Sunday, 19 April 2015

The meaning of life, through the values of life

'Sunrise' by Pedro Moura Pinheiro
under a CC license
One can safely assume that that the question on the meaning of life is one of the most widely expressed questions in the world. One that has received considerable thought so far from a diverse range of scholars in the areas of philosophy, religion and science as well as individuals (and, well,  comedians, too), throughout human history.

For many, the meaning of life is a belief, often closely related to the individual 's religious beliefs. However, the beauty in the common approach for what the meaning of life stands for is that it corresponds to a way of living composed of many different elements that are all thought to fall into that "meaning of life" scope. When thought about loosely, avoiding strict and rigid norms, the meaning of life is commonly thought to be approached through working on long-term goals in a persistent fashion, adopting values that include - amongst others - doing good, creating things, making a family and bringing up children, improving the world, supporting the community, contributing to the society and, altogether, leaving a good legacy.

These parts of the recipe of proper living are perhaps easier said than done. That's possibly because not all people interpret terms such as "good", "creative", "social contribution", etc. in the same way. At the same time, there the actions that could be considered "good", "creative", etc., are very diverse. Also, not all people have - or are granted - the means to achieve an impact high enough to be visible at the large scale, such as, for instance, at the community level. To make things more complicated, the environment that surrounds us - both natural and man-made - affects our short and long terms goals and changes the definition of what "good", "creative", etc. is.

At any rate, however, the values that "define" the meaning of life have the potential to make our world better - at all levels, not just the world of a single individual. Businesses, local communities and societies could only benefit from individuals adhering to such values. It would only sound logical for them to encourage such life models and, sometimes, this is actually the case. However, modern organisations tend to opt for the system-process approach, where the operational goals are achieved through the coordinated contribution of employees, following closely pre-defined processes.

Would it be possible to have purely life-value-driven organisations?

Possibly not, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that (i) our world is an imperfect one, where not all actions necessarily aim at "doing good" and (ii) organisations are not guided by a vague value system but rather by shareholders or management structures operating according to what the law dictates. Still though, societies, communities and organisations should work more on the how to identify value-driven individuals and give them the means, in a transparent and fair way, to engage them and allow them to contribute the most, while encouraging the other members to discover, enhance and harness their potential towards further improvement.

The more challenges our world faces, the more in need we are of good, capable and inspiring men (and women) that have what it takes to work towards a better future.

In memoriam of I. Klonizakis (1940-2015).

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