The Origin of Benevolism & Universalism
Which one is more in line with your values?
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“Altruism is innate, but it's not instinctual. Everybody's wired for it, but a switch has to be flipped.” —David Rakoff
The origins of Benevolism and Universalism are complex and multifaceted. They involve a combination of philosophical, religious, and social influences that have shaped our understanding of morality over the centuries.
In particular, scholars have explored how these two principles can be traced back to ancient Greek thinkers such as Aristotle and Plato and more modern Christian theologians like Thomas Aquinas.
Contemporary research has looked at evolutionary theory’s impact — particularly altruistic behavior in animals — on our views about benevolence and universality.
By examining all these different sources, we can better appreciate why Benevolism & Universalism remain so important today.
All these strands of thought point to one conclusion: humans are capable of great acts of kindness and compassion that far exceed our selfish impulses.
We have an innate sense of justice and fairness and a drive to help those who need it most.
Benevolism & Universalism remind us that we can use this capacity for good, even when it doesn’t always come easy.
What is Benevolism, and How Does It Differ from Universalism?
Benevolism and Universalism are two distinct concepts that share some similarities but also have some key differences.
Benevolism is an ethical principle that encourages people to act with good intentions, even when there is no tangible reward or benefit. It is based on doing what is best for others and not expecting anything in return.
Universalism focuses on doing what is suitable for everyone regardless of their circumstances.
Both principles are rooted in altruistic behavior and strive to create a better world through moral action.
Benevolism emphasizes the importance of acting with good intentions. In contrast, Universalism emphasizes the importance of treating everyone equally regardless of their circumstances.
In a nutshell, Benevolism is about treating people with kindness and care, while Universalism is about ensuring fairness and justice for all.
“Many of our moments of prosociality, of altruism and Good Samaritanism, are acts of restitution, attempts to counter our antisocial moments.” —Robert Sapolsky
Exploring the Pros and Cons of Benevolism vs. Universalism
The debate between Benevolism and Universalism is ongoing, and it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of each.
On the one hand, Benevolism encourages people to do what is best for others without expecting anything in return. This can lead to the greater community and social responsibility among individuals.
On the other hand, Universalism stresses the importance of fairness, justice, and equality for all individuals regardless of their circumstances. This can lead to greater freedoms for those who otherwise may not have access to these.
The Origin of These Concepts
The concepts of Benevolism and Universalism have been around for centuries.
The term “Benevolism” was first introduced by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1785, while the idea of Universalism originated with French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1762.
Both philosophies focus on creating a better world through moral action but are based on different principles and motives.
Kant believed people should act out of good intentions even when there is no tangible reward or benefit. At the same time, Rousseau argued that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their circumstances.
Over time, these two ideas have been further developed and applied to various areas such as economics, politics, and social justice.
How Do These Two Ideas Differ in Practice?
One way in which Benevolism and Universalism differ in practice is that they focus on different outcomes.
Benevolism encourages people to act with good intentions, while Universalism emphasizes fairness, justice, and equality for all individuals.
This difference can be seen in various social programs such as welfare and healthcare. Welfare focuses on providing resources to those in need regardless of individual circumstances.
In contrast, healthcare focuses on providing quality care to everyone regardless of their economic or social status.
“One act of kindness is more powerful than a thousand acts of spite.” —Matshona Dhliwayo
Ultimately, deciding whether to prioritize Benevolism or Universalism is up to the individual.
Considering both principles is crucial, as deciding which best suits your particular situation and goals.
Understanding the critical differences between these two philosophies and their application in practice allows you to decide which approach best aligns with your values and beliefs.
Benevolism and Universalism may seem similar, but they have some essential differences that can’t be overlooked.
It is essential to understand these two philosophies to make an informed decision about which approach best aligns with your values and beliefs.
With this knowledge, you can work towards creating a better world for everyone!
© Alejandro Betancourt t/a Beyond Two Cents. All Rights Reserved.