Tuesday, April 6, 2010
the global motivation behind philanthropy?
Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber whose harrowing experiences in the Himalayan mountain ranges and the poverty-stricken Pakistani culture inspired him to raise funds to build a school for learning-starved Pakistani children, quotes Sir Edmund Hillary from his book, Schoolhouse in the Clouds. Sir Hillary, who had undertaken a similar endeavor to build schools for Sherpa communities in Nepal, writes, "Slowly and painfully, we are seeing worldwide acceptance of the fact that the wealthier and more technologically advanced countries have a responsibility to help the undeveloped ones . . . not only through a sense of charity, but also because only in this way can we ever hope to see any permanent peace and security for ourselves." Is it sad that the people of the world who are most comfortable with their situation are those who must be goaded to helping others with the promise that it will in turn give them an added sense of peace and security in their position? Perhaps. But perhaps it is better that a man help another grudgingly or with deeper regard for himself than that he leave the poorer to wither and vanish.