Preview Response

Flourishing / Physical & Biological Sciences

Krzysztof Wojciechowski

Head of Thermoelectric Research, Laboratory Department of Inorganic Chemistry Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland


The short article by Volf, Croasmun and McAnnally-Linz, Preview on Flourishing, reminded me of Psalm 1:1-3:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Beyond the material and emotional aspects of flourishing mentioned in the Preview, the idea of flourishing is inherently related to a person’s need for internally consistent moral norms. 

In our work in academia professional success can be defined separately in two areas: the job of the academic teacher and the job of the researcher.

As academic teachers, we are obliged to provide a fair assessment of the work of our students. We are also often given the responsible and difficult task of ranking the scientific achievements of our colleagues in the course of their professional advancement.

On the other hand, as researchers, we aim to thoroughly examine the nature of the world around us, to get to the core of its governing laws. 

These are both difficult tasks and we often fail and experience feelings of frustration, anxiety and self-discontent.

That’s why the ability to consult external moral norms - truth, goodness, justice, fairness, etc. are exceptionally important in our work at universities.

Psalm 1:3 places the source of personal success and flourishing in the knowledge of the laws of God. 

The Creator as an omniscient and omnipotent being defines the universal moral laws, which can serve as a compass on a person’s quest to a life of happiness and flourishing.