Just found out about a very good blog called Greedy Goblin, mostly about how to make gold in WoW but also based on very intelligent insights which I fully agree with. One of the best Greedy Goblin posts is this one about helping other people.
When I’m playing WoW, I’m constantly befuddled by the kind of requests for help that come up from other people. Some people in guild will ask “does anyone have any spare (item X)? I need it to make (item Y)”. The first reaction I have is “why doesn’t he just get it himself? he can buy it, farm it… why ask if someone can give it to him?” This probably stems from my own personal character in that I never like owing others, even if it’s well meant. If someone walked up to me in the street and said “I have 50 dollars, you can have it” my first reaction would be to refuse.
But what’s even more bewildering is how most people in this world seem to think that helping everyone is great and wonderful. There are people who really will give him whatever item he’s looking for, because they are in the same guild. Those naked mailbox dancers in Ironforge and Stormwind really earn money. Why? Because the majority of people don’t understand that they are not “helping” them, they are making the problem worse. The only one who benefits from their actions is themselves, because they then walk away with a fuzzy feeling of “I’m such a wonderful and generous person”. Frankly, I believe the real reason why the notion that helping others is good is very simple; they want others to help them when they need it. This is the fundamental basis of many human laws. Why is it wrong to kill others? It’s not because a human life has any particular value more than a ham sandwich, it’s because you don’t want others to kill you with impunity.
Why isn’t helping really helping? People are basically simple creatures who are driven by incentives and rewards. This is part of human nature. If they can get something for free, why would they ever bother to work for it. Why do people ask for instance runs? I’ve leveled 5 characters to 70 perfectly fine without them. Why do people ask for money to buy skills or gear? I have plenty of gold levelling by myself because I don’t waste it on green items with +2 stamina that will be replaced in 30 mins.
If these parasites keep getting “helped” by well-intentioned fools, they will never learn because they don’t face the consequences of their own stupidity. When I was the warlock class leader, I never told people who asked me “item X is better than Y”. I always tried to tell them what each stat does, and from there try to let them make their own decision. I didn’t post strats saying move here, wait 10 secs, spin around 360 degrees, then press button 3. I tried to tell them what the boss does and why they should try to avoid it. Point them towards www.wowwiki.com or one of the multitude of good blogs out there so that they can help themselves.
The same goes with real life. I will never ever ever donate to any charity. Why? Because I don’t know the people the money will go to. Why should I give money to an old folk’s home, where it might go to benefit some old guy who gambled his life savings away playing mahjong, spent his youth smoking and fighting in gang, and annoyed his children so much that they didn’t want to have anything to do with him? Of course, not all the people are like that. But the point is that I can’t control who my money goes to. What these people really NEED is to suffer the consequences of their actions. The young guy who picked up smoking because it looks cool deserves to lie bedridden in a hospital with lung cancer, while his wife works 22 hours a day at hard manual labour to pay his hospital bills. With the cries of his starving children echoing in his ears. NOT get free medical care at the expense of everyone else.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should never ever help anyone else. Some people are genuinely unlucky and circumstances beyond their control resulted in hardship for them. The point is that charity shouldn’t be expected; when it comes, it’s a favour. It’s not the responsibility of others to clean up your own mess. People shouldn’t expect or receive help if their predicament is entirely a result of their own poor decisions. And most of the time it’s definitely not for the benefit of those “being helped”. Very often what people “want” and what people “need” are two very different things, and I wish more people would wake up and realise that what morons need is a good kick in the pants.