#1083 Altruism Back in the Day

Was Just How People Lived

Today we’re going to tap into some more wisdom from David Brooks’ The Second Mountain.

Let’s flip our copies of the book open to page sixty-four.

David is in the middle of describing the second mountain to us—telling us that it’s a life filled with moral joy that is a by-product of deep commitments to our marriages, vocation, faith and communities.

Basically: That it’s all about RELATIONSHIPS.

If your copy of the book looks like mine, you’ll also have a lot of underlines and asterisks and a big “WOW!” right next to this passage:

… it’s worth remembering that the concept of altruism was invented only in the eighteenth century. Once people decided that human nature is essentially egoist and selfish, then it was necessary to invent a word for when people weren’t driven by selfish desires. But before that, what we call altruism—living for relationships—was just how people lived. It wasn’t heroic or special.

← Isn’t that amazing?! 😲

The word altruism didn’t even exist until the eighteenth century!!

Before that?

Being kind and generous and selfless and “altruistic” WAS JUST HOW PEOPLE LIVED.

That’s Today’s +1.

Let’s rewind the clock.

Before Instagram selfies. Before celebrity culture. Before the “hyper-individualistic” mentality David describes so firmly established itself in our collective consciousness.


Let’s simply be nice.

And put others first a little more.


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