大张旗鼓的善行

普林斯顿——耶稣说过我们不应该当着大庭广众,而应该在没人在场的发放救济。这种说法符合一种常识性的理念,那就是人们如果当众做好事,那么他们可能出于要赢得慷慨声誉的动机。也许在没人在场的时候,他们根本算不上慷慨。

捐款者的名字经常会在音乐厅、艺术馆和大学建筑物的墙壁上出现,这样的慈善涂鸦也许只会引来我们轻蔑的目光。通常情况下,捐款者的姓名不仅在整个建筑物上随处可见,而且只要筹款人和建筑师力所能及,这些捐助者姓名就会出现在建筑的任何一个组成部分。

按照进化心理学家的说法,如此大张旗鼓的善行宣传其实相当于雄孔雀尾巴所起到的作用。就像孔雀用展示大尾巴来炫耀自身的健康和力量一样——虽然从完全务实的角度出发这纯属一种资源浪费——但代价昂贵的公共慈善行为同样在向潜在的配偶们显示:我拥有足够的资源,可以捐赠如此之多的钱物。

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