A few weeks ago, I made a small donation to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), a nonprofit that works to prevent the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. It was easy; after just a few clicks through their website, two dozen new insecticide-treated mosquito nets started their journey along the e-commerce supply chain toward people in need. Yet this act of charity, encased in the cold, blue light of my computer screen, felt strangely impersonal and calculated. Despite the photos of smiling net recipients and the transcripts of their effusive testimonials, the process failed to deliver the sense of human connection — the warm glow of empathy, the exchange of niceties, the flush of smug self-satisfaction — that I had come to expect from my all-too-rare acts of generosity in the physical world. I began to wonder what my real motivations were.
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