In 1913, Tagore became the first non European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and his works were (rightly) held in the same esteem as Plato, Dante, Cervantes, Goethe, and Tolstoy. The “Bard of Bengal” hit upon a simple yet profound truth — one that has been universally observed across eras and cultures, if not so succinctly phrased — that to devote one’s self to a higher cause, particularly one in service to the betterment of humankind, is perhaps the great source of happiness and self fulfillment one can imagine.
This is certainly something I have experienced time and again; even in moments of great melancholy and listlessness, a simple act of kindness or nurture invigorates me like almost nothing else. It gives a sense of hope and purpose, and makes one feel valued and meaningful.
Of course, none of this is to say that serving others should only be a means towards feeling good. Rather, it is because of the intrinsic value of compassion and generosity — of seeing others joyous and thriving — that our empathetic species cannot help but mirror the sentiment.
What are your thoughts?