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An ideal of service to our fellow man.

Albert Einstein

Listen to Robert Krulwich Read Einstein's Essay

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity in 1916, profoundly affecting the study of physics and cosmology for years. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his work on the photo-electric effect. Einstein taught for many years at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

This essay aired circa 1954.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious — the knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us, the manifestation of the most profound reason coupled with the most brilliant beauty. I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, or who has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with the awareness of — and glimpse into — the marvelous construction of the existing world together with the steadfast determination to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. This is the basics of cosmic religiosity, and it appears to me that the most important function of art and science is to awaken this feeling among the receptive and keep it alive.

I sense that it is not the State that has intrinsic value in the machinery of humankind, but rather the creative, feeling individual, the personality alone that creates the noble and sublime.

Man's ethical behavior should be effectively grounded on compassion, nurture and social bonds. What is moral is not the divine, but rather a purely human matter, albeit the most important of all human matters. In the course of history, the ideals pertaining to human beings' behavior towards each other and pertaining to the preferred organization of their communities have been espoused and taught by enlightened individuals. These ideals and convictions — results of historical experience, empathy and the need for beauty and harmony — have usually been willingly recognized by human beings, at least in theory.

The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us westerners in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind.

The pursuit of recognition for their own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the quest for personal independence form the traditional themes of the Jewish people, of which I am a member.

But if one holds these high principles clearly before one's eyes and compares them with the life and spirit of our times, then it is glaringly apparent that mankind finds itself at present in grave danger. I see the nature of the current crises in the juxtaposition of the individual to society. The individual feels more than ever dependent on society, but he feels this dependence not in the positive sense — cradled, connected as part of an organic. He sees it as a threat to his natural rights and even his economic existence. His position in society, then, is such that that which drives his ego is encouraged and developed, and that which would drive him toward other men (a weak impulse to begin with) is left to atrophy.

It is my belief that there is only one way to eliminate these evils, namely, the establishment of a planned economy coupled with an education geared towards social goals. Alongside the development of individual abilities, the education of the individual aspires to revive an ideal that is geared towards the service of our fellow man, and that needs to take the place of the glorification of power and outer success.

Translation by David Domine. Essay courtesy of the Albert Einstein Archives at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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To Live is to Serve Others by Caleb

Calebof Bellbrook's entry into Varsity Tutor's November 2016 scholarship contest

To Live is to Serve Others by Caleb - November 2016 Scholarship Essay

Growing up, I have began to explore what it actually means to be a leader. As a senior in high school, I have a natural leadership position, both in the classroom and in various extra and co-curricular activities. From this position, I have found that the most effective way to lead is by serving others. I believe that a leader must make sacrifices for his or her followers, and must put their well being before his or her own. I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had to serve others in my community, and I look forward to the increased amount of opportunities to serve others that lie ahead of me in life. In college, I will be given many opportunities to serve others around me, and these opportunities will be the part of college that I will be most thankful for. A quote from a leader in my life, “You are going to get out of it what you put into it,” resonates in my mind and drives me to give full effort in all I do. I think that this applies to all aspects of life, even serving others. I believe that, although all service should be done with no expectation of reward, I gain from giving to others. Through different volunteering opportunities or small acts of kindness each day, I have found that I have become more confident, more happy, and more love filled. I believe that when I give, I gain. This is something to be very thankful for. In college I hope to give as much as I can, and in turn, gain as much as I can. I have learned that serving others only fuels a flame in my heart to take my actions even further in order to serve others. After being exposed to service already, my heart has began to long to serve others, like a dog longs for its owner when left home alone. I have a desire to, while in college, travel to another country and serve people there with the degree that I am receiving. However, I know that I do not have to move across the world in order to serve others, and that each and every day I am provided with opportunities to give expecting nothing in return. With daily interactions come opportunities to serve. Whether it is a seemingly meaningless action, such as a compliment or a smile, or a well thought out action, such as a missions trip, I will be very thankful. I fully believe that someone’s heart can be changed by being served, and I hope to be a part of that someday. In college I hope to be a Young Life leader. Young Life is a faith based organization, and as a leader, I would be spending my time serving high school students. My own Young Life leader has served me in so many ways, and has inspired me to do the same as I get older. I plan to lead Young Life at a local high school while in college, where I will be sacrificing my time to hang out with high school students. Through this, I hope to give high school students a friend and a mentor. I also ultimately hope to serve them by sharing the gospel with them. I am very thankful for Young Life, and while in college I will be ever so grateful for the opportunities it provides for me to serve. I hope to spend most of my time serving others while in college. I believe that serving others has a tremendous impact not only on the lives of those who I am serving, but on my own as well. I believe that the most satisfying way to live is by serving others. To live is to serve others. Living in America, there are plenty of opportunities to serve, and as a college student I will be able to take them. I will eternally thankful for the opportunities to serve while in college.

