Benevolencia evidente

PRINCETON – Jesús dijo que deberíamos hacer beneficencia en privado y no cuando otros están mirando. Esto concuerda con la idea sensata de que si la gente sólo hace el bien en público, puede estar motivada por un deseo de ganarse una reputación de generosidad. Tal vez cuando nadie está mirando, no es nada generosa.

Esa idea puede llevarnos a desdeñar el tipo de leyenda filantrópica que hace que los nombres de los donantes se exhiban prominentemente en las salas de concierto, los museos de arte y los edificios universitarios. Muchas veces, los nombres no sólo cubren el edificio entero, sino que también se los adosa a toda parte constitutiva del edificio de la que recaudadores de fondos y arquitectos puedan disponer.

Según los psicólogos evolutivos, este tipo de manifestaciones de benevolencia evidente son los equivalentes humanos de la cola del pavo real macho. De la misma manera que el pavo real indica su fuerza y su aptitud desplegando su enorme cola -un mero desperdicio de recursos desde un punto de vista práctico-, los costosos actos públicos de benevolencia les revelan a los potenciales compañeros que uno posee suficientes recursos como para regalarlos.

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