Do I want to give, or do I want to want to give? I'm not sure. I guess if I have to ask the question, that means it's the latter. That's sad. Well, I suppose that's still better than not wanting to give.
Let me clarify. By "give" I mean the broad idea of giving back. Whether it is in the form of charity, time, money, experience, helping a lady across the street, giving up my place in the grocery store line even when I'm in a hurry, etc.
Just about every piece of literature says that giving back is the ultimate form of happiness and freedom. There have been hundreds of studies done and thousands of anecdotal experiences that all point to the same result, giving back increases happiness. Not only that, but the counter side to this theory has also been heavily tested and studied. Selfish acts and forms of life generally tend to result in various psychological impairments, depression, shorter life, etc. Well, this seems pretty easy then. Why not just give more of oneself in the form of time and money and receive happiness and longevity in return. Isn't that the key to life anywa?
I suppose like anything else, it just isn't so simple. We are also pre-wired and programmed through millions of years of evolution to be selfish. Otherwise we wouldn't have survived and made it this far. And capitalism, which I'm generally a fan of, doesn't necessarily promote a philanthropic lifestyle. Not that it is against charity by any means, it's just a selfish system by design. Which is great because it forces competition and equal prices and opens up wonderful opportunities for all classes of people and many many other things, but it also instills a certain level of cutthroat drive/persistence/work.
As great as giving is, we still have to survive first, and then make sure our family survives. So there is definitely some inherent selfishness to life. But how much? And that brings me back to the beginning. I want to give based on everything I know and read and heard, but I also want to compete and win and get rich and save for retirement, etc. So I guess I want to to want to give. Maybe the act of doing it will provide the level of happiness that is so often written about, which will create a positive feedback loop and eventually result in wanting to give back instead of wanting to want.
So I just need to start. Get over my selfish ways and excuses and justifications and just start. Something, simple, something small, every day.