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How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man?

The question of how much we should do for our fellow man arises every time, especially during times of emergencies, disasters and when we see others in need. Helping others is a choice that every person can make on their own. However, it depends on individual ability and willingness to partake in solving the problems of their neighbors. There is a way traditional ethical values can apply in today’s global economy and in response to our fellow man as suggested by Aristotle (Aufderheide 53). The common criteria for taking responsibility to others is well expounded through solidarity, subsidiarity, and prudence. These three doctrines are discussed in this essay in relation to how much we should do for our fellow man.

In today’s society, there are several social issues, including climate change, floods, wild fires, terror attacks, diseases, and pandemics that necessitate the need for human response. Solidarity describes the ethical accountability to assist one’s fellow man and this occurs through donations to local charity and government welfare programs for the people in need. Engaging in these compassionate activities is a way of caring for the fellow man and is highly commendable in contemporary society.

The extent one responds to others further depends on the level of subsidiarity, which is a moral concept. Subsidiarity is the notion that responsibility should be practiced at every level of society, and starts with oneself and shifts to other people in society. This concept aligns with Aristotle’ Nicomachean Ethics that considers human function as a rational activity. Aristotle argues that to uncover human good we should recognize the role of a human being in society (Aufderheide 55). The aim of Aristotle’s ethics is to establish how best a person can achieve happiness by being mindful of others in society, and hinges on living in line with suitable virtues.

In addition, Aristotle sheds light on the idea that human good is a rational activity that should be performed in accordance to the emerging needs of society (Aufderheide 62). Prudence connects the tenets of subsidiarity and solidarity in the sense that a person must use wisdom and knowledge to guarantee that the possible impact on their act has positive influence on the fellow man. All human efforts should be directed towards achieving good to oneself and doing the same to others. This notion entails showing concern by engaging in activities that promote social cohesion, harmony, peace, and happiness for other society members. These concepts of prudence, solidarity, and subsidiarity facilitate a simple way of examining the diverse ways of doing well to fellow man. This is evident in the society and fulfilling one’s ethical responsibilities to others.

Donating funds, food, cloths, and other essential material things to charity organizations also demonstrates individual preparedness to assist others. Charity organizations are either public founded or private foundations. The former include hospitals, churches, and healthcare institutions that obtain funds from diverse sources and work closely with several charities to uplift the living standards of people. Private foundations often have a single source of finance and concentrate on making grants to individuals and teams. The existence of these charitable organizations in the contemporary society is a good indication of human efforts to do well to fellow man. Similarly, the government performs its charitable giving in terms of tax deductions. When a person makes a donation to the above organizations, the federal government basically pays a percentage of that donation, while the rest is used in the form of a reduction through taxation.

The extent they commit to the fellow men is also observed through volunteering, which greatly helps one to learn new skills, make friends, advance career, and improve one’s health and happiness. Despite the busy schedules, many people find time to volunteer in the society and this provides great help to the individuals in need. For instance, showing concern and giving to disadvantaged people helps to protect their physical and mental health. In most cases, these sympathetic acts to people lessen their stress, combat depression, and guide them to have a sense in life. Volunteering does not only help fellow man but also connects you to individuals and organizations, which is one way to advance your occupation.

