Reciprocal Obligations Benefit Self, Others & Society

In The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, Paul Collier recommends the need for reciprocal obligations and less individualism. In law, a reciprocal obligation, also known as a reciprocal agreement is a duty owed by one individual to another and vice versa. It is a type of agreement that bears upon or binds two parties in an equal manner,

The idea of reciprocal obligations are what can make lives worth living. Simon Sinek suggests that reciprocal obligations can benefit others because what we do for others has a direct impact on how we feel about ourselves. In other words, reciprocal actions can give our lives meaning because they provide us with a way to have a positive impact on others and the world. Reciprocal obligations can provide a way to exhibit Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. It is an action that is intrinsically rewarding, extrinsically beneficial and also helps move society forward.

I was reminded of these ideas when I read the story of an epilepsy patient, Epilepsy treatment side effect: New insights about the brain, by CARLA K. JOHNSON and MALCOLM RITTER Associated Press. In the article she states,

Looking back, she said she’d encourage others to take the same step (letting researchers study her brain). “It is something you feel good about later,” she said. “Let your life be defined by the lives that you change”…Contributing brain cells to science “makes me so proud and so satisfied,” she said. “It makes me feel more connected to the human race.”

Please remember, a negative does not become a positive. As I noted in Make 2020 Your Best Decade Yet…

We cannot turn a negative into a positive. The best we can do is learn from a bad event and make things better in the future. For example, my Dad passed away last year and he had Alzheimers. It is a terrible disease because it turned him into a person we could not even recognize and everyone suffered. After seeing the terrible event, I have learned a lot more about brain disease and brain potential (see links and video’s by Merzenich and Doidge below). This does not make his death a positive, it will always be sad. I am however using that event to inspire me to learn more so I can design a better future for everyone and everything. This future will also make Alzheimers less likely as a by-product.

We all have an innate need for fairness, even for ourselves. We don’t want things we do not deserve. I guess this means to feel good, we should do good because doing good helps us earn the right to feel good.

In another take on Reciprocal Obligations, the Friday February 21st Daily Podcast, “The Field: An Anti-Endorsement in Nevada – The state’s largest labor union has fought hard for health care. And now its fighting Bernie Sanders” outlined the concern the union had about losing their healthcare insurance. As they explain in the podcast, most think it would be better if all had good insurance, Medicare For All, and not just them. This also shows the pull of loss aversion, that is the innate concern of losing what they have.

As Kahneman & Tversky, Barbara Fredrickson and Corey Keye’s research demonstrates, along with what I show in my work…negative events have a stronger impact than positive events. The general understanding is that we need to have a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative events to be thriving or to feel as if we are flourishing.

Understanding that all could benefit, not just them, is an example of reciprocal obligations because people are looking out for the greater good more than self-interest. For me this is an example of selfish, selfless, synergy because individuals are better when the whole is better. I was moved by those that understood and believed it to be more important for all to do well than it was for them to personally benefit. It makes sense because in the end working for the greater good serves self-interest more effectively.

Overall it is an example of practicing paneugenesis because it is an example of generating comprehensive improvements by creating of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

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