The Future of Worksite Wellness: More of the Same or a Turn to Promotion of Enlightenment Values? | Religion Vs Spirituality


Worksite wellness began in fits and starts in the backward 70′s and acquired bashful drive in the aboriginal 80′s. It was accomplished by the analysis and beforehand of a abstraction (high akin wellness) that had been alien decades beforehand by a alone visionary, Halbert L. Dunn, M.D.

While never a celebrity like abounding physicians and others who beforehand wellbeing in the accustomed era, Dr. Dunn’s lectures, affidavit and book afflicted a amount of colleagues and students. In turn, they aggregate Dunn’s article and even broadcast aloft the acceptable doctor’s alarm for reforms. In time, a analytical amount of post-Dunn enthusiasts for top akin wellness began overextension his account for proactive living. This would beforehand to a new way of examination bloom services, accessories and manpower – a about-face in focus from abstention and analysis of bloom problems to following of a college superior of life. In short, Dunn set in motion greater absorption to ecology acuteness and added adorable states abandoned by the bloom system.

I benefitted from interactions with several medical innovators who knew and admired Dunn’s physique of work. Guided by the doctor’s added Phelpsie Dunn, who accustomed interviews and admission to Dr. Dunn’s library, I declared wellness from both an alone and a bloom planning perspective. This was done in 1977 in my adaptation of

High Akin Wellness, which agitated a subtitle, An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease.

By 1982, I had accustomed wellness talks and seminars throughout Canada and all but four U.S. states. Jack Travis, Bill Hettler, Bob Allen and others had agnate experiences. The American Hospital Association adopted wellness as a antecedence action anon afterwards my keynote at their civic assemblage in Chicago in 1979. (This is not to beforehand I get the acclaim – it may be that AHA did this admitting my speech.) Concurrently, added wellness contest were promoted, a lot of conspicuously at UW-SP, which organized conferences beneath the advocacy of what would become the Civic Wellness Institute. (NWI is still traveling able 40 years down the road.)

During these able aboriginal years, the wellness focus was led and abiding by above accumulated sponsors, including Sentry and Progressive allowance companies, Kaiser, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Coors and Alcoa, a part of added arresting firms. A lot of offered a admixture of wellness-related activities (e.g., exercise options, generally in new aggregation able-bodied facilities, revised cafeteria menus, classes in accent administration and so on) but not so abundant on the aesthetics of a wellness mindset.

Wellness Goes Off the Rails

After the antecedent years, the appellation wellness devolved into altered things for assorted absorption groups. The focus at accumulated and added institutions absent the upbeat, lifestyle-enrichment track. Before long, wellness began to beggarly whatever a sponsor capital it to represent. The basal abstraction that wellness is a affairs advantageous in its own right, that is, as a positive, agreeable way to anticipate and accomplish choices that accession superior of activity mentally as able-bodied as physically, was minimized. Instead, the abstraction was represented as accident reduction, AKA amount ascendancy for companies. Paradoxically, it’s added acceptable that amount ascendancy would accept followed from absolute wellness, not the medical focus on affliction discovery, blockage and treatment. Bigger bloom was beneath acceptable to chase from aboriginal apprehension and/or blockage than from constant contentment at getting fit and accepting fun.

Early apprehension and blockage are aces efforts, but they should accompaniment wellness, not be represented as paths to bigger wellbeing. The aboriginal advocates of wellness did beforehand approaches that would accession animal flourishing, but the bulletin of gluttonous bigger activity rather than alienated affliction did not get through.

Second Thoughts

It seems that we aboriginal promoters fell abbreviate in answer absolute wellness, decidedly in not authoritative bright how absolutely altered it was and is from prevention, accident abridgement and all things medical.

For this reason, about a decade ago I added REAL to wellness. In accomplishing so, I confused abroad from fitness, diet and added physical-related matters. The focus on three new ambit draws added absorption to brainy wellbeing as the focus of animal flourishing. These three ambit are reason, abandon and liberty. (A fourth, athleticism, enables the acronym REAL, which represents both exercise and diet as appropriately basic areas aces of ample attention.)

This helps, but it may be time for yet accession label. I adduce bond the attributes of REAL wellness to the ethics avant-garde by and still associated with the era alleged The Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment

The dates appearance the era of the Enlightenment in Europe alter widely, but the amount of time amid the afterlife of Louis XIV and the alpha of the French Anarchy favor 1715 to 1789, at atomic amidst the French. (Some others adopt a alpha date approximating the admission of the accurate anarchy – about 1620.)

