Now Entering Russ's World
Model Petra Nemcova recalls her devastating loss as she and her fiancé Simon Atlee were on vacation in Thailand. The couple were taking in the beauty of the country and enjoying each other’s company when a deadly tsunami devastated the country and killed more than 23,000 people. Simon Atlee was unfortunately one of the victims, and the day after the tsunami, Nemcova was transported to a hospital to treat a broken pelvis and severe internal bleeding.
Less than a year later, after spending time recovering in the hospital and in the Czech Republic with the help of her parents, Petra returned to Thailand, intent on helping children whose lives had been impacted by the disaster. This supports the notion that there is a driving force within us that wants to help others, even when it would be more convenient to stay to ourselves to further ensure our safety. However, there is scientific data to support the fact that helping others helps us find meaning in life and can even assist us in overcoming our own challenges.
Researchers at the University of California Berkeley are beginning to challenge the widely held belief that humans are inherently selfish. There is more and more evidence that proves that human beings are in fact involving into individuals who are community-minded and compassionate, and that this is becoming the method by which we thrive and continue to sustain ourselves.
National Institute of Health neuroscientist Jorge Moll and his research partner Jordan Grafman conducted an experiment in which people were faced with the choice to donate a large sum of money or keep the money for themselves. Moll brought Grafman’s attention to an email that revealed that people actually felt better after giving the money away, even if they thought they’d feel better by keeping it.
Jorge Moll is a native of Brazil and has worked with several other professionals in his field to study the way that the brain works. Moll is particularly interested in finding out what motivates humans to be charitable and has confirmed that giving occupies a pleasure center in the brain, in the same way that sex and food does (Jorgemoll). Moll is also committed to further exploring why giving and being considerate helps to fuel or success.