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11 September 2008

I like to do "do-gooder" things because I find them fun and interesting... actually helping others is a secondary motivation. Am I a bad person because I'm not completely altruistic in my motives?
No. I think you have to enjoy it, if you want to do it long term and not burn out.
posted by DarkForest 11 September | 19:07
Do what you enjoy. Be happy and have fun. You're not hurting anybody by being a do-gooder. You're actually helping people, or trying to anyway!
posted by LoriFLA 11 September | 19:10
When I was heavily involved in a volunteer org, the main reason was social activity for my depressive, self-isolating personality, and feeling good about myself.

I'm not sure that even Mother Teresa would qualify a pure-as-the-driven-snow altruism test.
posted by stilicho 11 September | 19:27
Doing good is doing good, no matter what your motivation is. Of course, it might be even better to do good in a different way, but that doesn't make your charity less helpful.
In Judaism, we have a ladder of giving which goes through a few different types of giving and ranks them based on your motivation and the end result. But all of them are valuable and any way you give is good.
posted by rmless2 11 September | 20:11
As long as you don't lie about it or use moral justifications as rationalizations or worse.
posted by ethylene 11 September | 20:11
Oh, here is a better explanation of the ladder, if you are interested:

1. The lowest: Giving begrudgingly and making the recipient feel disgraced or embarrassed.

2. Giving cheerfully but giving too little.

3. Giving cheerfully and adequately but only after being asked.

4. Giving before being asked.

5. Giving when you do not know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient knows your identity.

6. Giving when you know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient does not know your identity.

7. Giving when neither the donor nor the recipient is aware of the other's identity.

8. The Highest: Giving money, a loan, your time or whatever else it takes to enable an individual to be self-reliant.
posted by rmless2 11 September | 20:17
According to Immanuel Kant, yes. According to anyone else in the world, no.
posted by Jaltcoh 11 September | 21:45
I actually think people who are do-gooders because they think they "should" are on the wrong path, and may even end up creepy. I'm a do-gooder because I find it more interesting and meaningful than other paths -- not because I'm focused on Helping.
posted by Claudia_SF 12 September | 00:10
"Pretend to be good always, and even God will be fooled." -- Kurt Vonnegut
posted by DevilsAdvocate 12 September | 10:35
rmless2, that is so interesting! Thanks!
posted by small_ruminant 12 September | 12:01
Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still the right thing, or else it wouldn't be right, right?

posted by SpiffyRob 12 September | 14:12
Aw, you bunnies || A metaphysical world in which color is your guide