What makes a person want to help another person?

The purpose of human life is to push humanity ahead. There are some people that are crazy and want to see humanity fail, but those people are outliers. Majority of people will help others out when available, but why? What is there to gain from helping others? What would make a person go out of their way to benefit others? By answering these questions I am able to figure out one puzzling aspect of human life. From literature, media, and my own experiences, I have come up with my own simple explanations of why people help others, people either help others out of greed or free will and generosity.

Helping is a form of human interaction. Similarly, trading also requires human interactions. The basis of the economy revolves around trading, in which a service or item is traded for another. Similarly, human interactions can also revolve around “trades;” a person assists another in the expectation that they will get something in return. This greed and want of something from others are what promotes distrust amongst people because people are less likely to ask others for help in fear of a payment they have to pay afterward. Although, yes a person is still being assisted in what they need, but helping people in expectation of a gift in return does not help society be better, but instead creates a cynical society. From personal experience, I know that when I ask for help and a person expects something as payment, I remember to not ask that person a second time because I don’t want to go through the hassle of giving something to them just for their help. Imagine this, but on a larger scale; where all of society remembers to not ask for help. Is this form of helping really benefiting society in the long run? Although people are getting help this way, no, it won’t create a better society.

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It is natural that there are some people better at some things than others. With these superior skills, a person is able to assist another person in that particular domain of skill. This form of helpfulness allows for a more functioning society where everyone can do a certain thing well and they do that task for one another. This form of helping also relies on the trading of services. A sense of societal responsibility is required for this to work because people need to be able to work well and trust one another in order to not turn this into people just helping others for self-gain. Personally, I don’t think I have ever implemented myself into this type of society, but I have experienced exchanging my services or items for another. Whether it is exchanging notes with friends or trading food, my circle of friends has helped each other out. We do this out of friendship, not because we have something we want out of one another. This is a form of helping that will produce a better society where people can depend on one another.

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Although the difference is slight, the thing that separates the two forms of helping above is good will. When a person does something out of their own good will, they are contributing something to society and don’t get, nor expect something in return. They are giving something to society without taking anything out of it. Helping someone just because they need it, will promote good will in others, leading to more being helped.

All of this refers to a society, but it can also be brought down into a much smaller scale. Like a couple of my examples above, the idea of helping out of good will can be implemented into friendships, classrooms, families, or anything that has two or more people involved. 

My idea, helping out of good will, is of an ideal society. A group of people working in perfect harmony and fully trusting one another creates a society where being dependent isn’t a weakness, but rather a strength. Although my reason why people help each other was idealistic and “black and white,” it still provides a simple explanation of what drives people to help each other. Perhaps this question will be fully answered eventually as the human mind is further explored.

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