The Many Shades of Kindness

Really interesting article. I’m vey interested in the motivation for kindness because ultimately I guess that’s what we’re all gunning for right? To encourage more people to be kind. I wondered what people thought about the belief that many kind acts are driven by a subconscious - or sometimes conscious — desire to be seen to be kind within the social group? Does this make it any less valid that it comes from an ultimately selfish — or perhaps self centred — motivation? If the result is the same does it matter? In the Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins argues that kindness is a “misfiring” of genetic evolution which is a convenient exception for a man who wrote “The Selfish Gene” but there is some truth in what he’s driving at…. We may do kind acts for not entirely altruistic motives. Not many people would ever offer this reason in a survey but undoubtedly it clearly is a factor. So — does it matter?

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