Have you ever thanked someone for helping you—or for saying something useful or nice to or about you? If so, you shouldn’t have. With this funny yet extremely thought-provoking essay, Mokokoma Mokhonoana scrutinizes the principle and the practice of selflessness, which is, as we all know, also known as altruism.
Don’t get him wrong. He, like most sane human beings, thinks that altruism is a beautiful thing. Having said that, Mokokoma, unlike most sane human beings, thinks that it is humanely impossible to be selfless. As a matter of fact, he strongly believes that human beings are inherently selfish. In other words, he is of the conviction that the primary—and in some cases the only—reason we did every single thing we have done is because we knew that one way or another we were going to derive something we need or want from either the deed or the end result of the deed.
In short, good people are good people primarily, if not only, for their own sake.
As a means to substantiate that controversial conviction, Mokokoma will put a few facets of man's life under the microscope—areas such as our relationships with our friends, those with our family members, those with people with whom we are in a relationship or frequently in bed, the relationship between employees and their employers, and the relationship between believers and God; and, as you have probably presumed after seeing this essay’s cover, he will also put people such as Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela, under the microscope.
So, if you read the first half of this essay, you are likely to think twice before thanking anyone from then on. And, believe it or not, if you are tolerant enough to read every sentence herein, you are unlikely to ever thank another human being regardless of what they have said to you or what they have done for or to you.
In essence, the main goal of this essay is to destroy the phrase “Thank you!”