By coincidence, after I’d seen many reports of people going the extra mile during the latest terrorist outrages, I saw an article in the Beeb’s travel pages about a Greek word nobody, even Greeks, can translate satisfactorily. It’s ‘philotimo’ (from the ancient Greek φιλοτιμία which appears in Homer and Pindar). Down the centuries the meaning segued from ‘ambition to impress’ to ‘altruism’ and ‘doing the right thing’ and these days seems to hover somewhere in between those apparently contradictory concepts.
Did the ancients see a connection there, I wonder. Did they reckon acts of kindness might be motivated, perhaps subconsciously, by a desire to appear virtuous, a wish to deserve praise?
Anyway, see what you think! Just askin’.