We are all selfish.
There is no such thing as a truly altruistic person, someone who gives and really expects nothing in return. I am not, and neither are you.
When you give a donation for a ribbon, you aren’t “raising awareness” of the cause. You’re saying, “Look at me! I gave money to something worthy!” When you give the Girl Scouts money, you expect delicious cookies in return. When you buy a charity lottery ticket, you expect a dream home.
On October 28, I am giving blood. And I can guarantee you, on that day my MSN name will be declaring it to all my friends. Because it feels good if people think you are a decent person. As an added bonus, I expect there will be delicious cookies and maybe even a sticker or ribbon to advertise my good deed to the world.
But, to paraphrase my favourite TV doctor, “If the end doesn’t justify the means, what does?” It doesn’t matter if I’m actually trading blood for a cookie. What matters is that the Red Cross has my blood. It means I’m less of a saint than you might have been led to believe, but no less than any of you schmucks.