Friday, July 17, 2009

My View on Values

I was watching a news program tonight when the story of Walter Cronkite's passing came to light. Like so many things in our cultures history, my personal perspective of Walter sits where the formation of HBO, MTV and the burgeoning cable channel era along with the transition of news mainly being delivered in the form of paper to being delivered by television and then by internet and now watching the transition of news being derived and reported by professional journalists, to being augmented and, who knows, maybe even replaced (although I sincerely hope not) by us, the interested and now participating news consumer. I watched as we got our first Space Shuttle flight and landing, forgoing the pervious towering rocket and splash down pod landings. I watched in utter amazement at the Jackson 5, special effects spectacular, video, "Can You Feel It", and have now seen the passing of the groups, and possibly the world's, greatest star, Michael Jackson.

Just this morning, I was watching Krull and remembered fondly how I once thought of that movie as the one of the greats in special effects and now view it's visual pageantry as quaint and cheesy. My life seems to span the new modern era to the post modern era, and while I am very excited for the future of what may come, I am also reverent of the past, and that it is, ever so quickly, fading away. This, more than any other motivation, is what has inspired me to finally join the blogging fray. While I may get booed off the page, my hope is that I will inspire a reaction to involve you to action and participation on these discussions, topics, rants and raves of the very near future.

However...where to begin? Maybe, at the beginning...or at present an homage to the fundamentals. Values. My Values in particular. Where am I coming from? What is my drive and desire? What am I hoping to accomplish, outside of readership.

My values, at least in the context of this and all other public forums, have nothing to do with personal morality. Personal morality is for yourself, myself and what ever God or universe you may believe in. People of all or no faith's are often quite fond of reminding us at this point of Christ's defense of the adulterer lending us the line of "Let he who among you is without sin, cast the first stone.", however, what they miss is the obvious fact that Christ, at that moment, was saying that that woman's choice was between her, the men involved and their God, not the false pieties of the mob, who have no personal investment.

I feel this is important to note because it goes to present a case which states that these kinds of values, the values of personal morality, are far too often used by those seeking political gain to distract and manipulate us from the values which are much more fundamental, absolutely universal and are in effect for us all.

Those universal values are the most simple and fundamental. How does one define terms of "good" or "bad"?

For myself, those terms are values that equate to other values. To me, "good" is a value that encompasses the equating values of "life", "growth", "individual freedom", "peace", "prosperity", "fun", "understanding", "compassion", "grace", "positive", "health" and "longevity". I am sure there are others, but at some point I have to stop, and I think I have given enough to make the clear impact of intention desired.

"Bad" is equated by values of "death", "atrophy", "individual confinement or restriction", "war", "disaster", "crime", "self-centeredness", "indifference", "indecency", "negative", "disease" and "evanescence".

While some of those reading this now may think this trite, let me inspire you with an analogy of a star studded but losing, sports franchise (think of the Yankee's). In my estimation, when you have a team comprised of an all-star line up, at just about every position, yet still struggle to even crack the top of your division, I believe the problem is a lack of focus on the fundamentals of the game. Instead of coaching fundamentals and letting the talent appear on the field, the coaches or managers may, instead look to extract the talent from it's marquee line up and the shift away from the fundamentals allows other teams who must focus on fundamentals to surpass the stars (in pinstripes).

The very same thing happens to us as a whole nation. The lack of focus on universal fundamentals, which affect us all, regardless of religious belief, is what builds the nest that comforts a collection of institutions that are, by and large, free of punitive accountability. Which, in turn, have disastrous effects on the lives of everyday people. If we were to, instead, reinvest our attention to the universal values, afore mentioned, and develop litmus tests to measure those in high office of any government branch, post or corporate leadership, we would find ourselves not having those that lead us today, but instead, a high quality of leadership, in every guiding venue, which would (at least in my theory of the world) bring everyday individuals to greater prosperity. This should also lead to a drop in crime, disease, malfeasance, malnutrition and death.

I am, an unabashed, idealist. And like so many greater persons before me, I will attempt to bring my idealism to practical practice. However, that means understanding that there will be the quickly inevitable conflict of values that bring all bright things to confusion. For simple example, while I am pro-growth, a step that a company might take for huge growth may come at the expense of many individuals. In this case, I think it is important to look at the differing values of both loss and gain and weigh them with the appropriate measurements. In my estimation, those who are the poorest, receive a larger measurement value than those that are more prosperous. My own personal morality is in play here, however, so is my universal values. The reasoning behind that is because, overwhelmingly speaking, what ever social economic level is fed by new growth, so grows the all economic levels above them. So if a society were to give new resources to the poorest, those poor would exhaust those resources on their unmet needs and wants, in turn, bringing new resources to the middle poor, then the middle class, then the upper-middle class, to the lower executive class and so on and so forth. While bringing new resources to very wealthiest of us, may or may not, feed any economic levels below them. Maybe they hire new people, maybe not, and if so, how many, if any, would come from the ranks of the poorest? Maybe the wealthiest spend more money than they did before, maybe not? And if they did, how much of that money would go to luxury spending that renew the resources of the upper classes and how much of it would be spent that would renew the resources of the poorest of us? Maybe, and most likely, in our society, the wealthiest of us would opt, instead, to sink their shiniest coin into the gamble of suedo-investing, before they would, only by necessity, pay those moneys out to vendors or employees or new projects, which does almost no one, any measurable amount of good. However, sometimes the opposite is true, which has also happened.

Either way, I do support what ever will create the most guaranteed positive result for the most amount of people possible. I just may not always know what that way might be, as many of you would not. Also, because no man is perfect, I may not always abide by my system of universal values, but I do strive to with constant persistence.

Do not think me anti-business. I do believe in anyone trying to make money from any worthwhile endeavor they may undertake. For example, I have, myself, created an "AdServe" account, hoping (probably against hope) that I may have some measurable readership and they may click on any of the ads that are served upon my blog page. However, because (unless I missed it somewhere, again, I am brand new to this) I do not have control over the ads served here (which I will not and can not make any personal avouchment for), I may be unwittingly supporting industries or companies I find myself at the various odds against. However it was a devil I was willing to pay dues to, in the desperate hope of gaining an income which might allow me to more focus on this blog, which, by the measurement of traffic alone, might be an endorsement of the value that people may find here. But I digress...

The point being is that, when measuring the values of "good" or "bad" the differing sides of the scales are rarely without weight. I, myself, in my estimation of the most correct universal value system, give individuals greater weight than any institution and give those that are poorer greater weight than those who have more resources available.

How about you? What is your universal system of values? Are they something you live as well as preach?

Do you disagree with me? Take me to task! Post your response now, I promise, it will not fall upon deaf ears.

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