Doing good is catching on, according to the documentary film Good Virus. Narrated by Pay It Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde, the film examines how we spread kindness throughout the world and suggests that it may be our default state. The film includes interviews with, among others, Dacher Keltner, director of the Greater Good Science Center at University of California–Berkeley, and James Fowler, author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks.
David Gaz, the filmmaker, talked to Mindful about how his own experience of passing good along in the world made him think that there was more at play than just getting a hit from giving:
I ended up helping this person who seemed hungry. A big smile came across his face and we went inside to eat some food. He ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, so I upgraded him to something with roast beef, extra cheese, extra everything. So he’s getting really happy and really excited about it and it went on like this: “Do you want chips? You look like you want dessert.” As we were leaving—it took a couple bags to put all the stuff in—a guy in a pick-up truck pulled in front of the mini mart and leaned out the window and yelled, “You, sir, are a good man.” That made me feel really good, I won’t lie about it, but at the same time, I remembered an article about kindness being contagious and I thought, “This guy is probably going to go do the same thing for somebody else someday.”
By reframing my own focus toward kindness, I’m hopeful this film may help change other people’s view of the world and possibly we’ll all be a little more generous and a little nicer to everyone else.
If you want to learn more about how individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations are working to build good in society, visit Good.is.
This web extra provides additional information related to an article titled, “Good Goes Viral,” which appeared in the February 2014 issue of Mindful magazine.