The Kindness of Strangers


Walking back to the bus stop after going to the gym (for more rowing *crie*) I see this sign. It was in this little synagogue (totally forgot the name of it for a second) with a plaque out front.
On it was inscribed the quote that lies above. I’d heard it before, but in different words – that’s the thing with these ancient translations they’re all different but the same.

If I do not love myself, who will love me?

But if I only love myself, what am I?

The quote speaks of altruism and selfishness. In books like the selfish gene it’s hypothesized that giving is important. People in social circles, masters like Keith Ferrazi and Owen Cook discuss the merits of giving in a world of takers.

Again it is an argument of thesis antithesis and synthesis. No one extreme is correct, rather there is a middle ground a mixture of selfishness and altruism that is right for a person.

Giving may seem to not be beneficial at times but the rules and laws of reciprocity as dictated by luminaries like David Buss and Cialdini state that anything that you give, is returned back to you in greater magnitude, even if it isn’t apparent at the time.

Like just after I walked past the synagogue I went into a small bakery which I frequent occasionally. I only had £1 on me and the baker sold me a pie which usually cost double that to me. He acted out of kindness and I innately felt like I had to repay him sometime, so every Friday after violin I’m going to that little bakery and buying one of their products. While this example seems small and petty it illustrates how reciprocity works. If he was rude and churlish I don’t believe I would ever return to that bakery.

So be food to people, and also to yourself.


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