One of the great arts in living is to learn the art of accurately appraising values. Everything that we think, that we earn, that we have given to us, that in any way touches our consciousness, has its own value. These values are apt to change with the mood, with time, or because of circumstances. We cannot safely tie to any material value. The values of all material possessions change continually, sometimes over night. Nothing of this nature has any permanent set value. The real values are those that stay by you, give you happiness and enrich you. They are the human values.
When we talk about values, I think of rationality in solving problems. That's something I value. [Values are things like] Fairness, kindness, generosity, tolerance. When they [Conservative right wing Republicans] talk about values, they're talking about things like going to church, voting for Bush, being loyal to Jesus, praying. These are not values.
To those who feel that their values are THE values, the less controlled systems necessarily present a spectacle of "chaos," simply because such systems respond to a diversity of values. The more successfully such systems respond to diversity, the more "chaos" there will be, by definition, according to the standards of ANY specific set of values- other than diversity or freedom as values. Looked at another way, the more self-righteous observers there are, the more chaos (and "waste") will be seen.
Art is not and never has been subordinate to moral values. Moral values are social values; aesthetic values are human values. Morality seeks to restrain the feelings; art seeks to define them by externalizing them, by giving them significant form. Morality has only one aim - the ideal good; art has quite another aim - the objective truth... art never changes.
It is not our affluence, or our plumbing, or our clogged freeways that grip the imagination of others. Rather, it is the values upon which our system is built. These values imply our adherence not only to liberty and individual freedom, but also to international peace, law and order, and constructive social purpose. When we depart from these values, we do so at our peril.
As our values are the core to who we are as human beings, they are also the easiest way to identify and connect with others in meaningful ways. Think about it - most political campaigns are based around values. Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign galvanized millions of youth behind two very clear values - hope and change.
The present dominant values (xenophilia, cosmopolitanism, narcissistic individualism, humanitarianism, bourgeois economism, hedonism, homophilia, permissivenes, etc.) are actually anti-values - values of devirilising weakness, since they deplete a civilization's vital energies and weaken its defensive or affirmative capacities.
Rebellion against technology and civilization is real rebellion, a real attack on the values of the existing system. But the green anarchists, anarcho-primitivists, and so forth (The "GA Movement") have fallen under such heavy influence from the left that their rebellion against civilization has to great extent been neutralized. Instead of rebelling against the values of civilization, they have adopted many civilized values themselves and have constructed an imaginary picture of primitive societies that embodies these civilized values.
Immigrants bring to America the values of faith in God, love of family, hard work and self reliance - the values that made us a great nation to begin with. We've all seen those values in action, through the service and sacrifice of more than 35,000 foreign-born men and women currently on active duty in the United States military.
The strong individual loves the earth so much he lusts for recurrence. He can smile in the face of the most terrible thought: meaningless, aimless existence recurring eternally. The second characteristic of such a man is that he has the strength to recognize - and to live with the recognition - that the world is valueless in itself and that all values are human ones. He creates himself by fashioning his own values; he has the pride to live by the values he wills.
What we often take to be family values--the work ethic, honesty, clean living, marital fidelity, and individual responsibility--are in fact social, religious, or cultural values. To be sure, these values are transmitted by parents to their children and are familial in that sense. They do not, however, originate within the family. It is the value of close relationships with other family members, and the importance of these bonds relative to other needs.
I think our intelligence is a source of toxicity to nature and discomfort to ourselves unless our values are based on planetary values, are linked to the values of the rest of nature. Intelligence is not a license to trample. The proper role of intelligence in a planetary ecology is that of gardener, caregiver and maintainer of balance.
Since a rational man's ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process - and the higher the values, the harder the struggle - he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther.
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