Oct 11, 2021

Human Flourishing Through Adversity (video)

The potential of human flourishing science to help individuals and communities navigate negative situations.

By Templeton Staff

Our series highlighting the challenges and opportunities related to the advancement of human flourishing continues with a third installment. Awardees from Templeton World Charity Foundation’s Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing join Dr. Bonnie Poon Zahl, TWCF’s Principal Advisor for the Big Questions in Classrooms initiative for a panel discussion focused on the role of suffering and adversity in flourishing.

The awardees featured in this conversation are Dr. Shigehiro Oishi, University of Virginia; Dr. Deborah Carr, Boston University; and Dr. David Addiss, Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics, The Task Force for Global Health.

In this video, our panel considers how the science of human flourishing can move beyond conventional notions of trauma, and what can be done to more broadly explore the relationship between adversity and flourishing.

Key ideas and questions addressed in this discussion include:

-What are the differences between collective and individual adverse experiences? Does collective experience, even when it's a challenging one, bolster flourishing?

-Can people who experience racial discrimination flourish? 

-Is flourishing a right or a privilege? To what extent are coping resources a luxury? 

-What roles do love and compassion play in flourishing?

-How does technology or social media change perceptions of flourishing?

-What are some of the multidisciplinary approaches adding value to the study of human flourishing?

More about our panelists:

Shigehiro Oishi, at the University of Virginia, approaches the study of flourishing as a personality and social psychologist interested in culture, social ecology, and well-being. He and his team look at the causes and consequences of well-being. The goal of their study is to radically expand the conceptual space of a good life, by moving beyond the current hedonic vs. eudaimonic dichotomy to include a psychologically rich life -- a life full of diverse interesting experiences.

Deborah Carr, is a Professor of Sociology at Boston University. Her research team is studying persons living under conditions of extreme physical, economic, or socioemotional adversity in order to challenge, advance, and refine what is known about flourishing.

David Addiss, at The Task Force for Global Health is director and founder of The Task Force’s Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics. Through interdisciplinary research, his team’s focus is to discover the meaning and mechanisms of human flourishing in the context of suffering; to understand how compassion alleviates suffering and promotes flourishing in healthcare settings; and to develop large-scale evidence-based programs to promote compassionate, high-quality national health systems.

For the fourth installment of this series, another group of awardees discusses community-level truth-seeking to promote human flourishing.