Gratitude and Entitlement: Selfish Altruism

Normally, everyone is happy to receive a gift but there are times when a gift isn’t welcome. Imagine being given something you didn’t even want in the first place and being told that it was the greatest gift anyone could give you and that you should feel grateful because of it. On the other side, there are people who feel responsible for whatever good fortune you have and try to take credit for it by holding the word “ungrateful” over your head.

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[A Repost] A Single Story | A TedTalk

As human beings, perspective is something that constantly limits us in our ability to understand the world and our ability to empathise with others who don’t have similar perspectives. In this TedTalk, the speaker Ms. Adichie details some stories in her life that led to false expectations and false realities in her own life. I think this is very relevant today when we are often blinded by “a single story”. In psychology, this is called the representative heuristic where the most available example of one thing is taken to represent the whole of that thing. This thing can be a race of people, it can be a place or it can even represent things like political and economic systems. When you only hear one perspective about a thing and it’s the only story you hear, then your knowledge is incomplete and you risk making serious mistakes based on your incomplete knowledge, one of which is your choice in what to vote for. Be informed and seek out sources besides news to inform your choices.