Chapter 29

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:

  • kindness
  • trust
  • politeness
  • attention
  • leniency
  • forgi­veness.

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.

It implies:

  • 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.

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