Friday, September 28, 2007

My Experience in Adherence to the Human Values !!!

“Love is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished”, “Harsh words break no bones, but they do break hearts”, etc. etc.

We have heard a lot of phrases like the above two and we liked them too. But still these quotes remained in our memory only. We have never given a thought to apply them to our practical lives when the time was critical. There is one saying by Mr. Abraham Lincoln:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's values, give him power”.

So true, isn’t it? We all have always been the good old chaps of our respective families and neighborhood but we were always short on knowing what the human values are and how did they originated. Moreover, there is so much fuzz about this word and why one should practice them. According to Sathya Sai Baba in a lecture delivered on 26th September 2000,

“Human Values - Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence - are hidden in every human being. One cannot acquire them from the outside; they have to be elicited from within. These five values are the fundamental powers of human life.”

We will now discuss about all of them in brief as to what they all mean to human being at large:

Ø Truth – honesty, intuition, discrimination, integrity, knowledge, objectivity, and more…
Ø Righteousness– conscience, morality, discipline, healthy living, responsibility, trust, and more…
Ø Peace – faith, contentment, patience, inner-silence, concentration, self-confidence, and more…
Ø Love – friendship, compassion, empathy, devotion, kindness, forgiveness, and more…
Ø Non-violence – ethics, harmony, tolerance, broad-mindedness, courage, fairness, and more…

These are the examples of the values to make them understand in the easiest way one can understand. Now some examples of each from our day to day lives:

Ø Truth – A professional would be honest about errors or delays even if it meant a reprimand.
Ø Righteousness – An office worker would do his or her best work, even if no one was watching.
Ø Peace – A supervisor would make difficult decisions with a peaceful mind.
Ø Love – A professional going for a deal would actively seek a win-win solution to a parental complaint.
Ø Non-violence – An executive would strive to reduce pollution levels, even if it was not required by law.

Thus, now we know of five human values that one must practice. However, the irony is that the meaning of these values changes from person to person. In a recent event, one of the applicants has been asked to pay Rs. 2000 for the job he was qualified and most deserving. Here anyone can point out that the HR professional was of cheap values. Just remember that there are no cheap or rich values. It’s the circumstances that makes or breaks a person’s values and beliefs. Who knew that the above given HR professional had an ailing mother at home and despite being continuously asking of help from the company, he hasn’t got any. And still he is not cheating his profession because who knew that he asked of the money only from the most deserving candidate. According to Shakespeare,

“There is nothing either good or bad but the thinking makes it so.”

Now this arouses some thoughts in our minds that values are individual based or community based. We know from the above example that circumstances mould values for a human being. So why we say that we have Indian values or American values? The answer lies within. Our society plays an immensely large role in shaping us. Most of us have seen the jungle book where “mowgli” brought up in the jungle from his birth with some jackals. He knew each and everything about the law of jungle but when encountered with human beings, he faced a lot of difficulties in adapting their values. Thus we can say that the values are both individual as well as community based. Even, cross-cultural expressions of the human values are found across all cultures and societies, though we may have variations and different emphases depending on the society we were born in and the experiences we’ve had in life.

Now we know as what these values mean, now we will focus on from where they come from. In the earliest days of Homo sapiens a centrifugal force caused humans to spread, slowly, over the earth. They developed highly resourceful ways of coping with the extreme variations. Later, as the groups increased in size and individuals started to specialize, factors of integration and interdependence became paramount. Individuals had to learn to accept more fully the idea that responsibility to the group must sometimes override their personal self-interest. This is a value which, to a material extent, seems to be in jeopardy today. For many millennia the values suitable for the family unit and the tribe were all that mattered. Then (it seems somewhere around 10,000 years ago) came the earliest civilizations of which we have any real evidence. This led to the recording in the written form of knowledge involving more complex and sophisticated set of values, thus encouraging and facilitating more complex interactions and enabling the group, and the culture to be maintained against the challenges, both human and natural, they faced. It is worth recording that the earliest statement I have so far found comes from about 2000 BC. The deterministic and in deterministic principles that scientists have discovered that govern the natural world are impersonal. The purely natural evolution process is ultimately a result of impersonal random processes as explained by the leading evolutionist Richard Dawkins (7). "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature are the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. ... Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. It can be said to play the role of the blind watch maker." According to the theory of evolution, if some impersonal molecule did not randomly interfere with the DNA replication of some past creature's (i.e. single cell bacteria or ancient ape) DNA, then humans most likely would have never come into existence which shows that pure naturalism is completely impersonal. I do think that evolution has occurred (4); however, I do think there is evidence that the supernatural was involved (5). Since natural principles do not consider anything more important then another, human values cannot rationally be derived from just an understanding of the natural world. Thus, it is no wonder why the leading evolutionist Stephen Gould said,
"(Natural) Science as an enterprise is a discipline that deals with the factual state of the (natural) world, and you don't derive ethical beliefs from factual statements (of the natural world). The most (natural) science can do is to supply information that may be relevant to ethical decisions, but it is never going to tell you what proper behavior is. It just can't."
Since values are so fundamental, determining values depends upon basic presuppositions. The presumption that humans are important is a required fundamental concept for human values and could be used as a fundamental basis for determining human values. Based on this presumption that humans are valuable, one could assert more general values such as human survival, human satisfaction, human happiness and a healthy human condition. Aside from basic survival, humans put most of their effort into relationships with other humans. Good relationships are important for human satisfaction, human happiness and healthy human condition. If God played a crucial role in the creation of humans, then everything humans have or are capable of doing is provided to them by God; thus, God would deserve respect from humans. If a good relationship is truly a purpose for which God created humans, then it would be appropriate to value a good relationship with God as well as humans.
If a person is thinking through their decisions about how to behave, then each decision at least involves some consideration of their values. This involves thinking through the things involved and prioritizing them to determine how they should or should not behave. Thus one more point to remember which I learned while adhering to the human values is that these are the things that are considered and given priority to.

