I find this very usefully as a new starting point. I have struggled in the past with allowing myself to book a holiday and feel good about it, buy a drink at a bar etc because I felt guilty about having thee nice experiences when some people do not have basic necessities or the support they need.
I feel I have disconnected from this to some extent/somehow, but I want to get to a place where I can feel happy and also feel like I am helping others to the best of my ability and means.
However, I always have a voice telling me 'I can do more'. For example, I have savings.... how much savings do I really 'need' right now... it is hard not to feel selfish... and hard to put a number on how much I should keep and how much I should donate to help others.
Not buying a new boardgames will make me sad, because I wanted to invite friends round and play together... but am I miserable...? probably not... can I justify it? I don't know.
this is a struggle I have had- feeling guilt for holidays, buying new clothes, spending money on a drink at a bar. I feel I have become more disengaged from this. But I want to engage with this feeling and come to a happy 'or cheerful' agreement within myself that allow me to enjoy things in life too. There is always MORE we can do. I have savings, and I couldn't really say how much savings I 'need'. therefore I don't know how much I could be donating too others. It is hard to draw the line because so much is unknown about the future.
I totally agree with you about the issue of abstract problems. Many issues are so nebulous and far-reaching that it is so difficult to give a clear overview of the issue, the implications etc. By the time climate change is a concrete threat to the majority of people, it will be too late. There is a lot of focus on short-term rewards, particularly in government but also with human's desires, that make dealing with these problems in an effective way very difficult. I spent a few years in China, and although it is very economically capitalist, the society has a communist mindset still and the government also has a lot of power to enact laws that the public don't like. Now I am not saying this is always a good thing, but idealistically speaking, when you have a good leader, who can think more long-term because they do not rely on the whims of people and being popular to those who are not looking at the bigger picture, this can be a good thing. It can help get helpful policies and initiatives through to tackle more abstract problems!
The expanding circle of ethics is a a good way to portray our ethics hierarchy that I had not come across before. I see this circle as moving, since some people include all animals, most people would include slaves now. But we do start with those closest to us and move into a wider circle. It is easier for us to help our self, family, community than the wider population, as the latter is more abstract and complicated. Furthermore, by reading this article and comments, it makes me think of part of a Terry Pratchett book where the main character talks of there being a noise in the street; by the fact that it is public, it is everyone’s problem, and therefore nobody’s problem. We think we have some responsibility to help more globally, but there are so many other people who we think will be or could be. Arguably it is also in our human nature to be self-interested, so unless we can see the harm to ourselves, we will in general be less likely to take positive action to help.