Pay it forward

June 6, 2008

Yesterday, by accident, I watched the film “Pay it forward” based on the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It’s about Trevor, who in social studies class, has an assignment named “Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action”. Trevor’s idea is quite magnificent:

Trevor helps three persons with something really hard (e.g. helping Jerry off drugs, his social studies teacher into a relationship with Arlene, Trevor’s mother, and finally a classmate not getting beat-up – which unfortunately leads to Trevor being stabbed and killed), and instead of having them paying back the favour, they have to pay it forward to three people each. So far it has helped twelve persons. The nine persons are paying it forward as well. It evolves exponentially, and basically helps everyone.

In 2000, when the book (and film) was released, an actual movement began worldwide. The movement based on the philosophy ‘Pay it forward’, and today there’s a Pay It Forward Foundation promoting the philosophy. The idea is beautiful, and believes in the goodness in all people, which is the problem. Believing in the goodness of human beings has an frightening relation to suicide. I would love to believe in it, but it’s quite naïve. I’m being a critic here, so if anyone out there reading this – would you pay it forward? – please answer truthfully (anonymous if needed :P)

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