Hm. Going to try and make a post before my morning coffee. Let’s hope this makes sense.
Let’s begin with this idea that all charity is done with a ‘self interest’. I can certainly see how this idea is believed. I do not understand it because I think it is a very callous belief that can be used as an excuse to not help others ….but I can see how some people believe it.
I do not do what I do out of a sense of obligation, moral or otherwise (donation of my very limited free time and money to soup kitchens, shelters, musical events set up for the purpose of raising money for the homeless, etc), nor do I do what I do because it gives me warm, fuzzy feelings or relieves feelings of guilt (giving my very limited free time up to take care of my grandmother when my mother or one of my aunts cannot).
Donation of money has me fretting over my own budget (not a warm and fuzzy feeling there). Donation of time means less time for what I, as a human, need - less sleep, less relaxation time to unwind and mentally prepare myself for the next week of work (definitely not warm and fuzzy feelings there nor a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment when I am done). Donation of goods is a combination of both above - I spend money to buy clothes and food for donations as well as give time to make the trips not only to purchase but the trips to donate. Where I live there is no shelters, I have to go an hour north to turn in the donations at the shelter there. The closest church with a food bank is thirty minutes. That’s not only a lot of time on the road, that’s a lot of gas - which is money as well.
So - if I do not do this for the gratitude, the recognition, the sense of personal accomplishment, the absolution of guilt, the warm and fuzzy feelings or the sense of responsibility then why do I do it? What am I getting out of this that keeps me doing it? What ‘self interest’ is, as you two seem to think, driving me?
I certainly get no monetary value. I can tell you that the feelings I get when I go to the shelter downtown are more akin to fear for my personal safety/personal property than happy happy joy joy - the area is crime ridden and dangerous. It is a well known fact that the cops don’t even like to go into that area unless they absolutely have to. I give up sleep (it should be mentioned that I, on the whole, dearly love my sleep. About as much as I love my coffee) that I need - this tends to leave me feeling grouchy, not happy happy joy joy. I give up time for relaxing and mentally recuperating - this, without a doubt, leaves me temperamental, if not downright bristly when it comes to having to deal with stressful situations *also known as IO is being a bitch right now, tread softly or risk life and limb* Not warm and fuzzy there.