Flourishing Humanity

I’m sure it’s not just alliteration or even the hint of a rhyme in the first syllable, but the word flourish usually triggers a mental image of a flowering plant in all its glory. It shouts colour, vibrancy, rapid growth, inherent beauty and attractiveness to all. There is nothing bland, ordinary or faded about it.

When we apply the word flourish to people, what image do you see? Maybe at first you think of a child maturing into a young adult, with that innocence of natural beauty, the excitement of emerging possibilities and the sheer joy of new achievements.

What happens in the decades that follow? The tide of time turns against our ageing bodies. Our peak of health and strength has passed. We settle into tired old rhythms with modest expectations. Our colour and vibrancy fade as we run out of something within. Or do you know someone who still flourishes in their old age?

What is it that powers human flourishing? Why do some people sparkle with joy and grace – despite bitter circumstances? How does a victim face their aggressor with forgiveness? What power can transform a life from despair to fulfilment and hope?

Surely this is a realm beyond social policy, welfare systems, community development and protectionist laws. Market economics, Maslow, a dozen Malcolms, even Mandela can’t take us there. Yet there is a way, lined with ancient wisdom, to see humans flourish with significance. Will you join us as we explore the way?

Mark Breyley