Matthieu Ricard + Altruism (A4)

Matthieu Ricard gave a lot of thought-provoking insights regarding altruism. What stuck out to me most was the three tiers of life:
-Short end of the economy – “The ups and downs”
-Present – What is the quality of life?
-Long term – The affect of environment

It’s interesting to question the basis of why people do things, why they act the way they do.

Matthieu’s main points for allowing altruism to be a guide for behavior are as followed:
-Enhancing cooperation
-Sustainable harmony – reduce inequality – do more with less – grow qualitatively not quantitively
-Caring economics – common good
-Local commitment, global responsibility
-Extend altruism + dare it

Basically – the feeling of empathy is not sufficient enough – People need to think of the greater sphere of love and kindness.

You need to train the brain to behave with altruistic love.

My Viral Media Lab Post:

I really enjoyed Matthieu Richard’s TED Talk. The points that he brought up had such validity in terms of the positive affect that it would bring upon society. The theme of the TED Talk focusing on changing the current mindset. I think this would be incredibly beneficial to educated children early about altruistic behaviors and compassion. This way, as they mature, they can build off of a somewhat altruistic foundation – hopefully also altering learned behaviors and mental processes in a positive manner. I just think that we have to think more critically about how to implement it and take into account the different cultural norms for the most successful implementation possible.

Two important subjects that came to me when watching the TED Talk was how people feel when they give and how closely they are aligned with this image of the type of person they strive to be. The later brings up the issue of social status and influence, specifically called social proof. Yes, the majority of these people want to implement a positive intention in becoming more altruistic – but what is really pushing them to do it? What are the factors behind that? People assume the actions of others to in turn reflect the “correct” behavior on themselves. It’s all a mater of social status and selling your image to others. It’s interesting to think if people are genuine in their altruistic behaviors, or if they have some underlying benefit for showcasing this behavior.


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