Sell a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and you’ve ruined a wonderful business opportunity. – Karl Marx (1818-1883)
In past ponderings, I have self-debated the existence of ‘altruism’. After years of experience, I have concluded that altruism is no more possible than infinity backward. Most of us are more familiar with the Chinese proverb and idealistic version of the above quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” One might say that the Chinese sentiment sounds too good to be true, and others that nothing in life is free. Better to not be presumptuous, and at least offer the generous man something for his lesson. I can not find a footnote anywhere in nature which gives an example of a lion who just decided to let the zebra go or the spider that spares the fly. Marx has touched on a very real characteristic of human nature. That said, there are those who although they can not prove infinity backward, certainly believe it. I suppose that is faith or love, and if lions and lambs will one day walk together, a human can teach another human how to fish and expect nothing in return except that little tingly feeling you get knowing that you did the right thing.
Here is to all of us who walk around doing the right thing, just think, we may have missed our chance to be capitalist icons.