Values and World-Views Radical Bleeding Heart image

How Values and World-Views Corrupt Each Other

Values. Values are not debatable. You want what you want and value what you value and that is that. Values come from inside you.

We need to make something clear first. Some people seem to think that “value” is synonymous with “ideal.” (We talk about ideals elsewhere.) Values are simply the things that you value: things that you want, that you desire. You may be ashamed of those values, you may deny that they exist, or you may even be unaware of them. Your “baser” values may be in conflict with your “higher” values. Or maybe you do not really have such higher values, but you really value the appearance of having higher values. Ideals are very deceptive things; it is not useful to confuse them with our real values: the things we actually want and care for.

World-Views. World-views are different. They are your understanding of the world outside you. Objective facts. The essential question is: Which most resembles the world of facts and reality? Each side is convinced that the other is deluded. Is it possible that both are right and both wrong to some degree? After all, we are all human, and life is complicated. We want things to be simple. More importantly, we have assumptions about how the world works, and we act automatically on those assumptions, but we almost never examine them critically. We just take them for granted. Unfortunately, unexamined assumptions are certain to be wrong at least to some degree.

How Values Change World-Views. So if values and world-views are about totally different things, how do they manage to get mixed up with each other? We liberals value equality and brotherhood. We think all women are our sisters and all men our brothers, and we love our brothers and sisters. Or at least we think we should. So we imagine that human beings are all basically good. This in spite of the fact that some of our brothers and sisters are capable of doing some pretty nasty things. Our values shape the way we see the world.

How World-Views Alter Values. Conversely, if in the world you happen to inhabit it is likely that the soul of your departed grandmother might dwell in the body of a chicken, you very well might decide to become a vegetarian (depending, one supposes, on how you feel about Granny.) World-views shape values.

[Next: The World-View and Value Gulfs Between Liberals and Conservatives.]