It’s hard to avoid news these days of another celebrity making a splashy donation or pledging to fight for a well-staged cause to ‘help the world’.
When this happens, I always feel a nagging doubt about the donor’s real intent.
As Nietzsche once said: “there is too much charm and sugar in these feelings of ‘for others’ and ‘not for myself’ for us NOT to need to become doubly suspicious at some point and to ask: Are these merely seductions?”
For they are seductions. They make great soundbites, full of empathy and ‘justice’. On behalf of orphans, starving Africans, the poor, the earth – there are so many good causes to embrace, so many ways of seducing an audience.
Which is why, explained the philosopher, we should proceed with greater caution, vigilant of anyone who tries to convince others of their own moral stature.
For “the sentiment of surrender, of sacrifice for one’s neighbor… must be brought to judgment”.
The fact that eye-popping donations make donors feel good; or benefit recipients; or entertain fans and onlookers – does not mean they shouldn’t be called to account.