Social work and volunteering has increased manifold in the past decade. What seemed to be the work of matured individuals and determined groups has permeated age barriers such that pupils of class 8th or 9th onwards have taken it up. Obviously with the increment in young and younger hands, the integrity and the incentive of social work have, although subconsciously and uncaringly, decayed.
Young minds, apart from the sporadic spurs of help and self-sacrifice of one’s time and self, primarily view not the essence of helping others, but the certificates they get in turn of prime importance. This is potentially why volunteers usually do not volunteer at one place twice, or at places that require assistance but do not fulfill the principles of quid pro quo by awarding the cherished certificate for their selfish endeavors.
Another contention between the intuitive scruples of social work and actual modern day social work is the act of publicizing even the smallest aid rendered. Perhaps it gives a sense of accomplishment; perhaps it is for the likes and shares and tweets and whatnot; perhaps for the virtual tap on the back.
Previously however, the affair had different set of rules. Belief in the secretiveness of social work was stern; certificates mattered less and just the selfless hour spent with people who needed it mattered more. Perhaps the charity that deserved the most accolades was the one which remained known to no one else.
This aforementioned notion seems morally fitting to the ultimate moral activity that is social work. But who is to applaud my endeavor when no one knows? Who is to learn from my actions if it is left inconspicuous? Who will join hands with me when they do not know what I have done? Is my moral compass truly correct when its directions do not allow me to help more people?
Why do we even help people? Is it because they require it or because their distress bothers us? If the case is latter, then it is not altruism but self-interest that we call morality because it is not their distress but the nagging feeling that accompanies us when we see them that we want eradicated. In such a case, we can easily implement our set of rules to this sport, and keep our activities secret and hence their effects minimal. However, if we do so because people require our help then we would attach incentives with social work such as certificates on community service or donation. This act would increase the volunteers and ‘philanthropists’, who although might be much more concerned with their welfare, in the act of getting to their own would inadvertently help others’. In the same way, not just certificates but facebook/twitter hype on even the pettiest of acts would seem justified as in this way a much larger stratum is helped out.
Perhaps our pre-conceived scruples and notions on morality are not correct. Perhaps morality has less to do with the sanctity of the affair and more with its stats.