Values and Feelings

We value what we feel strongly about. We value what is important to us. We value what we believe will make us happy. We value what we need.

Our values come from our parents, our relatives, neighbors, friends, teachers. Major institutions of society such as institutional religion, law, business and education all influence our values.

When we value something we will strive to get more of it. If we are hindered in pursuit of something we value we feel frustrated, unfulfilled. Our values guide us. It is critically important, then, that we value the "right" things. In other words, those which bring us health and happiness. If we value the "wrong" things, we will chase the wrong goals and feel unfulfilled even if we achieve our objectives.

To get an idea of what the people in your society or social group value, take a look at how they spend their time and money. Take a look also at the choices they make in what books to read and what TV shows to watch (if any). Also, take a look at what brings the harshest punishment and the highest rewards, and in what brings social approval and social disapproval.

Social Commentary

Though many people say that we suffer from a lack of values, it is more accurate to say we suffer from an unhealthy and dysfunctional prioritization of values. In the United States, for example, there has recently been a lot of talk about family values, but some of the highest "family values" in America seem to be appearances, money, material things, and status.

Entertainment is apparently valued higher than education, if salaries are used as the measure of value. In most schools and families obedience and conformity seem to be among the highest values. And in many so-called conservative families, religious faith seems to be valued over science and reason, and punishment and judgment seem to be valued more highly than education, tolerance and compassion. Since I have been in South America it is very obvious that obedience is valued much more than any form of learning, at least in countries like Ecuador and Peru, where I have spent a lot of time and visited a lot of schools.


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