A now rare attitude towards life: serving others
Professional achievements are the prerequisite for a wealthy life. Markets are more or less regulated through direct or indirect interference by the government, and give the services a value expressed in money. However, some services have no market: voluntary service without compensation. This involves serving each other beyond supply and demand – resulting in a purpose for life.
Serving – whom?
No, we do not have to serve anyone. We live in a society in which humans have freed themselves from the constraints of providing service. The millennia in which the strong were able to enslave the weak are behind us. Most recently, the workers and women liberated themselves following their enlightened mentors and frontline fighters. Both the merger into a revolutionary mass movement and the tactics of intellectual small-scale warfare have dissolved the structures of domination of the past. We are free people.
We do not even have to serve ourselves. We can smoke until our lungs are toast; drink until our senses start to blur; gain weight until our cardiovascular system implodes; suck in esotericism until our eyes stare into nothingness, all-knowing; live for ourselves until someone notices that we have not seen each other for a long time. The enlightened and freedom-loving welfare state takes on the consequences of self-harm at the expense of the general public. The government only starts intervening when there is too much harm to others, for example for passive smokers, and when things get too expensive, for example, medical costs.
We have also been freed of the forces that enslave our souls. We no longer have to carry our heads under our arms because of a bad conscience. No one can shame us anymore. No one can make us repent. Obedience is a foreign concept. Serving?
Freeing yourself from serving is the new way of serving
Serving has a lot of negative associations:
- giving up your will
- marching to the beat of someone else’s drummer
- living subserviently
- lacking self-confidence
- getting taken advantage of
- performing menial tasks
- being subject to capriciousness
- being unable to defend yourself against injustice
- being exploited
- being part of the lower strata of society
- having to do the dirty work
- not being able to afford anything in life
- becoming an unfree person.
How did people in olden times manage who were not born into nobility or had to submit to the martial power of others? Was there even any meaning to their life as serfs or service staff, as servants or maids?
Be this as it may, the concept of serving others has not died out today. But you do not serve to simply survive, but for money. You call the employees of a company or authority “personnel”. You even use the term “service provider”. But the previously mentioned associations with “serving” are not correlated with this.
Serving obediently has turned into offering services. Markets assess the service that is paid. On the markets, everyone has to serve everyone if they want to make money: the companies serve their customers, the dealers serve the buyers, the employees serve the employers, the self-employed serve their clients, contractors serve those commissioning them. We are all connected in an infinite web of give and take and of serving each other.
The fact that serving via markets takes place as an exchange of services based on of degrees of scarcity is a bit eerie for some people. This applies in particular to those who want to make their notions of justice a reality. It is a thorn in their side that markets cannot be eliminated but only be pushed into illegality and that their notions of a just world cannot be forced using state authority for once and for all.
Unwaveringly, they seek to at least incessantly intervene in the market processes with demagogy and state authority. But no human being has all-encompassing knowledge or the standards of absolute justice. For this reason, a free market economy certainly has to do with justice:
- when the government provides for fair competition
- when a central bank independent of the government keeps the value of money stable
- when private property is protected
- when there are as few barriers for entry to the individual markets as possible
- when everyone has access to educational institutions
- when the market participants are free to decide with which characteristics and skills they participate in market activities.
Viable markets represent liberation from the obligation of “having to serve” of feudalistic societal structures. Everyone serves everyone. The markets determine the price as determined by supply and demand. As customers, we have the power of demand and, as providers, we have to serve our customers. People who want to act as customers must have offered others a benefit beforehand. We do not have to “serve”, we have to “earn”. But we need to stay aware of the fact that not everything can be earned.
Serving of the hearts
There is a way to serve that cannot be commercialized without damaging the individual people and the communities they live in. Foolish parents know nothing about this. They pay their children money to do chores like mowing the lawn, washing the car, loading and emptying the dishwasher, hanging up the laundry, or other household chores. How are children supposed to experience that there are motivations for serving that you cannot pay for! Where else than in the family do humans experience that serving has to do something with community?
Life in a community means: By caring for each other, by participating in each other’s lives, by showing affection towards each other, standing up for one another, with trust, by giving gifts, putting up with the other person, with joy, being tolerant, fear, care, solidarity, consolation, hope, being there for each other, etc.. Can you put a price on what parents, especially mothers, do for their children? There is no market price for that. Foolish politicians believe that they can replace a mother’s love with government institutions and paying out money.
A society is at risk when professionalization is pushed in all areas of activity, when the division of labor as an organizational principle defines our coexistence more and more, and when all actions are immediately reviewed for whether they can be marketed. Society loses the attitude towards life of service, serving without a price, without a return, serving only for the sake of doing a good deed.
