Peter Singer, the Australian Philosopher and moralist, seems to be everywhere I turn lately. He has a Ted talk, website, etc. He is also not without critics. As for me, I will say I am not sure about his answers, but he asks good questions.
Altruism that Peter Singer advocates is based on recognition that a negligible part of your income can save or improve many lives. His book will make you look differently at how you think of money. He offers one an opportunity to improve people’s lives, always a good thing.
But the question is bigger than altruism. The advent season is a paradox as it is currently celebrated. Generous and kind acts are on every street corner, and the stories one hears bring tears to my eyes. But it is also a time where greed and materialism are on display, as well. My barber told me yesterday about people buying up all the most popular children’s toys, and then selling the items on E-Bay for staggering mark-ups. The example she gave was that a certain Barbie dollhouse was being sold on E-Bay for over ten thousand dollars. Who would do that, and what parent would spend that much?
As one becomes older, Advent season for many of us becomes more temporal and spiritual. Material needs are few, good health and act of kindness move to the top of the Christmas lists. It is a good time to ask oneself about the rest of one’s time, “Am I doing the most good I can do.”