When I was first writing my blog post, it got really philosophical really fast. Towards the end of my post it basically came down to the question,“How can we know that what we are doing is actually good, if we do not know the meaning of life?” Naturally, I did not want to have to drag you through my muddled thoughts to get to my climactic but useless resolution. Instead I want to pose a few questions that I have not come to terms with yet. Hopefully, you can come find me later and lend me some of your insights.
My first question is simply, “Why are we helping?”
“What motivates us to help others and is this motivation intrinsically self-centered or selfish?”
“How can we come to terms with the unknown negative effects that our social work brings about?”
“How should we prioritize culture and personal freedoms, when one has to come at the cost of the other?”
“Do we over prioritize money and means of making money as an end all solution for poor and disadvantaged people?”
And lastly, because I cannot help myself, I will ask one philosophical question, “When we try to help disadvantaged people, what are we really trying to achieve on a deeper level, are we ultimately trying to make people have happier lives? If so, who is to say that we know more about happiness than them? If we are trying to make their lives better, who is to say we know more about a good life than them?”
I am interested in your opinions and answers to these questions, but what I really want to know is the underlying assumptions that come with any answer or justification. The reason for this is that as I answer these questions myself, I can often find an answer I am comfortable with and that I can defend. But if I actually challenge the underlying assumptions of my argument, my reality starts to fall apart.
I will leave you with these two final questions, “What assumptions do we operate on that allow us to believe in the value of social work?” and “Are there other valid assumptions that would argue against social work?”
Now I must apologize, because even as I tried to stay away from philosophical thoughts they kept coming back. Apparently, I had to address these thoughts, but maybe by next time I will be able to return to my old assumptions and confidently write a post about the wonderful social work we are about to start!