While dealing with human affairs, Aristotle suggested two types of justice namely, rectificatory and distributive justice (Aufderheide 78). Distributive justice involves distributing scarce goods and resources while rectificatory justice emphasizes correction for past errors. The correct use of both distributive and rectificatory justice largely determines our ability to assist and take care of our fellow man. In today’s society, distributive justice is demonstrated through the sharing of honors and resources among diverse groups of people. This gives rise to the aspect of doing honorable deeds to others in society regardless of their race, cultural backgrounds, or ethnicity. The notion of rectificatory justice is also observed across individuals’ efforts to restore a sense of equality and balance. Under this principle, it is not possible to treat oneself unfairly or suffer prejudice willingly. Hence, the extent we do to our fellow man largely relies on how fair we are to ourselves.

The ethical virtues encourage everyone to be watchful about their fellow men and behave in the right manner, which aligns with government rules and regulations. This also demands every citizen to have correct intellectual virtues to reason well and relate honorably with others (Willian). The practice of calculative reasoning guides people to make the right choice, and this is vital towards helping the less privileged in society. Using prudence as an intellectual virtue also guides people to reason properly concerning ethical matters and taking responsibility that concern others.

There is no limit in helping and caring for other people in the society, and this is well supported through Aristotle’s ethics. According to Aristotle, the presence of courage should persist even in the face of fear (Aufderheide 103). This implies that pleasure should always accompany everyone’s activities when dealing with others. The greatest good is considered as rational contemplation, and should always guide people in dealing with practical issues every day.

The notion of assisting fellow men in today’s society is, therefore, linked to philosophical viewpoints as described in the above passage. Besides, it is also connected to Biblical scriptures of loving others, being merciful, kind, and caring. The Biblical command is to take care of the weak, including the poor who cannot maintain themselves. The concept of being openhanded towards our fellow man, particularly the less privileged in the society is the guiding principle that is used by many people. There is no boundary to what extent one does to their fellow man. The most important thing is to ensure that they are doing righteous acts, which are guided by ethical virtues.

Aufderheide, Joachim. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book X: Translation and Commentary, Book 10. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Willian, Wood. “ Philosophy and Christian Theology ”. 2022. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 31). How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/

StudyCorgi. (2023, January 31). How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man? https://studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/

"How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man?" StudyCorgi , 31 Jan. 2023, studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/.

1. StudyCorgi . "How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man?" January 31, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/.


StudyCorgi . "How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man?" January 31, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/.

StudyCorgi . 2023. "How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man?" January 31, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/how-much-should-we-do-for-our-fellow-man/.

StudyCorgi . (2023) 'How Much Should We Do for Our Fellow Man'. 31 January.

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What Does “Service to Others” Mean To You? Essay

People have to do what is dictated by their hearts, like an act of benevolence or charity, in order to gain fulfillment and satisfaction. Such acts fall and lie under “service. ” Service is a word that has become a very common term due to its usage in everyday life through human history. Personally, service to others possesses various and different faces and folds depending on one’s comprehension and intention.

It is not just a mere act of volunteerism; rather it is an act that holds principles and objectives.It is an act of serving and helping for the benefits and welfare of others without asking anything in return. However, the volunteer or the giver needs not to only give rather, he or she has to keep in mind the Biblical passage where Jesus says, “Come, follow me and I will teach you how to fish. ” When extending service to others, the volunteer or the giver has to make it a point that the given service and help is hopefully a sustainable one, not short-term. It is also of vital importance that the service has to have an impact to the people being helped out.People lend a hand to be able to empower people and to aid, support and help them become self-reliant and not dependent to one’s help. Service to others is also an act of sharing one’s knowledge, skills, wealth and even one’s self to others without looking forward to be given something in return. People expand and extend help and support for several various reasons.

Some do it for altruistic actions, for self-gratification and soul fulfillment. Others do it for civic engagement, nationalism, educational requirements, and developmental and social goals.Whatever reason there is for rendering service for the people especially to the destitute and needy fellowmen, it is essential for the volunteer and giver to offer an act of kindness that comes from his or her heart. Furthermore, whatever help and service that has been given, make sure that it creates an impact for the people so that in return, they will gain not just material resources but also knowledge that will enable them to stand on their own feet and to become independent.

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