The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. The concept is NOT new; but it became hugely popular after the release of the movie by the same name.
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.
Young Trevor McKinney (played by Haley Joel Osment), troubled by his mother's (played by Helen Hunt) alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet (played by Kevin Spacey). The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him
In 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel Pay It Forward was published and adapted into a Warner Brothers film, Pay It Forward. In Ryan Hyde's book and movie it is described as an obligation to do three good deeds for others in repayment of a good deed that one receives. Such good deeds should be things that the other person cannot accomplish on their own. In this way, the need to help one another can spread exponentially through society, creating a social movement with the goal of making the world a better place.
There is even a Pay it Forward Movement and Foundation
As well as a Pay it Forward Day. This year it is April 26th. It surprises me, this has not been discussed on IQ before this. Why is that?
What do you think? Could this concept of PIF, change the world? Do you practice this or other random acts of kindness? Do you try to live your life this way? Is this a way to create good Karma? Would anyone like to share their thoughts and or experiences? Did anyone participate last April on PIFD?
Here is the perfect answer.Take it in your own way... Swami Vivekananda quote unquote ,
Our duty to others means helping others; doing good to the world. Why should we do good to the world? Apparently to help the world, but really to help ourselves. We should always try to help the world, that should be the highest motive in us; but if we consider well, we find that the world does not require our help at all. This world was not made that you or I should come and help it. I once read a sermon in which it was said, "All this beautiful world is very good, because it gives us time and opportunity to help others." Apparently, this is a very beautiful sentiment, but is it not a blasphemy to say that the world needs our help? We cannot deny that there is much misery in it; to go out and help others is, therefore, the best thing we can do, although in the long run, we shall find that helping others is only helping ourselves. As a boy I had some white mice. They were kept in a little box in which there were little wheels, and when the mice tried to cross the wheels, the wheels turned and turned, and the mice never got anywhere. So it is with the world and our helping it. The only help is that we get moral exercise. This world is neither good nor evil; each man manufactures a world for himself. If a blind man begins to think of the world, it is either as soft or hard, or as cold or hot. We are a mass of happiness or misery; we have seen that hundreds of times in our lives. As a rule, the young are optimistic and the old pessimistic. The young have life before them; the old complain their day is gone; hundreds of desires, which they cannot fulfil struggle in their hearts. Both are foolish nevertheless. Life is good or evil according to the state of mind in which we look at it, it is neither by itself. Fire, by itself, is neither good nor evil. When it keeps us warm we say, "How beautiful is fire!" When it burns our fingers, we blame it. Still, in itself it is neither good nor bad. According as we use it, it produces in us the feeling of good or bad; so also is this world. It is perfect. By perfection is meant that it is perfectly fitted to meet its ends. We may all be perfectly sure that it will go on beautifully well without us, and we need not bother our heads wishing to help it.
Yet we must do good; the desire to do good is the highest motive power we have, if we know all the time that it is a privilege to help others. Do not stand on a high pedestal and take five cents in your hand and say, "Here, my poor man," but be grateful that the poor man is there, so that by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect. All good acts tend to make us pure and perfect. What can we do at best? Build a hospital, make roads, or erect charity asylums. We may organise a charity and collect two or three millions of dollars, build a hospital with one million, with the second give balls and drink champagne, and of the third let the officers steal half, and leave the rest finally to reach the poor; but what are all these? One mighty wind in five minutes can break all your buildings up. What shall we do then? One volcanic eruption may sweep away all our roads and hospitals and cities and buildings. Let us give up all this foolish talk of doing good to the world. It is not waiting for your or my help; yet we must work and constantly do good, because it is a blessing to ourselves. That is the only way we can become perfect. No beggar whom we have helped has ever owed a single cent to us; we owe everything to him, because he has allowed us to exercise our charity on him. It is entirely wrong to think that we have done, or can do, good to the world, or to think that we have helped such and such people. It is a foolish thought, and all foolish thoughts bring misery. We think that we have helped some man and expect him to thank us, and because he does not, unhappiness comes to us. Why should we expect anything in return for what we do? Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellow men? If we were really unattached, we should escape all this pain of vain expectation, and could cheerfully do good work in the world. Never will unhappiness or misery come through work done without attachment. The world will go on with its happiness and misery through eternity.
answered 22 Jan '12, 14:55
[Quick aside, I find it interesting Joel Osteen was mentioned here. Has anyone else felt he's just teaching the LoA but substituting the names and terminology so his target demographic will be more receptive? Though I feel most if not all spirituality seems to have the same roots teaching these lessons, some of them require more 'liberal interpretations' to fit my conclusion than others. Whereas Joel's seems so similar almost to being intentional.]
@ The question: Could this concept change the world? Yes, of course it absolutely could.
