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I'm thinking of "1. solving problems (being helpful) for others and 2. having fun while doing that".

  1. Solving problems requires one to learn, apply effort and become better at something.
  2. Having fun is also important, because it will make life better right now in the moment.

What people should be doing in life to maximize being good for humanity?

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    Please don't take this for typical Internet hostility, but I do want to point out that, "What is your version of that?" seems to be courting opinions rather than asking for sources. Is there any way you might want to reframe your question in a way that is more sensitive to the objective-answers protocol on this site? Sep 17, 2022 at 11:03
  • This makes me think of Ikegai en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai
    – CriglCragl
    Sep 17, 2022 at 11:11
  • @KristianBerry I reframed the question to “What people should be doing in life to maximize being good for humanity?” Sep 17, 2022 at 13:17
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    @CriglCragl, I put "be of good cheer" in scare-quotes (I realize it's impossible from the outside to tell if I meant them as scare-quotes or reference-quotes, so my apologies on that end...), to indicate that the surface meaning of that phrase shouldn't be taken for what is really intended. The OP talks about doing good being fun, which I think is right: I think the so-called Intendo model of ethics is correct, that ethics is a universal game, or it aims at universality by essence. And wouldn't it be nice to have fun playing such an important game? Sep 17, 2022 at 13:34
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    The buddhist idea/ideal of mudita may be of interest
    – Rushi
    Sep 17, 2022 at 15:02

3 Answers 3

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Your question as formulated is asking for opinions. Here are some relevant discussions that might help think about what you are asking in site-acceptable terms.

Is it better to have big goals in life?

References regarding pragmatic views of philosophy of worklife

Support for "Sleepless nights due to unaccomplished goals"

And, I was thinking about wisdom, outlined in this answer as the skill of dilemma-solving by acting from the integrated centre of our concerns, is an ancient way of conceptualising what you seem to be talking about, and links to probably the biggest theme of ancient philosophy: Wisdom and John Vervaeke's awakening from the meaning crises?

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This question will be met with an enormous variety of responses, as we all tend to hold to slightly/greatly different conceptions of what the 'common good' entails. Conduct a web search, and you will find that even dogmatic institutions such as churches, and other ideology-based institutions such as charities and political groups are often not entirely consistent in their identification and/or prioritisation of values.

Nonetheless, if 'that which is good for humanity' equates to something like 'that which maximises wellbeing for as many people as possible', then we've come to understand some of the ways in which this might be achieved.

Some of these ways are articulated in this article on the World Economic Forum website. It describes three overarching values:

  1.  The dignity of the human person
    
  2.  The importance of the common good which transcends individual interests
    
  3.  The need for stewardship of the planet and posterity
    

These values encompass the realms of educational and employment opportunity, fair reward, the promotion of equality, freedom, (perhaps optimistically) 'agreement on basic, universal ethical values', socially-focused economic reform, environmental stewardship dedicated to sustainability, effective measurement of social outcomes, and continual engagement with emerging generations in the design and implementation of future strategies.

Many of these values (and others) are also expressed in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is intended to stand 'as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations'.

To others, including some within religious communities, 'wellbeing' does not necessarily correspond to the metrics listed above, but depends more upon the values a person holds; the conditions of a person's inner, spiritual state; the extent to which their values accord with those of a particular god or gods. 'The good of humanity' in this view is equivalent to closely humanity aligns itself with divine expectation.

There are still others to whom one of the greatest wellbeing corresponds with liberty; with the right to do as one wishes. Others believe humanity is best served when it is afforded the opportunity to obtain pleasure. Some animal charities equate human flourishing with the emancipation of other animal species. Anarchists aspire to the abolition of all government.

The many and varied imaginings of what it means to promote the good of humanity are far too extensive to be described here, but one thing seems clear, in that the promotion of wellbeing or of certain values or 'virtues' often leads to a reduction in the wellbeing of some populations, either temporarily or permanently. It is this fact, in combination with the irreconcilability of so many different (albeit well-intentioned) world-views which often leads to such great political debate - even violence - about how we might best proceed.

Another sad fact is that the intricacies of human behaviour are so complex and so often conflicting and even combative, that many of our efforts to improve our lot seem to fail and cause great suffering.

This goes some way to explaining why your question as it is formulated is to demand too much of this stack. The question is simple in expression but enormous in the information it hungers for. If by 'good for humanity' you mean 'the common good', an excellent place to start would be the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on The Common Good. If you are interested in what the roughly 10,000 distinct religions have to say on the matter, millions of webpages are devoted to informing you.

To end on a positive note though, it is perhaps encouraging to note that whilst rates of inequality seem to be increasing, the World Bank reports that globally, extreme poverty has rapidly declined:

New poverty estimates by the World Bank suggest that the number of extremely poor people—those who live on $1.90 a day or less—has fallen from 1.9 billion in 1990 to about 736 million in 2015.

This suggests that we are at least on a positive track, given the contribution of extreme poverty to so many metrics of deprivation and distress.

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Since the second choice is part of the first, all one has to do is check whether the second is always good or not. The second statement is often good/useful; but not always. The latter is not always good/useful if this human life has any great goal. If the motive behind your help is to have fun while helping, it can sometimes make one careless in some emergency situations. So, the latter is not a panacea for all. But it will surely reduce your sorrows. You may consider it to that extent; but not as a fun.

(Suppose someone is trying to solve the same problem) I ask how can one enjoy fun while solving a problem if his/her solution is not a better one? (This question is especially relevant if the problem is a serious one.)

So, IMHO, the latter statement is suitable only for the wise; not for common people like us.

After achieving the goal of human life, one can enjoy solving problems for others. It will benefit humanity as well as those who do it.

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