Taking a ‘Values’ Test

Recently, I’ve began my search for the empirical value set that I look to present to society in the hopes to realign some of our distorted values. I believe this is the first step towards a better future. Without ranting too much about our current society let’s realize a few value based problems that we currently face:

1. All values and morals are equal! Moral Relativism! There can’t be an objective basis for morality.

This is simply wrong. To quote The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris:

Meaning, values, morality, and the good life must relate to facts about the well-being of conscious creatures-and, in our case, must lawfully depend upon events in the world and upon states of the human brain. Rational, open-ended, honest inquiry has always been the true source of insight into such processes. Faith, if it is ever right about anything, is right by accident.”

You are partially responsible for the thoughts and values of others! There is simply nowhere to hide from the collective consciousness. How have we convinced ourselves that all views must be equal on this matter? We are all in this together and if we want to escape a problematic fate then we need to find a value set that is based around objective understanding of our well-being. This is what I am searching for.

2. Current Value System

It’s clear to see how our values are distorted in our current society. If you don’t understand this, watch:

Peter Joseph “When Normality Becomes Distortion”

3. We need God to guide our moral set
I’m not going to go into detail with this absurd comment. I will quote Sam Harris:

Because there are no easy remedies for social inequality, many scientists and public intellectuals also believe that the great masses of humanity are best kept sedated by pious delusions. Many assert that, while they can get along just fine without an imaginary friend, most human beings will always need to believe in God. In my experience, people holding this opinion never seem to notice how condescending, unimaginative, and pessimistic a view it is of the rest of humanity-and of generations to come.

Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to find out what values are most important to me. So I decided to take a basic value test on the first website that found my search on Google. This MindTools site satisfied my search. After going through each step I ended up with 26 total values that I considered important:

  • Challenge, Community, Compassion, Continuous Improvement, Contribution, Creativity, Curiosity, Discipline, Economy, Empathy, Selflessness, Service, Equality, Unity, Fairness, Freedom, Goodness, Happiness, Health, Helping Society, Honesty, Humility, Independence, Intelligence, Making a difference, Truth-seeking

Seems reasonable. Now the hard part: Limit it to only ten values.

I immediately decided to cross out challenge as it did not seem to hold up to some of the more important ones. I combined making a difference, service, and helping society, with Community.  I decided to cross off independence as the future will be dependent on how we as a society share and become a family.

I then decided to circle the values that I knew were too important to miss. Community and health were the first two. These choices were obvious to me considering I had four values that could be brought under one giant umbrella of community (making a difference, service, helping society, and community). Health is, quite frankly, something we can’t live without. In terms of our well-being health may be the single most important value. I decided compassion and empathy were critical. In many instances modern society seems to lack compassion compared to profits. There seems to be a severe lack of empathy in today’s culture. Anytime you debate or argue with another individual the probability that it will end up without empathy is high. We need to understand each other better for any change to be made.

I mulled over selflessness for quite some time. I decided it needed to be circled considering how important it is to the future.

I wanted to choose only one of curiosity or creativity. I decided to choose creativity as it seemed slightly more practical. I choose intelligence next. I don’t think we want a society similar to Idiocracy.

The definition of Economy is the careful management of available resources. Considering our current rate of resource usage, I would argue we severely lack this value. Thus, economy makes my list of values.

I had eight values complete and only two open spots. I considered the following values for the final two spots: Equality, Freedom, Goodness, Happiness, Honesty, Discipline, Humility, Unity.

I eliminated happiness on the basis that the goal is to create a society that allows happiness to flourish. I see no reason why happiness needs to be a value in a system that literally enables happiness. Humility, while important, did not seem to hold up to the other values. Goodness and equality are also installed in the future hopes so I decided to choose honesty as my next value. I figured with how rampant lies are in our current societal system, honesty would be an important value to hold. This could be analyzed as being honest with oneself and being honest publicly. How would politics benefit from a more honest government?

My last value chosen was freedom. I was a bit hesitant to take this value as we really are not free. We are bound to our environments and our needs. I decided to take the term freedom relative to the current level of freedom that we have as a species. Today, we are forced to work (mainly) useless jobs in the name of keeping the economy afloat. This is not freedom. Freedom is not working 40+ hours a week, every week. In a future society, we will have a higher value of freedom.

All in all, it was an excellent mental exercise and it allowed me to see some new insights into my mind. I limited myself to the values that MindTools had listed on the site as I did not want this practice to take an enormous amount of time. The final list in no specific order:

  • Community
  • Compassion
  • Creativity
  • Economy
  • Empathy
  • Selflessness
  • Freedom
  • Health
  • Honesty
  • Intelligence

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