However it's only one example of many different philosophies & concepts capable of changing the world, all sharing the same caveat: You'd need to get everyone to participate. This caveat is why anyone can admit there's many Utopian ideas they appreciate and would like to see in practice, but most people follow this admission with the statement "But that'll never happen", "You can't get everyone to change", "You can't get everyone to follow the golden rule", "You can't get everyone to do unto others otherwise they already would and the world would already be a better place."
It doesn't matter which philosophy, spirituality, or honor code you unify people under, it's the unity which would cause great change and it's the same unity we have trouble implementing.
I do believe it would be possible to create a series of truths and philosophies which we all agreed would be the foundation we considered before any other religious or political beliefs, and I even think humanity is presently approaching this destination. I feel if we do have another civilization-wide awakening, enlightenment, rebirth, revolution, whatever you like to call it, making these priorities universal will be at its root. I think soon it will be natural for everyone to agree all of humanity will first consider the well-being of our species; then the well-being of our offspring and the future of mankind; followed by the health & happiness of our fellow man; all understood and agreed before we consider any religious or political agendas.
Once these fundamentals are established we will easily be able to create many subsets of our civilization tailored to building and facilitating very different concepts of how life is meant to be lived or is most satisfactory and fulfilling. In a world where life (health) and freedom are unalienable rights, we can have happily coexisting societies based on capitalism, socialism, communism, dictatorships, and everything in between. The only requirements being no ruling party be allowed to kill or subjugate it's populace, and if an individual no longer wants to live under whatever rule or conditions they may not be prevented from leaving and seeking out their desired life and home.
In this world you'll be able to have a society where only those who similarly embrace the concept of "Pay it Forward" would be welcome, and those who do not would be required to leave and not return. And it will exist side by side with "Spartan-like" societies centered around only being given what you earn and fight for, and neither need infringe upon the other nor any other systems created despite being founded on potentially polar opposite ideals.
But until the global mindset shifts in a way which will accommodate this concept and others, it's just another idea which 'is nice in theory' but not ready for implementation.
yes i have seen the movie. well i have said it before if it is in your power to help someone you should do it. http://www.inwardquest.com/questions/14872/if-you-can-help-people-without-any-motive-for-yourself-will-it-be-done-back-to-you
experience and enjoy.
answered 15 Jan '12, 00:47
It have discussed this before however not this movie but as in a story from Chicken Soup for the Soul. I can't remember where I posted it but here is the story.
A man was driving along and happened upon a car in an accident, he checked quickly and no one was hurt. There was a blow out and the car skidded off road. He asked if he could help the lady in the car. She agreed, so he opened his trunk and pulled out a hoist then proceeded to lift the car off the ground and changed the tire for the woman. The women thanked him, he said now I will have nothing of it mam pay it never mind or if you insist on paying for it then as I have done for you do for another a good deed you see fit and I will gladly accept that as payment. The woman drove away grateful for the act of kindness thinking God sent her an angel and as God sent her an angel she would as so repay God as to let him make her someone else's angel. For not long had she traveled when the opportunity arrived. She had settled down in a restaurant for a meal and she overheard her waitress talking to another waitress saying "Soon the baby will be coming and I wont be able to work anymore. Joe and I are so worried, he can't make the payments either he is out of work." The lady said to the waitress, "Is everything okay in your life?" The waitress, sobbed and said, "I am sorry if you overheard that please don't tell my manager I really need this job!" The women said, "No, no dear, I was young like you once, I know how hard life can be." "Please if there is anyway you need help let me know." The waitress said, "Thank you so much but this is beyond help my husband and I are going to lose our home we can't pay the rent. Much worse I have a baby on the way, we keep praying to God for an answer." The woman said, "well you never know when God will send an angel your way, keep up your faith." The women ate her meal and said to the waitress before she left, "I left a little something for you back at the table." When the waitress went back she could hardly believe her eyes it was a $500 tip check! She called her husband and when she called he said she is glad he called because he had a story to tell about his day. He said he was driving along and found some woman in an accident along the road in some bushes, he told how he had changed her tire and sent her on her way. He told how nice she was and how he told her to pay this good deed to someone else. His wife said, "Wow that is good but my story is the best, a women came in to the diner today, Joe our worries are over everything is going to be okay....." She then told him her story.
There was another story I remember of a lousy cab ride to which and rider said thank you that and smiled paying the cab driver while complimenting him. His partner said, "why did you thank him and compliment him, he was a lousy cab driver!" He responded back, "My words may be the only good words that cab driver has heard today. As I have done him a good service he will as well do a good service to the next person. For misery does spread, but as well love and appreciation does spread. which do I choose to spread? If you ask me, I choose happiness."
answered 15 Jan '12, 22:51
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