Human Flourishing Science simply explained

Volume 1 – No. 4

At first, it’s a little intimidating, but hang with me for a few minutes.

I like to say that Connected for good is “grounded’ in good science, meaning that this journey we are on is not some “do gooder, Kumbaya” concoction, but a good will effort that flows from a place that we intuitively know. What we know is referred to by different terms… “human nature, the way we are wired, the way God made us” Use whatever term suits you but know that this learning journey has its roots in Human Flourishing Science or the more approachable term, the Science of Well-being.

It’s been studied for centuries by people like Aristotle, Aquinas and Augustin and often tied to happiness, wholeness and life satisfaction. These three, over centuries, debated about how much can be attained in this life… or for total satisfaction must we wait for the afterlife. This is not our debate!

Why ground the Collective in this science? Because at the end of the day we want to “help what wants to happen” (Everyone wants to flourish). When we take this approach, whatever is undertaken, is frankly easier to understand because it’s tied to something we already know to be true and adoption of the idea comes more naturally, requires less convincing and allows each person to spend themselves as they are wired.

Today there are two big institutions hard at work trying to figure out how best to flourish. Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Program and The Templeton Foundation.

Here’s my synopsis of their work:

It’s a rare person that can flourish on their own. In fact, it turns out that isolation is the enemy of well-being. Connection seems to be the lowest abstraction for well-being, but not all connections are equal. Some sources of flourishing are long lived, cradle to grave, a religious community for example. Others last only for a while, service club, walking group or flood relief neighbors for example. There are six local sources for well-being here in the Driftless:

  • Families
  • Schools
  • Work
  • Community organizations
  • Helping projects/affinity groups
  • Group Religious practice

and five ways people want to flourish:

  • A level of happiness and life satisfaction
  • Good mental and physical health
  • A life with meaning and purpose
  • A person of good character and values
  • A few close personal relationships

In the spirit is less is more I’ll stop here but invite you to watch this two-minute video from the Templeton Foundation. You’ll have to excuse the brief You Tube and the embedded Foundation commercials and instead listen for the definition of the science as they see it. Imagine how the same longings exist here in the Driftless… despite the barrage of existential pessimism. Imagine coming from a place of hope

Question to ponder: Under what conditions am I at my best?