Social morality requires that the individual carry about a triple personal burden on his shoulders. He needs to act like he's about three similar people in the same job, family, relationship, or situation. It also demands that he give about five percent of his money, time, effort, heart, and soul to others. These two somewhat related moral obligations are the individual's sacred duty and part of the implicit social compact between all people at all times in the on-going, ever-present brotherhood of man.
Neither of these two social requirements hurts the Holy Individual much in the short term. Nor the long. The triple social weight is relatively light and easy to carry. The five percent donation obligation also isn't much to him, and he wouldn't get near full value from it anyway. So it's strategically wise and best to convert both into a kind of short-term investment in one's fellow man and social cooperation. It's a way to "pay it forward" and get a long-term profit for all.
And both of these moral duties -- it should be noted -- are acts of personal responsibility mixed with generosity and magnanimity. Neither is altruistic or self-sacrificial.
Altho' the figures suggested are approximate, it's important that the Sacred Self not act like he's more than, or assume a moral weight above, about five people, nor less than about two. The first would constitute social martyrdom while the second would constitute anti-social irresponsibility. Both are foolish and ill-thought-out. Both are evil.
So too -- even tho' it takes a long time and much experience to understand or believe this -- is wildly bouncing back and forth between the two. Things simply never "even up" or "balance out." The behavior just ends up being just two alternating types of evil. Moral goodness never actually gets done, and the world suffers without remission.
Similarly, the individual shouldn't dedicate more than about ten percent, nor less than about two percent, to "giving" or "charity." Almost always the first is social martyrdom while the second is anti-social irresponsibility. And neither generates the best return on the investment.
It should be noted that the donations should almost entirely be to friends and family, plus people and things the individual values. This results in the most and best return "gifts," and is an act of high morality and justice.
These two techniques, strategies, standards, and ideals are strategically wise and should best both "save the world" and provide the individual with the most massive return on his investments.
Most people are basically good. If almost all good people will participate in these two interpersonal behaviors and techniques, the world could become a kind of social paradise.
It's important to note here that when it comes to resisting and defeating social evil -- as opposed to collaborating with or even engaging in it - you need to carry a private burden all the way up to two-hundred or three-hundred percent of 'normal' -- not a logical-seeming one-hundred percent. This is because not all people will participate in this, and you need to make up for the slackers and free-riders. There is also because of the phenomenon that you -- as a self-interested, self-centered individual -- naturally tend to exaggerate your own pains, difficulties, and burdens while largely missing that of others. So you have to take into consideration, and make up for, that too.
If most other people socially and morally do as you do -- and they almost certainly will -- then your relationship with, and experience of, your fellow men will tend to be simply outstanding.
KYREL ZANTONAVITCH is the director of
The Liberal Institute