Short Summary of the Presentation
The presentation dealt with the concept of the common good and explored it from various religious perspectives. In any community, people aim to act in their interests, but it is essential to consider the needs and interests of others. For example, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic involves numerous issues regarding the common good and safety. People’s views on social distancing, masking, and vaccinations differ; however, everyone is responsible for protecting themselves and the community. The presentation discussed the idea of the common good from the perspective of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Confucianism. The cult of individualism, which is the basis of the American dream, is considered a particularly harmful tradition. Religion supports the idea of being a part of singular creation and promotes the achievement of a common good. In particular, there are commandments in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, which instruct people on creating the greater good by honoring each other and avoiding stealing, lying, envying, and harming others.
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In addition, the concepts of culture, communalism, and individualism were explored. The culture was described as a conversation about beliefs and values that orient the society. Communalism highlights social interdependence and conformity, while individualism emphasizes autonomy and individual responsibility. Balance is crucial since too much focus on individualism undermines fairness, and too much emphasis on communism compromises personal freedom and liberty. Finally, the nursing perspective was discussed since a combination of common and societal good is essential in health care. Social determinants of health impact both collective and individual health.
The information presented made me reflect on the role of the common good in our society and the challenges involved in achieving it. For instance, religion was referred to as the reason for humankind’s morality. I think the commandments support this idea and emphasize people’s humane and ethical actions. In this way, the common good can be achieved, particularly during the current unstable times of the COVID-19 crisis. For American society, described as pluralistic, achieving the common good is particularly difficult. In this regard, the interests and opinions of some people have to be considered while the views of others are excluded and disregarded. Individualism values self-interest, which contributes to the challenge of achieving the greater good. Some people are not willing to sacrifice their freedoms and personal goals for the rest of the world.
The presentation made me think more about the social determinants of health and the role of nurses in promoting the common good. Health care professionals face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis, which require balancing between common and societal interests. Furthermore, the presentation emphasized the importance of one of the core claims of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Namely, it states that the dignity of every human being is inviolate, and the commitment to justice for the common good is necessary (Catholic Intellectual Tradition, n.d.). Indeed, the COVID-19 situation is an example of how people are responsible for the safety of others and how society should strive to achieve the common good to benefit everyone.
To conclude, the presentation stimulated my thinking about our purpose and reasoning behind specific actions. Furthermore, I realized how cultural characteristics define whether a community is pluralistic or individualistic. Americans value their freedom and self-directed goals and aspirations. Therefore, finding balance is challenging, and additional factors such as innovation, inequality, and poverty are connected to this phenomenon. Health care requires a combination of the common and societal good for the community to thrive.
Catholic Intellectual Tradition. (n.d.). The University of the Incarnate Word. Web.