March 6, 2009
Humanity is capable of great acts of kindness, and unity. Alas, in general, the human race is full
of naturally selfish beings, who at times, commit acts of kindness. It is rare that an act of
kindness is committed selflessly. We may be a great race of people, but we are a race of people
who look out for ourselves, and only help others when a reward is likely.
After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush was at Ground
Zero giving a speech to the firefighters and construction workers of New York and shouted
passionately, \u201cI can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these
buildings down will hear all of us soon\u201d(ABC News, 2001). The crowd erupted into a united
cheer of \u201cU-S-A\u201d. George W. Bush was doing a great thing for his country; he was attempting to
bring them together in a time of horror. In doing so, he was also trying to improve his own
political ratings, and some would argue, push his political agenda forward.
According to Craig Biddle of Capitalism Magazine, \u201cAll religionists\u2014Christians, Jews,
and Muslims\u2014are altruists. Their holy books demand it\u201d (Biddle, 2006). If followers of God are
committing acts of good because their religion says they must, then these people acting on selfish
impulses. They are not being \u201cgood\u201d strictly for the sake of others, as they do so to ensure a
pleasant existence in the afterlife. Of course, any act of kindness is \u2018good\u2019, but every act of
kindness is not necessarily selfless. Many humans treat others kindly in the hope that it will be
returned to them in some form down the road.
The old saying, \u201ctreat others the way you want to be treated\u201d is a prime example of
committing acts of kindness in a hope that they are fed back to oneself in the future. If you are to
treat others kindly then, according to the saying, they will treat you the same way in the future.
So you are only good to another person, because you wish for them to be good to you down the
road. When you are kind to a person and they do not return that act of kindness, many will be
filled with anger.
It is common courtesy to hold a door open for a person walking behind oneself. It is an
act of kindness because the person one is holding the door open for does not have to go through
the effort of opening the door for his or herself. It is natural for the person to say \u201cthank you\u201d for
the door being held open. If the person were not to say \u201cthank you\u201d, then the \u2018door-holder\u2019
would become angry that they received no gratitude for their act of kindness. This scenario
shows how bitter humans can be when they commit a kind act, and receives no recognition in
Political philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed that humans looked out only for
themselves, and cared little of others when their own safety came into question. In his book,
Leviathan, he stated that \u201cthe condition of man [\u2026] is a condition of everyone against everyone\u201d
(Hobbes, p.89). Hobbes felt that humans would be willing to fight another man and take his
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?