The social movement of effective altruism basically distills down to answering one simple question: how we can use our resources to help others the most?
It aligns brilliantly with certain elements in different philosophies, whether it be Minimalism, Utilitarianism, Stoicism, or Karma Yoga.
It not only involves doing what we feel is right and fulfilling the moral obligation to help other people, but it’s also trying to be as effective and efficient as possible. In a way, it’s choosing the path of Essentialism to maximize the good that we can do for the world.
A great example is Will MacAskill, one of the pioneers of this movement and the co-founder and President of the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). He is also the youngest Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Doing Good Better – Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference and has given a very popular TED Talk as well.
The way he incorporates effective altruism in his life is that he only keeps $30,000 year out of his annual income for himself. Then, he deliberately donates every penny above that amount to charities that support the causes he feels aligned to. This is a lifetime commitment that Will has made for himself.
Like Will, we all can make giving an active part of our life. It’s important that we make it a deliberate and intentional act and work towards refining our approaches so that we are able to do more good in this world.
In the pursuit of more, we all lose sight of the most important things in life. One of them is making a significant contribution to the world. Instead of having more, we can simply focus on having enough and then helping others get enough too. Isn’t this what being a human means?
There’s nothing set in stone, we can make our own rules and commitments. We can do what we think is best for ourselves and for others. After all, this is what will make this world a better place to live in, for all of us and for the generations to come.