Serving in responsibility and love for each other is the foundation of life for any community. Families are the communities that serve as the foundations for every society and the state. Families are threatened when the state and the economy render them more or less superfluous.
People who want to prevent that need to fend off the unholy alliance of the government and economy which makes wealth the only objective of life. We need to take a strong stand against a government that is creeping into all aspects of life with more and more new regulations, supports, and sanctions. We have to take a strong stand against an economy that makes you believe that everything in life can be bought. But serving of the hearts can neither be professionalized nor commercialized.
Parental love and care
As children and teenagers we live and develop due to the love and care we receive from our parents, family members, and kindergarten and school teachers. People need people who are able to listen, that you can talk to, who are able to address others, have time for their fellow humans, treat those weaker than them considerately, who are also able to handle inappropriate behavior, for whom not everything has to get done right away, for example in the morning before leaving for your job, the day care, and school with the corresponding “taxi services”.
People who grow up under the stress generated by their occupation and government care and educational institutions often have an inadequate experience of a community, of “being there for each other,” “understanding each other,” supporting each other, being mindful, reliability, leisure, forgiving errors and weaknesses, forgiveness, or making amends.
These characteristics and behaviors are the part of life you cannot pay for. This includes the indispensable serving beyond the markets and government welfare without which a society is not worth living for in the long run.
Living in the freedom of mutual responsibility
Political leadership that shifts serving the greater good from within the families to institutions like crèches, day cares, and all-day schools and believes it has to professionalize everything and drag it from the area of things that cannot be paid for to “for a fee” subverts the livelihood of society and destroys the spirit of service that cannot be remunerated.
A government that discourages people from their skills to be able to care for each other in mutual responsibility creates a society of people where being together is limited to attending each other’s BBQs. It is not a matter of the government taking over the world of life that cannot be remunerated, with its coercive methods of subsidizing and imposing, but of preserving and protecting the free spaces in which the aspects of life that cannot be paid for grow and flourish.
Serving gives life a purpose. Serving is an attitude towards life. As free people, we take on responsibility for ourselves and for each other while serving. Serving without a price tag should permeate paid serving on markets rather than the other way around.
In the long run, the economy cannot work without service that cannot be remunerated. This is why the business sector has the principle of good faith in. If we get to the point where deals can only take place if payment is rendered in advance, because there is no trust, this might be a wake-up call. The insufficiencies of the world and incompleteness of people are mitigated by serving that cannot be paid for.
People who serve each other in mutual responsibility
- tend less to over- or underestimate themselves
- are constantly presented with the opportunity to use their talents and skills in their life environment
- do not act presumptuously, stay modest and humble
- are aware of the needs of others and are willing to accept help themselves
- are able to both assume leadership and leave it to others.
People who serve other people unselfishly give themselves as a person as a gift:
Communities whose members serve each other due to continuous self-improvement, develop each other, and act together gain tremendous and gratifying viability. Everyone brings their talents and skills to the table. All areas of life are permeated by serving.
Bad role models ruin common decency
An indication for serving is giving something without wanting to have something in return. But some people only feign that their behavior is in fact serving. In secret, they expect something in return. Examples:
- Politicians favor groups of people under the pretense of wanting to create social justice but with the true intention of winning votes. They get the money to do so from the tax payers, and preferably from those who they draw the envy of the general population to.
- Awards, some of which are highly endowed, are staged in which the honoree is only the pretext. In fact, the donor(s) want to put themselves in the spotlight, satisfy their own craving for recognition, and promote their own business. They use a celebrity to do so.
In our everyday lives, there are many forms of dubious serving, that is serving with a hidden agenda. Expensive gifts are given, favors are done, people are flattered and seduced – only to have a bill appear. This makes some people suspect some intention behind every sign of affection. The question that arises immediately: What do they want from me?
Depending on the assessment of your own moral and risk attitudes, the gifts and the granting of advantages are refused, the favor is repaid, or the principle of “one hand washes the other” is applied. A society cannot survive without altruistic serving. It becomes raw and becomes impoverished, it loses cohesion and its identity when everything is only oriented along wealth.
Children and young adults particularly need to experience the family-based intergenerational community. The professionalized areas of life such as crèches, day cares, schools, hospitals, and retirement homes would not be able to survive without unpaid service or that which cannot be paid for, on the part of their “staff”. Humans have to trust each other to survive. This always includes the risk of being misunderstood, taken advantage of, or abused.
Interactions at companies also requires people who offer serving that cannot be paid. When employees fulfill their duties with an attitude of internal emigration, the company will not be able to survive in the long run. A company, however, that is able to create an identification thanks to mutual service will be able to be successful on their markets in the long term.
This is like in team sports: Only your own skills that you constantly improve and your contribution of yourself as a service and serving will bond a team together.
