Acts of Ought

I submit that one of the most powerful words in the English language (or any language) is the five letter word—ought!

Think about it. We ought to be good, do good; we ought not to be bad, do bad. We ought to perform acts of kindness; we ought not to diminish any human.

The word, ought, is pregnant with moral and ethical import. We ought to share a portion of our blessing with humanity. Why, because we love humanity. Is this not the root of philanthropy?

The word philanthropy is a combination of two Greek words: philos, “love,” and anthropos, “mankind.” We ought to love humankind.

The practice of prudent philanthropy, for the Judo-Christian, is an inescapable obligation. This ethic is probably true for other major religions as well. And philanthropy does not have to germinate out of any religious foundation. However, philanthropy ought to derive not from shame, blame or coercion but from benevolent, if not spiritual, motives.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…So we also ought to love one another.” (Jesus)

Gifts of service can take the form of goods, time, or money.

These acts of ought can help to meet basic human needs like food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; or acts of ought can foster human excellence like support of art, culture, research, parks, museums, public buildings, education and more.

Brand philanthropy is a call on companies to dedicate a portion of their hard earned profits toward basic human needs as well as toward human excellence. Brand philanthropy is a call, a philanthropic witness to society that both the giver and the receiver are lifted to the highest level of humanity. Brand philanthropy is simply a plea for acts of ought! Yes, “our giving ought to count.” Count me in.

Paul Chrisstarlon Wesselhöft

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About Wesselhoft, Paul

Retired U.S. Army (Airborne Ranger) Chaplain; State Representative, Oklahoma House of Representatives; Representative, Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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