Human beings can be called as “Homo contribuens.” We reaffirm natural human ways of living and seek how they can be put into practice.
Human beings have been called, after their distinguishing characteristics, Homo sapiens (man the reasoner), Homo faber (man the maker), and so forth. Recognizing that human beings can also be characterized by their instinctual urge to contribute, I call humankind Homo contribuens, or man the contributor, a term that calls attention to humans as social creatures who live together by practicing mutual consideration and by serving and helping one another.
We are born with instincts that enable us to survive. One of them is the urge to contribute. This urge is an instinct that makes us feel naturally inclined to help others. It does not stem from intellect but is something that wells up from within us spontaneously.
My realization of the urge to contribute and the truth that this urge is a human instinct is not something gained simply through study of teachings by great forefathers. It was something I realized through my daily contemplation of the nature of the human mind ever since, as a junior high school student, I witnessed the death of a friend’s brother, and I experienced a serious affliction.
The urge to contribute can relieve us from the fear we feel when confronting a critical life-and-death situation. It can give us a sense of mission strong enough to grapple with a difficult task we might otherwise avoid. I believe that this instinct is sometimes behind the forces that cause a society to change its destiny.
Based on our understanding of the urge to contribute described above, I and my associates founded a small institute in 2003. Together we have sought to go back to the beginning, so to speak, to rediscover truly human ways of living and to explore how we can put those ways into practice. The main aim of the institute is to facilitate Homo contribuens activities by awaking people to their inborn urge to contribute. At the institute, volunteer specialists in medicine, science, engineering, sociology, literature, ethics, philosophy, religion, and other fields have explored common topics of research and the general directions of methodology through the exchange of views and discussion.
Six years has passed since the institute was founded, and the notion of “The urge to contribute is a human instinct” has spread not just in Japan but throughout the world. So we have incorporated the institute as a legal entity, in order to move on to the next phase of our activities.