons actions are as impossible to predict as any other small change in a complex system. It brings to mind the idea that a butterfly's fluttering wing can eventually cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.
Should people really act with the intent of changing the world for the "better" without fully understanding the implications of their actions first? You might say, "then how can we act at all?" The answer is, I don't know that there is an answer actually. I should be in the philosophy forum for this one...
i know these were meant to be jokes, but the stuff abiut emat atsting good reminded me of my stint as a vegetarian. actually meat hasa rather one dimensional and repetitive taste. it is the fat that people like abut eating meat, or red meat at least.
vegetqbles have far more taste then meat, especially when sensitively spiced, but it is subtler, and this art is mostly unknown in the us, but highly developed in india.
still it is a lot of work to prepare good vegetarian meals with fresh ingredients every day, carefully prepared spices, including protein from dahl, and milk products. it is easier and quicker to grill beef or fish, but it uses up more of the earths resources. as we all know by now, it actually takes more grain to produce a beef animal than one gets in sustenance from the steer.
but we like our food quick, fatty, and easy, at the expense of others on the planet. i also stopped vegetarianism because of the hassle. now i am overweight.
Picture the life that benefits from one's generous work.
Separate names with a comma.