I'd like to state at the very top of this post that I did donate to Children in Need the other week, and I did buy a poppy earlier in the month. I also bought a raffle ticket in aid of RNIB only this morning.
In general, however, and particularly where people are concerned, I don't regard myself as a very charitable person. It's not compassion fatigue (love that phrase) either. If I'm completely honest with myself, I'm not sure that charities that help people are great causes. Try as I might, and believe it or not I really am trying not to sound utterly heartless, I think there are far too many human beings in the world, and we've become a bit of a nuisance. It seems more worthwhile to me to contribute to organisations who make it their business to clean up the mess we as a species have made, and continue to make, in the name of covering the face of the Earth with yet more of us.
It's important, yet somewhat difficult, to separate the real compassion I feel for people around the globe who suffer from various types and severities of physical and/or mental impairment, and for those whose lives have been blighted by war, famine, drought, crime, extremist political regimes and natural disasters, from my belief that there are more serious issues for this planet and its inhabitants. Whilst I accept that there is a vast number of people with no option but to exist in horrific conditions, it's clear that Homo Sapiens is not about to die out. Quite the opposite - the latest estimates are that there are 6.9 billion of us, and by 2050 this is due to increase to approaching 9 billion. Set against no more than 200,000 gorillas (in the wild), around 20,000 rhinos, and fewer than 5,000 tigers, this hardly seems fair.
It's quite a philosophical wrestling match. Whilst indivuals may well merit and deserve our help and love, as a species we're fairly obnoxious. On a personal level, whilst I would certainly accept charity were I to find myself in need, how should I reconcile this with believing that we/I are/am not a worthwhile cause?
Furthermore, when should I put up my Christmas Tree?