I have read several pieces on the thread, "Values". It has been valuable
to me in many ways. I would like to add my views to this rich discussion.
I am with those who believe that values exist and are important to
individuals, organisations and society at large. Whether, individuals,
organisations or nations are consistent or not, every (maybe most)
situations, that have called for making a choice, draws on the concerned
individuals values. If two or more individuals have to make a choice,
shared values help a great deal. It is more important that individuals
have thought through their values, the priorities of those values and are
most fortunate if those values have been tested. Under these conditions,
values play a similar role that pain does to protect our bodies from
further damage. Values help us to protect or mold ourselves, organisations
and nations to become better and greater beings(in the positive sense.
The reverse is also true). The reason most people dispel the utility of
value is not known to me. I have found it to be something like a rudder,
steered by the heart and intellect. Values are shaped by experience,
stories and myths. It changes with experience, but the change is very
much within ones own power or will.
The following story illustrates a point. Peter Malkin, " In the House of
Garibaldi Street", talks about Eichmann who had ordered thousands to be
executed during the II World War. When questioned as to how he could
execute children when he could show so much love to his own boy, he
replies, " but he was not Jewish." It is said that he says this without a
trace of guilt. How could he say this? At the core of his heart, he
(Eichmann)believed that Jews had to be eliminated. This is a strong
example to use. But I believe, Adolf Hitler, had created this shared
goal. It takes years of education to come to this state of being. The
point is not whether Eichmanns actions were right or wrong. To Eichmann,
it seemed perfectly right. There were several others, who believed they
were right. Yet, the same nation would have had stringent laws against
murder of their own kind. The values one holds helps one to have "guilt".
Unconsciously, when our values are being violated, past experiences of
guilt seem to caution me. There are many who have argued against the
neccessity of guilt. To me guilt is the rudder. Helps me ponder and ask
myself, am I making the right choice. Sometimes I falter in spite of the
guilt(experience) that cautions me. Often, I find this to be due to
pride. Pride smothers those very values. It is after much soul
searching, if I have learnt from that folly, that I can gain enough
courage, not to repeat it. Or, my values make a slight change to
accomodate this deviation. Finally, fear or lack of courage prevents me
from living upto my own values. This I find the most disturbing. It is at
these times that, religion has helped restore faith in my own values.
I have tried to draw on my own experience/insight based on some of the
contributions in this list. By writing this, I just realise that the
formation of values is a Learning process. Thanks for drawing me out.
Thomas P Benjamin
It is here, that I have a question?
"Thomas P Benjamin" <BENJAMIN@anand.nddb.ernet.in>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>