I just listened to Sam Harris’ excellent podcast episode featuring William MacAskill, who has authored “Doing Good Better,” a book which is on my short list of “must reads” now. Sam Harris is by far one of my favorite speakers, thinkers and authors. His interests range from ethics and philosophy, to neuroscience and the problem of consciousness, to racism, religion, and a host of other very salient concerns which almost always hook me. Give it a listen!
After listening, I feel challenged to see if I can be a better person in this world, while still maintaining the experience of living a fantastic, pleasurable and happy life. In the podcast, I came across two new and powerful ideas, one being a more abstract idea of how one thinks rationally about maximizing happiness in the world, the other being the very practical idea of how to act highly morally without living a life of denial, toil and sacrifice or pretending to be someone I’m not, i.e. goody two-shoes. The synthesis of these is wheat MacAskill (wow what a name) calls “effective altruism.”
Check it out!