One of our most bizarre social stigmas is against the trumpeting of good deeds. We are taught from birth that real charity shouldn’t bring attention to itself, that selflessness is somehow better when it passes undiscovered to all but oneself. But in a society of open-minded individuals, this paradigm may honestly be one thing holding back progress. This ideal which is taught across cultures and religions1 did apply at one time in the past when the world was not as connected as it is now.
The advent of globalization has done wonders to the standards of the First World, primarily that an individual need no longer live walled in by the limitations of social and governmental precedents. The communities we build online transcend these historical boundaries and cultivate a generation of people in which Indians and Pakistanis can laugh and play together. The world of the past needed such ideas as the discreet execution of philanthropy because an isolated and unconnected part of the world would soon succumb to grandiloquent exhibitions of self-righteousness. Some of the greatest architectural and political wonders of the ancient world were direct results of these sanctimonious displays. It’s very clear why such a stigma had existed universally2. However, things have since changed.
The problem with retaining this old tradition is simply that the world is now different. On one hand, isolated communities are no longer the norm in the developed nations of the world, but more importantly, the luxuries of globalization have changed the fundamental nature of human societies. Many of our life philosophies no longer come from our ancestors or books, but from the influences of our peers. Our generation of transcendence is proof of this. The world is connecting. If we are to be influenced by our peers, it makes sense that models of character should not be hampered by centuries-old traditions of hiding charity. Without the violent risk of small communities falling into ignorance and dogma, our thinking now needs to change. Whether we choose to announce good deeds or cover them in secrecy is not important. This very question focuses excessively on appearance and not enough on the deed itself. In reality, we should neither strive to publicize nor conceal selflessness. The nature of our choices should be discussed and debated to the fullest extent, indeed, with respect to the idea that good people influence good people. If the whole world were to clean up trash and leave conveniences in total privacy, there would be no more precedents of goodness left. Showing your positive intentions should not be shameful, for that only detracts from what can be accomplished by its effects.