What is the essence of a good life?
- Kamran Mofid
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Helping Hands Tree
What is the essence of a good life? Aristotle tells us that it is ‘‘to serve others and to do good.’’
“Many will be shocked to find
When the day of judgement nears
That there's a special place in heaven
Set aside for volunteers.”-Author unknown
Recently I came across a very interesting article about the wonders of volunteerism, doing good in the interest of the common good, and their corresponding health and emotional/spiritual benefits for those who engage in this type of activities.
I believe the article: ‘Rx It’s Good to be Good (G2BG) 2017 Commentary: Prescribing Volunteerism for Health, Happiness, Resilience, and Longevity’ is of significant interest to the GCGI community, and thus, I wish to share it with our readers.
However, before doing so, I would very much like, to share, once more, a selection of related articles that have been posted online at the GCGI website to highlight our mission further:
“To understand, appreciate, and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to focus on life’s big picture. Whether it is war and peace, economics and the environment, justice and injustice, love and hatred, cooperation and competition, common good and selfishness, science and technology, progress and poverty, profit and loss, food and population, energy and water, disease and health, education and family, we need the big picture in order to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global.
The “Big Picture” is also the context in which we can most productively explore the big perennial questions of life - purpose and meaning, virtues and values.
In order to focus on life’s bigger picture and guided by the principles of hard work, commitment, volunteerism and service; with a great passion for dialogue of cultures, civilisations, religions, ideas and visions, at an international conference in Oxford in 2002 the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) and the GCGI Annual International Conference Series were founded.
We recognise that our socio-economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is valued. Necessary for this journey is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other – we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers – and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential. It follows that every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and the well-being of the whole human family.”...Continue to read
And now, the article I had mentioned above:
‘Rx It’s Good to be Good (G2BG) 2017 Commentary: Prescribing Volunteerism for Health, Happiness, Resilience, and Longevity’
Stephen G. Post, PhD
President, Institute for Research on Unlimited Love—Spirituality, Compassion, Service, and Founding Director, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics Department of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
This article presents and interprets the strong evidence that helping others in meaningful ways generally results in a happier, healthier, resilient, and even longer life for the giver; based on the strength of this evidence overall and in subpopulations including patient groups, it then asserts that the time has come for health-care professionals to prescribe and recommend such behavior at sustainable levels generally in the range of 2 hours per week. The medical evidence justifies the prescribing (or recommending) of volunteerism and helping activities for individuals, schools, companies, and whole communities. This article presents this innovative claim against the backdrop Norman Rockwell’s iconic image of The Golden Rule (1961), in which he captures the benefits of focusing our minds and actions on contributing to the lives of others. The review encompasses all age groups, many special categories of people grappling with illness, and population health generally.