There is no more obvious term than “help”. But who can actually say what help is? The most common response might be silence. Help is help pure and simple. But without content, the Word is quite meaningless.

Consider meanings that might be seen as common. Where low paid persons are employed, they have been called “the help”. In the tech world help is a term for support of all kinds, often from a “help desk”. Help is also an exclamation that signals an immediate need for assistance.

Closer to a definition

Assistance gets us closer to a “helpful” definition.

Help is clearly social, and it always involves another or others. Even if the other is the god you pray to, another is involved. Help suggests that we depend on others.

We may see ourselves as rugged individualists. But consider that all but hermits have a clearly social side. We need each other. We are most fulfilled when we are effectively and actively engaged in assisting others. When the community ethos is "put the children first", we get the drill and things are better.

A bigger view

In a world where work is being redefined, the word help is undergoing seismic changes. It may mean a help desk. But it may also mean universal basic income, as an AP story suggests this very day.

Some definitions for the future

Progress is gripping our imaginations even as we see resistance cropping up. Defining help will define the future. Help needs these days to be shorn of its paternalistic, “charitable” associations.

Help is best seen as education and enablement.

Education is the heart of help

When education is seen as help, the definition of help as a positive value predominates. Putting others first is a maxim that sets the bar for all. Education is what is meant when we say instead of giving someone something, teach her to make something of her own.

We need global education in which universal values are at the very center. Three values should be seen as what should propel the actions of everyone. They are tolerance, helpfulness, and democracy.

Wonders of enablement

Enablement is another word that pinpoints what help should mean as the future unfolds. Enabling is literally passing on abilities. It is a universal form of parenting, setting an example, sharing insights and talents.

We are the future

Unless we agree on and teach Universal Values, we will suffer the ills of living in a binary world where conflict is the rule. In a selfish world, those in power believe and state that the glass is half empty. That is never the case. The glass is what we make it.