I mean, it’s hard to believe if you don’t know me all that well, but it’s true: I dig humans. And not like in a cynical way where I’m forced to back door myself into believing something because it might help my psyche or something – nah, nothing like that. I actually, really, honestly like people. A bunch.
A few years back I read a book called ‘The Monk and The Philosopher’ by this dude.
I know what you’re thinking. Buddhist dude sitting in a field of flowers….. Mmmkay… How much more of a cliche can we squeeze outta this blog post? Well, here’s the thing – That dude, Mattieu Ricard – is supposidy the happiest man alive. Crazy right? How can they even measure that? Well, they can – Microspectrometers and whatnot.
They basically hooked up ole’ Mattieu to some head nodes at the university of Madison Wisconsin – I know what you’re thinking – Madison Wisconsin seems like a weird place to do that. Well, yeah – I thought so to. But there is this other guy –
This guy talking to ole Mattieu is Richard Davidson – and don’t let the generic ass name fool ya, he’s a heavy hitter in the contemplative neuroscience scene… As small or large as that might be… EITHER WAY, back to the point – Davidson has some state of the art facilities up in Wisconsin and he’s super into trying to figure out what makes humans feel certain emotions. Specifically, he’s after what makes people feel contentment or a sense of at ease or…. Happy, for lack of a better word.
When I was reading the book by Mattieu he went on and on about Altruism. Altruism…. Hmmm – what is that?
altruism: feelings and behavior that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness
Mattieu said that the key to happiness was helping other, and paradoxically a selfless behavior pattern actually made a given person feel that much more comfortable in waking life. I thought that was pretty cool – and I was a liberal arts student, so I started reading up on it.
The idea stuck with me like a bad case of… I can’t think of an analogy… But still, it stuck. I read another book by Sam Harris – another generic name – another neuroscientist – but he also talked about Altruism, and even more – non reciprocal altruism. That’s like altruism on steroids – true SELFLESSNESS. Helping for the sake of helping without even expecting to feel better about it. Almost as principal rather than behavior.
So, I read about all the good that altruism had to offer – figured I would try it out myself. I started helping people as much as possible while simultaneously taking the spotlight off myself as much as I could. I’m not trying to virtue signal over here or say that I’m the most altruistic person walking the Earth, but still – it did seem to make me feel better.
I was lying in bed one night and I got the idea about an app that could link people together based on non reciprocal altruism. BOOM, an idea, it stayed – and I started writing the code for what would become SpareHand.
Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve been working on it in my spare time and it’s nearly ready to launch. There are still a few things that have to be worked out, but it’s better to show that to keep it hidden away I guess. My buddy Corey who is a designer is going to make the thing look prettier, but other than that I only have a few more features to implement. So, here it is, the first look at it. I’m proud of it, and I think when it is completely fleshed out, it’s going to be something really neat.