Living a purpose-driven life is realized in self-improvement, earning through performing and serving as an unpaid service
This can also be formulated from a Christian perspective: Love thy neighbor as thyself. People who recognize God as the authority of absolute perfection in contrast to human imperfection do not run the risk of becoming self-aggrandizing and remain aware of their own faults and ability to err.
A partnership only works in the long run by serving
Serving also means: taking on responsibility. Lazy slaves are not able to serve, they want to be spoiled, they sell themselves for their well-being:
- They do not develop their own conscience but instead have it implanted.
- They do not acquire knowledge through their own efforts, but take on the knowledge of their patrons.
- They do not develop the ability to form their own opinion but follow the opinion of their environment.
- They shy away from the efforts of thinking for themselves and simply follow the majority.
- They avoid any doubt and believe the demagogues.
- They feel comfortable in the masses and let themselves be seduced.
- and ward off any responsibility.
This creates and maintains authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.
Successfully developing your personality for serving as a purposeful attitude towards life depends on how we shape our lives as our own entrepreneurs. We have the best possibilities to do so as young adults. You should take advantage of that and ask yourself:
- What do I want to learn or study, and which skills do I want to acquire?
- Which talents do I have and how can I unleash and develop them?
- Which characteristics do I want to correct and which ones do I want to improve?
- Which experiences do I want to make?
- With whom do I want to serve for which purpose?
- For which cause or for which idea do I want become engaged?
Living in a partnership requires people to be willing to serve. The good will of affection has to be manifested in their daily interactions in gestures, words, and deeds. People who have the best prerequisites for this are people who grew up in an intact family with siblings.
Behavior in a partnership that serves the other person is shown in self-control, alertness, honesty, forgiveness, renunciation, dedication, reliability, in praise, recognition, perseverance, loyalty, and consistency. Human insufficiencies can only be compensated in the long run when the partners not only get together based on their strengths, but also accept each other’s weaknesses and help to balance them out and work through them.
This is shown constantly in the shared shaping of their daily life. The conducive environment both for living together and for professional life must be decided on unanimously. If one of the partners does all of this half-heartedly, potential for conflicts starts to build up. The question of whether or not to have children has lifelong consequences.
- Do we both, my partner and I, have the same attitude towards life to which we add our children and from within which we will raise the kids?
- Are the preconditions for time to be devoted to children, of the living environment needed for children to grow up, of educational institutions needed for children to develop – are all these given?
- Are we as parents able to offer and ensure this?
Relying on the assistance from the government is the mentality of someone who expects to be patronized.
Having butterflies in your stomach is not enough
When a couple splits up, you often hear the sentence “We drifted apart” or a resigned “It didn’t work anymore.” When there are children, it is impossible to predict the results of splitting up. In any case, the results are detrimental to everyone, especially to the children. Jumping into a relationship “in love” without wanting to serve or even being unable to do so is fatal.
When making a decision to commit to another human permanently, if is very important to determine whether you are a good fit even without being in love. Having butterflies in your stomach is not enough. The youthful recklessness and exuberance according to the motto “We’ll manage!” is quite cute, but if it is not underpinned by the two partners’ particular characters and is simply a union of two immature young people, the relationship is destined to fail.
A partnership or even family that is reduced to evenings after work, weekends, holidays, and vacations, runs the risk of gradual deterioration, especially when living together escalates into the stress of everyday life.
To avoid that, the external circumstances of coexistence must be taken into consideration:
- How much time does your job require?
- Is working from home an option?
- How can we shorten the distance between where we live and where we work?
- How often do you have to travel for work? etc.
People who accept the negative impacts of work life on their partnership and family and believe that they can manage this tightrope act over time are wrong. The response of calling the time you spend together “quality time” and claiming that’s what matters and not a boring routine daily life doesn’t work out, since they ignore the “over time” aspect.
These people overlook the fact that the alternative is not routine and boring, but rather handling your daily life in a confident and relaxed manner that includes having some down time. Children in particular need to learn that times of being together are not time taken away from your job, but in fact the core times of life.
In order to avoid drifting apart or becoming incompatible, the basic conditions for living together must be designed in a helpful manner. You need to choose and organize your job in such a way that living together as a couple and a family becomes easier thanks to flexible structures. You need to assign the institutions and facilities of the government to your partnership in such a way that they are close and are of an acceptable quality. And you need to choose where you live in line with this.
Your partnership and family are an entrepreneurial task that cannot be delegated to patrons, specialists, or care facilities. People are able to stick together in a community when they prioritize serving in their lives.
There are professions where the job itself offers very little value for life, such as in sports or show business. But how they are carried out often can give them a purpose that benefits society, such as exemplifying fairness or spreading a zest for life. Stars can serve society excellently when they serve as role models for what bonds society permanently and gives each and everyone a true meaning for life: serving.