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Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.

I like to think that if I were put into a situation where I had the opportunity to step up and help others or to ignore it and walk away I would choose the first option. I think we all like to think that about ourselves. However, if you were actually put into the situation, what would you do?

Imagine you’re waiting at an intersection and an old woman is crossing the street carrying groceries when suddenly the bag breaks and she drops her food. Would you just drive by figuring she’ll take care of it herself, or would you pull over and run to help her?

The first thing that many people say is that it’s situational. It depends on what kind of mood you’re in, where you’re going, how difficult it would be to pull over, etc. If it were under perfect circumstances to help her, what would you do? If it would be completely out of your way to help her what would you do?

Unfortunately I have to admit to myself that if I was in a hurry somewhere or in not the best mood I probably would not help her. However, if it would be quick and easy for me to pull over I like to think that I would go over and help her.

Some more food for thought: do you think people do things like this for the satisfaction of selflessly helping someone, or for the recognition of their selflessness?

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