Is it possible for people to live without values? So often we hear our elders complaining that this current society has no values. Somehow we are all destined to collapse as a society because we lack a system of values. Technically, this isn’t entirely true because, well, everyone has a set of values.
Is It Possible For People to Live Without Values?
If we didn’t have some semblance of values, our modern age civilization would indeed collapse. So when someone claims that this society has no values, what they really mean is society does not hold the same values as they do.
There is a huge difference between the lack of values and subscribe to an entirely different value set.
Values at Work
The definition of value is “holding something in regard; also a measure of an object’s importance or usefulness.”
Values run much deeper than beliefs. As such, it’s safe to say that our values determine the forming of new beliefs and what to do with old beliefs. Since values essentially provide us with the roadmap of what is right and what is wrong, our values give us the motivation to act.
When a person values a friendship, they may also hold the belief that a friend should always be available and helpful to their friends at all times. This person’s value comes before the belief and indeed shapes the belief. When a person’s belief is formed completely and comprehensible, the subconscious mind can use it as a guidepost for making decisions in the future.
Just like a belief, our values can be the difference between an unsuccessful, unhappy life, and a life filled with successes and fulfillment. Our values will not only shape our thinking processes and awareness, but also our overall behavior.
Since our values run so deeply and are essentially embedded into our subconscious mind (unlike our beliefs), it takes time and effort to bring those values to the surface and articulate them in a way that can be understood completely.
Values system in action
Values are built on several aspects of life. These are family, friends, social union, companions, love, and happiness. Visualized as a huge ladder with the very top being the pinnacle, the family would be on the first rung and happiness would be at the pinnacle.
It is possible for each person to have more than one active value system in place. A person’s values system is also a dynamic thing and can change at the subconscious level when new and significant experiences are introduced. One example of this is when an upbeat and happy single man suddenly reevaluates his personal values system because his girlfriend has given birth to triplets.
The difference between means values and ends values
Artistic expression and personal freedom are central values often supported by values of frugality and consistent employment.
The concept of a means value will allow a person to achieve what’s known as an ends value. It’s important to note that means values are not dependent on ends values, however, ends values are not able to be supported sufficiently without the existence of means values.
An example of this idea looks at the notion of personal freedom. When a person regards their personal freedom as the most important value in their life, they hold beliefs such as the freedom to travel or that personal growth is achieved by continuing education.
For this person to be able to follow their dreams and their personal freedom, as the most important value in their life, they must have a means value to support it. This means value could be in the form of investing money wisely or sustained employment.
We can classify values as “towards” values or “away from” values.
Any normal person would want a life full of happiness. Since we all have this desire for the ideal life, our values can be classified based on what they help move us toward and what they help move us away from.
In order to help you get a grasp on why your values are structured in a specific way, here are examples of “towards” and “away from” values
Value: Working out in a gym
Movement: Towards health and wellness
Value: Going out socially with friends
Movement: Away from feeling lonely
Value: Long hours at work
Movement: Away from living a life of poverty
Value: Seeking true love
Movement: Towards a happy life
Value: Wise investment of money; saving money
Movement: Towards complete financial freedom
All values are NOT equal. Just like our beliefs, the forming of our values is the result of both positive and negative life experiences. That said, when one of our values takes us “away from” something, it is believed that that particular value is subconsciously formed because of past trauma.
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Any values that we have that were negatively influenced will usually have a resulting negative effect on how we seek to accomplish goals correlated with this value. Take for example the value of long hours at work. Even if your intention is to view this value in a positive light, the movement is identified as “away from poverty” and so the experience becomes bogged down with negativity.