Public Service As a Way of Life
It is popular today in certain circles to refer to one’s life purpose or destiny as “the Path.” In certain philosophies of the East “the Path” is also known as “the Way.” So in this sense, this is what we mean when we say Public Service As a Way of Life.
But we also mean much more than this: Because, in our experience, true Public Service has a number of very profound effects. However, before we discuss some of these effects we need first to remove certain misconceptions related to “Public Service.”
When we use the term “Public Service” we are not referring to things related to the public/private distinction. In other words when we say “public” we are not referring to government service, elected office or even volunteer “community service” and we are not relegating regular work to the realm of the “private.” When we use the term “Public Service” what we mean is work done in the world for the sake of others and by this we mean “any work.” Specifically, we mean work done for the sake of others as compared to work done solely for one’s self or for one’s own benefit. And what this means, in practical terms, is that any task can be done in one-way or the other. Any job, any work, any task can be done solely for one’s own benefit or for the sake of others: whether it is President of the United States or garbage collector. In addition, when we say “Path of Public Service” it should now be clear that we are not talking about one path but many paths. We are talking about the path or work that each person may engage in when they live their every day lives.
When a job, work or task is done for the sake of others it has the effect of creating a certain relationship between the actor and the world-at-large. This relationship does not exist when work is done solely for one’s own benefit. So the One America Society seeks to teach what we have learned about the Path of Public Service.
Two Effects of Public Service
True Public Service has two distinct beneficial effects. First, it enables one to develop one’s character. This means that the individual, through his or her public service, becomes a better person. This development happens as the individual seeks to solve the myriad of problems related to working on behalf of others. Real problem solving is not possible without insight. Solving problems develops insight. And insight develops character. This is the first effect.
Secondly, true Public Service unites the individual with his or her family, community, region, and nation. Since true Public Service is not done solely for self-benefit but primarily for the benefit of others, as one serves, endeavoring to meet the needs of others, the actions generated create a deeper and wider connection between one’s self and the surrounding world.
So, at minimum, true Public Service builds Character and builds a relationship or connection with one’s fellow human beings. Thus our motto: Public Service As a Way of Life. The motto is shorthand for a more complete statement, which is: Public Service As a Way of Life Builds Character and Unity by the use of Insight. This is the significance of the Path of Public Service: The Path of Public Service Builds Character, Unity and Insight.