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How the EA community changed my present decisions

by Finn Bowery, Ireland

I joined the Effective Altruism community to learn and challenge myself with new perspectives and knowledge. So far I have lived my life according to emotions and passions directed by reason and throughout my fellowship I started to understand how to see the world through an EA perspective. Once I applied the EA philosophy and deduction process into my daily life, I gained clarity on which acts of kindness I should prioritize and spend time, money, and effort into. What seemed an impossible dilemma for me became a discussion that was manageable. I have been stuck between using my efforts for animals, humans, and the environment for my whole life and finally during the EA discussions, I realised helping animals is important to me because they have been neglected for too long.

During the sixth week of my EA fellowship I was required to create and present a slideshow to the rest of my fellows on Longtermism. The concept of Longtermism changed the scope, in terms of time, of my present decisions. From the research for my presentation, I realised that all the decisions and considerations I have been making were based on shortermism which directly contradicts a value of mine, sustainability, which ensures happiness for all present and future living beings. Joseph Carlsmith describes the timeline of the human race as a human's lifespan, currently the human species is eight years old when compared to a common lifespan of a mammal species. I took this metaphor literally and visually, referring to the human species being at the same development stage of an eight year old kid in an average human lifespan. As the human race we still have so much to learn. An enormous amount of people will be born in the future and it’s our responsibility now to create sustainable lifestyles to increase the chances of those future people being happy.

After considering these changes to my thinking, I have started to question what I can do now to put all of this new knowledge and perspectives into practice. Whether to donate to charities, NGO’s, and other causes or to initiate a movement myself. After many weeks of being a part of the EA fellowship and learning altruistic approaches from multiple readings, I concluded the fellowship believing that there is a balance between the two acts of kindness. I calculated the amount of money I am expected to make in the future according to the average pay earned in the line of work I'm going into and I strive to give 10 percent of that money to a small variety of charities and save up to start a awareness building program for animal cruelty around the world. I will continue to live a balanced life of gratitude and kindness as I have learnt many different perspectives from both my peers and my fellows in the EA fellowship. The EA community has changed how I approach and consider information in my daily life and long term goals.


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