How Do You Serve Others?

For some people, serving others  is a noble endeavor, and helps provide motivation for living. How do you serve others?

In the United States, a mythology has sprung up around the notion of being independent, like “individual’s rights” and “personal freedoms”. The idea of living your life in support of others is not something talked about as much, but it happens just as frequently.

The experience most have in this regard is family connection. For example, once someone becomes a parent, then suddenly priorities shift. Your time, effort, and money (and sleep!) are sacrificed for your child or children. Even beyond children, you may well feel an obligation to your parents, your siblings, or even members of your extended family.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are we too busy?’


But for some, serving others can go well beyond family obligations. There are many people who have chosen a public service career, from police and firefighters, to teachers and educators. Politicians, at local, state, or national levels are public servants.

Even people who work in the private sector often do so with the intention of improving the lives of others in some way.

Churches of most religions and denominations serve the public in various ways. Many holy texts speak extensively about the importance of serving others, particularly those less fortunate.

What about you? What do you do, in your daily life, to serve others? Are there ways in which your intentions are different from your actions? How might you change your life to provide better service for your community or the public in general?

Related questions: What expectations do you have of others? How do you depend on others? Protecting yourself or protecting others? What are our responsibilities to others?

Does Universal Basic Income Make Sense?

Universal Basic Income — the idea that citizens of a country get paid, just for being citizens — has grown more popular over the last half-decade. But does the idea make sense?

People do a lot of unpaid work. If you want someone to take care of your children, you will have to pay them to do it. If you want someone to clean your house, you will have to pay them to do it. If you want someone to fix you car, you have to pay them to do it. So clearly these tasks have a monetary value.

However, if you do them yourself — take care of your own children, clean your own house, or fix your own car — you don’t get paid to do these things. Why not? Why don’t you get paid to do a job that has monetary value? But who would pay you for it?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are we too busy?’


In a similar vein, we all share common resources. From the water we drink to the land we live on, shouldn’t we all benefit when these resources are used?

Alaska has done exactly that. The state has the “Alaska Permanent Fund” which receives a percentage of oil, gas, and mineral development in the state. Each Alaska resident then gets an annual check from the revenues generated from the fund — typically somewhere between $1000 and $2000 each year. It is wildly popular in the state, and has cut the poverty rates drastically. Could something like that work on a national level?

Simple mathematics shows that if each U.S. citizen — 330 million — received $2000, it would cost $660 billion each year. That is a lot of money, to be sure, but the annual U.S. defense budget is higher ($778 billion in 2022). But would it make sense to spend that much, particularly when a large percentage of people receiving the money would hardly notice the $2000? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to target just the people who would most benefit?

But then you would be creating a large amount of bureaucracy to administer the funds. That would not be substantially different from the welfare system that is currently in place.

Is Universal Basic Income an effective way to reduce poverty and empower individuals, or would it actually increase inflation and decrease productivity? In your opinion, does it make sense?

Related questions: What is the purpose of money? Time or money? How can we encourage debate?

Empathy Or Compassion?

Of course, both empathy and compassion are possible, and both are important. The question here is: is one more important than the other?

Share why if you wish.

Empathy Or Compassion?

What Do You Want?

For many people, this time of year is about gift-giving and -receiving. Little children are expected to sit on Santa’s lap and tell them what they want for Christmas. Even for adults, this time of year can be a good opportunity to answer the question: What do you want?

As an added bonus, it doesn’t even need to be Christmas specific. In general, what is it you want — for yourself, for your community, or for the world at large?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How do you define success?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’


This question, when tied to the Christmas holiday, tends to be focused on the commercial. What present should someone wrap and put under the tree? However, in our thought exercise, it can be more than that. Not there is anything wrong with wanting a material good, like a new smartphone or a video game console. But you may also want something abstract, like justice, or peace, or happiness.

Knowing what it is that you want, some would argue, is the first step to getting it.  After all, if you don’t know what it is that you want, how will you know if you have achieved it?

So, like a child standing in line at the mall, waiting for a chance to sit on Santa’s lap, think about what you plan on asking for. What do you want?

Related questions: What new technology do you want? What do you want to do before you die? Why do we like what we like? What would you do with a million dollars?