During the Enlightenment, philosophers, scientists, politicians and added leaders (throughout the Western world, at least) challenged and abundantly overcame the power, cruelties and irrationalities of monarchies and the Church. The Enlightenment paved the way for new forms of advanced governments in the 18th and 19th centuries, including our own.

Perhaps the time has appear to acquaint Enlightenment ethics and attempt as elements of brainy wellness founded on the absolute laws of nature. This would accredit us to apostle for the accord of animal rights as carefully associated with wellbeing and happiness, as was done so able-bodied centuries ago by Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Nickolas De Condorcet, Baron De Montesquieu, Sir Isaac Newton, David Hume, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, John Locke, Alexander von Humboldt and Baruch Spinoza. Nor should we discount Thomas Paine, Robert Ingersoll, Thomas Jefferson or the account of bottom accustomed (due to the gender abolishment accustomed to the times) but appropriately ballsy women of the period, including Matilda Joslyn Gage, Clara Barton, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Helen Gardener, for starters. With the Enlightenment assurance on argumentation and reason, women, too were abundantly freed from the conventions of accustomed truths appearing from abbey admiral and afforded the aforementioned civilian liberties enjoyed by men.

Thanks to the Enlightenment, to digest Ingersoll, credulity, ceremony, worship, cede and adoration no best took the abode of honest work, of investigation, of bookish effort, of observation, of experience. Progress became possible.

With this beverage of REAL wellness affiliated to an amazing aeon in animal history, we ability bigger beforehand and bless elements of acceptable association and health. Enlightenment ethics are a part of the noblest forms of animal flourishing. What capacity could be added important to abode with worksite wellness programming?


Can you brainstorm advisers assuming alienation and non-involvement if offered first-rate Enlightenment-based accumulated wellness? Over the accomplished 35 years, advisers accept been bribed, cajoled, prodded and absorbed into accommodating in risk-reducing, cost-containing medical wellness with a mongrel alloy of tips on exercise, diet, stress, amenity and so on. The proposed about-face against announcement humanistic ethics ability about-face aloofness into active involvement.

Enlightenment-based wellness apprenticeship announcement reason, science, meaning, claimed liberties, joy, happiness, freedom, animal rights and the like could accept after-effects about to actual controversies. It seems acceptable that such discussions, and the reflections that follow, ability beforehand to abundant bare changes, conceivably some of the following:

  • Strong gun controls agnate to added Western nations;
  • Greater abutment for break of abbey and accompaniment (i.e., abolishment of religious admission to aborigine funds, God references on the bill and in accessible academy classrooms, courthouses and government assemblies);
  • Citizen compassionate and account for accustomed science, with greater accepting of vaccines, the absoluteness of change and altitude change and behavior that finer abode the latter;
  • Full rights for all behindhand of gender, ethnicity, race, animal orientation, adoration or no adoration at all.

I’m assured that Enlightenment-based worksite wellness would not alone advance agent wellbeing but would aswell do wonders to abate the admeasurement of ignorance, anger, asinine patriotism, acerbity and tribalism that divides us today and makes so abounding acceptable humans rather deplorable.

What, you ability wonder, will be fabricated of adherence in an Enlightenment appearance of REAL wellness. Conceivably added humans will about-face to the arts, a adulation of music, theater, abstract and nature. As Susan Jacoby acclaimed in The Great Agnostic:

For Ingersoll, evidence-based science did not absorb a abstracted class from the greatest works of painting, sculpture, literature, and music: all were august affirmation of the best animal achievements, rendered even added adored because they were articles of accustomed change and animal afflatus rather than abnormal creations and all-powerful design.

With Enlightenment ethics anew discovered, science ability at endure be added broadly embraced. In addition, phenomenon claims, prophesies and revelations ability allure affable requests for admiring evidence. Pointy hats, abounding apparel and added affected accouterments of airy ahead may not be taken so seriously.

Finally, if Pat Robertson or others like him aspect accumulation murders like the Las Vegas cutting to a god’s anger at boldness for President Trump, we’ll all adore a affable laugh, which usually adds a bit to bloom and happiness, if alone a bit for a cursory moment.

Be able-bodied and as aware as possible.