None can say that I cannot give priority to a human value. We might not be known to our inner self and may say this in sub consciousness but we all follow some or the other values. It’s not about what the human values are but what are the values a person values. During my journey, I have seen many a people following certain values that may not be a part of the values I listed above but they found there place somewhere or the other. I have a friend who says that he doesn’t follow ant of the above given values and he values only money. Does that mean that he is not a human being? It’s just about the research that we make and then how our mind bends. Unconsciously he forgets the second value- righteousness. He is right to himself and doesn’t bother whether someone is watching him or praising him or not. He works due diligently, cheats people due diligently and then counts his money at the end of the day. So the main values for him are cheating and righteousness.

The only point that I want to make is that it is not necessary that you will face good consequences by following the human values. We all have values that we adhere to but we all must remember the 80:20 rule in following our human values in the case of adverse circumstances:
ü 80% of the punctures happen in the last 20% of the tyre life.
ü 80% of the financial worries are due to 20% of over spending.
ü 80% of your friends will hurt you & only 20% will support you.
ü 80% of the work can be done by your subordinate, only 20% need you.
ü 80% of your work is routine, only 20% need in depth analysis.
ü 80% of the people around you are reasonable, only 20% need tactful handling.
ü 80% of the tension is due to 20% of carelessness.
ü 80% of your good impression can be spoiled by 20% of your mistakes.

Thus we must remember to set our priorities while deciding upon our values and making a choice. It’s our choice to ruin our 80% of life just by selecting 20% of the values that are not meant for us. If we will live by chance, and not choice, we will get everything by chance only but if we will choose to live on our own terms and values, we will get whatever we want. If a person is thinking through their decisions about how to behave, then each decision at least involves some consideration of their values. The better a person considers their values in their decisions the more their decisions are value based. When a person makes a decision they typically have many different choices they could make. Some of the choices would not support their values at all while other choices support their values to different extents. There are different levels at which people can consider their values. A minimal level is where a person just requires that there is something of value in what they are doing. For example, a person could spend a 100,000 dollars on a car and considered it consistent with their values because the car provides the means for them to work so that they can support their family. The next level up is called the prioritized approach which is where a person considers if the way they invest their resources is prioritized in a way that is consistent with their values. Under this approach the person considers more than just whether or not there is something of value, but of the available choices which one is prioritized in a way that is most consistent with their values. The highest level up is called the optimized approach which is where a person considers if the way they invest their resources is the most efficient way to promote their values. For example, if the person does not value the car's appearance, then they will just pay what is needed to provide the function of safe, comfortable and efficient travel and not pay extra for the other things they do not value. The higher the level of value based thinking the more effort one does in evaluating the choices and opportunities. This will make the person aware of more different choices and it will also make them realize more that certain choices promote their values better than others. This should result in improving their ability to better promote their values through their decisions.
By rationally thinking through one's values one is in a better position to live out their values. The sooner this process gets started and maintained the more likely the person will be maturing themselves emotionally and intellectually and developing friends and communities that they can share in promoting these values. I think this gives one the best opportunity for living out a satisfying, fulfilling and happy life.
I have the area for improvement in the values I follow, what about you? At last no one is going to ask you anything but it’s you who will answer to yourself. The choice is yours. Be true to yourself or keep craving for a valuable life.


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