Voluntary Helpfulness

From The Practical Ontology & Compendium of Social Cohesion

A Conscious, mutual, Desirable, civilian* Event or series of Events involving the empathy of two or more Persons the outcome of which is effective assistance.


Voluntary helpfulness is typically conveyed through Conversation. It may be supplemented by various means of Communication and more specifically physical and/or mental work.  As a result of experiencing Voluntary Helpfulness, either as the helper, recipient or both, a person reports, "I feel good (i.e., Connected). I feel good because of 'X'" where 'X' is a real Event that happened with real people.

In other words, Voluntary Helpfulness is a relatively obvious intentional experience.  The cause of the desirable effects is not shrouded in mystery.

For example, a hungry man eating an ordinary meal alone in his car that he purchased at a "fast food drive through" feels better, too. His hunger has been satisfied. On the other hand, enjoying his favorite pot roast meal that his mother lovingly prepares and shares with him in the family's dining room is a satisfying experience on a much higher plane because it is Voluntary Helpfulness and not the purchase and consumption of a commercial "fast food" meal.  

The voluntary-aspect of his mother's meal makes both the mother (the helper) and the man (the recipient) feel valuable as human beings. There is no compulsion.  It is not a mere transaction for profit. The helpfulness-aspect means that the event hit the intended mark and was not, for example, a meal prepared sincerely and with good intentions, but was nevertheless unpalatable.

In ECUSA we want to emphasize that Voluntary Helpfulness means something real, practical, measurable, useful. It is far from fluffy-headed.

*  The analogous phenomenon in the military or, for example, among a company of firefighters, is something called "small unit cohesion." It involves Courage.  It enables a group to face life and death Crisis with action that is purposeful. We reserve the term "Voluntary Helpfulness" to civilian circumstances where mortal danger is not part of what is happening.

Last revised: 06/14/12

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