Go to contents

[Opinion] Secret of Longevity

Posted November. 15, 2002 22:52,   


Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and philanthropist known as steel magnate, was one of the most generous patrons of New York Phil Harmonic Orchestra. One day, one of the orchestra members came to see Carnegie and asked him for $60,000 in donations. Carnegie replied there must be some other people to make contributions, adding if he gets $30,000, he will willingly pay the rest. Days later, the man came back and said he got the half. Signing on the check, Carnegie asked, “Can you tell me who is that person?” The man replied immediately, “Of course, sir. It’s Mrs. Carnegie.” Like husband like wife. Carnegie sold out the steel company, to which he had devoted his life, in 1901 at the age of 66 and got $492 million. And it is said that he donated total $324,657,399 throughout his life, which tells that he was also a devoted philanthropist.

▷ Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft said on Nov. 12 that he would return most of his fortune estimated $52.8 billion to the society, touching the heart of people in the world. He is not only the world richest man, but also a man of giving who already established the world’s biggest donation foundation. ˝Leaving my fortune to my children will not be of help either for them or for the society,˝ he explained. Some cast doubt over his intention - whether he is giving out money to improve the image of his software company. Even so, he deserves praise for what he has done so far. There is a saying, ‘Benevolence covers one’s sin.’

▷ A recent study suggests that those with giving heart are 60% less likely to die of a sudden death than those who do not give. Dr. Stephanie Brown, a psychologist at Michigan University, conducted a 5-years study on 423 old couples, and found out that of the survived, 72% of women and 75% of men had helped someone for no return before the study. She emphasized that helping others is a key to longevity. Now we seem to have scientific evidence to a saying in the Bible ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

▷ ‘Charity’ came from a Latin word meaning ‘a gift of love’. Charity is not just for those with a lot of money and time. People willing to share and give what they have are often times those who do not have enough money and time. They may be just harboring in their heart the ‘heaven’, a gift larger than longevity.

Mun Myung-ho, Editorial Writer munmh97@donga.com