Friday, June 19, 2009
Service, the acme of human endeavours...
(A beautiful Caltech campus, June 2009)
You must be thinking this bird is nuts if she thinks blogging about 'SEERRVICE' is going to win her popularity. Haah, I say. That's not something I can help, I suppose. This is what is on my mind, a lot.
I think that it is terribly unfortunate that words such as ‘service’, ‘religion’, ‘faith’, and others like it simply make us cringe, and of course I know that some of those feelings are quite justified. However, I feel that these words should rather make us think of concepts that are far too important to be tossed out of our personal and collective vocabularies.
This all started with me blogging about an article that I read entitled 'BECOMING YOUR TRUE SELF'. The article appeared in the World Order Magazine in Fall 1968, and is not easy to find. If you like to read it contact MOI, s'il vous plait.
In a few of the recent blogs, mostly titled cat conferencing, I mentioned that the author, the late Professor Dan Jordan, stated in his article that the capacities of loving and of knowing are essential to our self development, which is the only way, he believed, to achieving happiness in this contingent world. He then added that these capacities would do no good if they are developed in any arena other that of service. Developing of capacities requires a social matrix and service-prompted action.
I know what you are thinking….service? So if I don’t feed the hungry or volunteer here or there, I am worthless, I have so much to do, I can barely take care of myself. Well, actually no. My understanding is that whatever we do, if it is done in the spirit of service to others and not for our own ‘insistent SELVES’, then that is service.
Viewing service in this light requires a PARADIGM SHIFT. Anything I do in my life, I try do it in a spirit of service. Do it not because it earns me money, rather because it helps someone, it educates another, it makes someone life easier or better, it contributes to the advancement of civilization. The alternate way is to do something, including an act of service, because I have to earn money, because of prestige, because of obligation, personal, social, moral, etc. Dr. Jordan suggests (as do all major religions) that the latter route (which incidentally is what today’s society promotes) does not lead to becoming our destined selves…the inner destined ME that was made in the image of God, and to achieving happiness. The new way , on the other hand, with service in mind, will help us develop our latent capacities. And capacities developed equals a person who is happy.
Not easy but certainly more fulfilling in my opinion. I do try this everyday, well, most days, and I believe that I am happier when I succeed. I know that I do not like the alternate.
Ollie and August do it naturally.
They tell me, ‘Mummy what other way is there?’
‘None other’, I tell them.
Wishing everyone a Happy Friday!