Humans are social being, a small part in greater society we individually live in. For every person in this world, we have nuclear family, whether we know them or not (as in orphanage) we have them. We are born not because a person want to have a child, but at least two person wants to (this is debatable due to the the advancement of technology), but nature put us that way in the beginning. Thousand years ago when our ancestor were wandering in savannah and jungle, they live and travel together in group to support each other. They rely on hunting to eat, and to kill an animal took a coordination of several people doing their job (spotting the animal, kill with spears, trapping, etc.). If our ancestor failed to do so, we won’t be on earth today.
No wonder we are a social being, constantly rely ourselves on each other in living. To drink a cup of tea, there has to be tea leaves collected by the farmers, extracted in a factory, delivered to our regular supermarket. Then we pour hot water using a dispenser to a cup made somewhere overseas (I bet there’s a made in China label in one of your cup). To live better, humans need to work together doing our own parts in the greater world. Like a cogwheel in a machine, each of us need to do our part to get the machine working.
The good news is naturally we are programmed to help each other. There are people who egoistically tries to shape the world according to his view, some of them radically. Even in this “individualistic era” people couldn’t stand not helping when people around us need it. Remember how the US residence united together after 9/11? Or what happen to France after the shooting last year? Family strengthen each other, neighbours watch each other, people unite, the world collide against terrorism. Even though you could say that people unite because they have personal interest in their own safety, that’s okay, because it is also our nature to flee from danger. Before a person feel safe himself, chance are they won’t help.
Being safe ourselves before trying to safe other is crucial, not merely a selfish act. What happen if the plane you are on suddenly had cabin decompression and you try to put the oxygen mask to your 2 years old first before you do? Not only you jeopardised your life, you also jeopardised your child’s life for not able to help the next scene (crash landing). It’s two side of the same coin, the desire to help and the selfish nature of human. And it doesn’t have to be contradict each other, perhaps by trying to fulfil our own needs first, we also help the other. How could that be? By trying to enhance your quality of life, indirectly you also raise the living standard of people around you, by stimulating them to work better and smarter to enhance their life. Worldly speaking, you could donate more money to charity of your choice if you are rich than average people could (not that every rich people do). Could the formula be:
Help yourself = help other ?
Help yourself -> help other ?
Or perhaps both of them are right?