There are quite a few terms for various types of altruistic behavior, such as altruism, philanthropy, missions, humanitarianism, aid, volunteering, etc.
I am most drawn to the concept of philanthropy. The term is most often associated with ultra wealthy donors giving large amounts of money to charities. But the term originally meant much more than that.
Philanthropy derives from the Greek philos for “loving”, and anthropis, for “human being”. It is focused on love and the quality of life for humans. It derived in the 5th century from the idea of “improving the human condition, to save mankind from destruction”.
Philanthropy covers a broad range of altruistic behavior and is generally associated with big picture, foundational and long term commitment initiatives.
It differs from charity or humanitarianism aid in that these practices are largely focused on the immediate, and often temporary relief of the pain caused by a particular social or economic problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root causes of these “symptoms”.
Philanthropy is a term used for the love of humanity, in a sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing what it means to be human.
At its pinnacle, philanthropy transforms into a
symbiotically beneficial relationship.
The Delicate Act of Compassionate Acts
Here is a two part series I created on my podcast, Inipi Radio, that articulate my perspective on philanthropy, humanitarianism, altruism, missions, etc. If you are interested in a discussion on "Conscious Philanthropy", and what that could mean, I hope you'll check these out.
Philanthropy involves both the benefactor in their identifying and exercising their values, and the beneficiary in their receipt and benefit from the services or goods provided.
Philanthropy is naturally nondiscriminatory and inclusive. It involves consciousness, science, nonviolent resistance, politics, culture, self-actualization, and economics. Its purpose is to foster planetary harmony and vitality.
Philanthropy requires us to further our understanding of what it means to be human. It is motivated only by a desire to elevate the human experience.
Philanthropy is a commitment that requires copious amounts of patience, empathy, unconditional love, courage, and a deep reverence
for our cosmic interconnectedness.
(If I were betting on what it would take to create world peace, I’d say you could find the answers in that last sentence.)
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When I was just a child, I was fascinated with Africa. I've spent much of my life studying her many eclectic cultures, languages, and ways. When I was about 18 years old, I began studying the South African concept of "ubuntu", which speaks of our innately profound interconnectedness.
Many years later, I formed a small collective of philanthropists and storytellers where we could discuss, dream, and create together, all for the purpose of amplifying the Ubuntu message. It's a work in progress. I hope you'll check it out.