How valuable are your values?

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How valuable are your values?

Postby anon » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:25 am

How valuable are your values?

I mean, if you were brought up believing you should manage your money wisely, and decades later it turns out you're the only one around who has done so, then everyone just thinks you're selfish because you hardly share (because of the slippery slope which is no fallacy in the real world!)

But if you were brought up thinking it's good to not think about money much and to rely on each other and always be willing to help out or be helped yourself... you might just end up living in a new culture, where you're seen as lazy, a moocher, a good for nothing.

Don't your values have to be similar enough to the values of your culture to be of much value?

Or does this litmus test merely help to identify secondary values? If so, which are the primary values - those values we might choose to call virtues?

I'd think a true virtue would prove valuable to oneself and others in any real situation that a person could conceivably find himself in. But of course the people involved may be confused about what they really want. I mean, does an alcoholic want another drink or to quit drinking?
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby James S Saint » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:58 am

How valuable are you wants or desires?
How valuable is your knowledge?
How valuable is your wisdom?
How valuable are your fingernails?

It will always boil down to "what is your purpose?"
..aka "What is the purpose of your life?"

.. also know by many as your "soul".
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:09 pm

anon wrote:How valuable are your values?

I mean, if you were brought up believing you should manage your money wisely, and decades later it turns out you're the only one around who has done so, then everyone just thinks you're selfish because you hardly share (because of the slippery slope which is no fallacy in the real world!)

But if you were brought up thinking it's good to not think about money much and to rely on each other and always be willing to help out or be helped yourself... you might just end up living in a new culture, where you're seen as lazy, a moocher, a good for nothing.

Don't your values have to be similar enough to the values of your culture to be of much value?


Not really, but it depends. Even if you're just talking abot the pragmatic value of a person's values, that's going to depend on a lot more than just the prevailing values of the culture. As James implies, it's about what you are trying to DO or acheive by having the values you have. If you're placing yourself at the vanguard of some counter cultural revolution then it's probably helpful to have alternate values.

Or does this litmus test merely help to identify secondary values? If so, which are the primary values - those values we might choose to call virtues?


What's the difference between primary and secondary values? Virtues are like character traits that we value in people, but i don't think they are really any more primary than values concerning money.

I'd think a true virtue would prove valuable to oneself and others in any real situation that a person could conceivably find himself in.


If that's the case, then there's probably no such thing as a true virtue, or at least what constitutes a true virtue will be all in the eye of the beholder.

But of course the people involved may be confused about what they really want. I mean, does an alcoholic want another drink or to quit drinking?


Most alcoholics want another drink - some of them also want to quit drinking. One of the problem with determining values is that it's possible to simultaneously value things that conflict - like family and career. So it's not that people are confused about what they want, it's just that it's possible to want to keep drinking and quit drinking at the same time, even if it is impossible to actually do both at the same time.
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby anon » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:21 pm

James S Saint wrote:How valuable are you wants or desires?
How valuable is your knowledge?
How valuable is your wisdom?
How valuable are your fingernails?

It will always boil down to "what is your purpose?"
..aka "What is the purpose of your life?"

.. also know by many as your "soul".

I guess I thought of my post as about noticing how values that seem so stable and central to our lives often rely on others' values being similar to make any sense.
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby anon » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:42 pm

uglypeoplefucking wrote:
anon wrote:How valuable are your values?

I mean, if you were brought up believing you should manage your money wisely, and decades later it turns out you're the only one around who has done so, then everyone just thinks you're selfish because you hardly share (because of the slippery slope which is no fallacy in the real world!)

But if you were brought up thinking it's good to not think about money much and to rely on each other and always be willing to help out or be helped yourself... you might just end up living in a new culture, where you're seen as lazy, a moocher, a good for nothing.

Don't your values have to be similar enough to the values of your culture to be of much value?


Not really, but it depends. Even if you're just talking abot the pragmatic value of a person's values, that's going to depend on a lot more than just the prevailing values of the culture. As James implies, it's about what you are trying to DO or acheive by having the values you have. If you're placing yourself at the vanguard of some counter cultural revolution then it's probably helpful to have alternate values.

Sure - I wonder if I might put that last part differently - if you have alternate values it's probably helpful to try to convince others to join your team.

Or does this litmus test merely help to identify secondary values? If so, which are the primary values - those values we might choose to call virtues?

What's the difference between primary and secondary values? Virtues are like character traits that we value in people, but i don't think they are really any more primary than values concerning money.

I just made up the difference. I mean that some values don't seem to be worth much unless enough people share the same values, while other values seem to serve you well whatever kind of situation you could conceivably find yourself in.

I'd think a true virtue would prove valuable to oneself and others in any real situation that a person could conceivably find himself in.

If that's the case, then there's probably no such thing as a true virtue, or at least what constitutes a true virtue will be all in the eye of the beholder.

I wonder if that's the case. If you're a person, certain facts hold. For instance, being a person, you are necessarily sentient. So you have preferences. That you have preferences means you seek happiness or satisfaction. The things that bring satisfaction are interchangeable - it's not the thing that brings satisfaction that you seek, it's the satisfaction that you seek. A "true virtue" (again, I'm making up the terminology - I'm ignoring whatever history these words might or might not have) is a kind of disposition or "posture of the mind" that will always produce what you necessarily seek.

But of course the people involved may be confused about what they really want. I mean, does an alcoholic want another drink or to quit drinking?

Most alcoholics want another drink - some of them also want to quit drinking. One of the problem with determining values is that it's possible to simultaneously value things that conflict - like family and career. So it's not that people are confused about what they want, it's just that it's possible to want to keep drinking and quit drinking at the same time, even if it is impossible to actually do both at the same time.

So there is happiness itself, and there are things that might produce happiness. It's true that a drink might produce happiness, and giving up alcohol might produce happiness. But these things are interchangeable. The conflicted desire isn't really a big problem when it comes to happiness. The confusion comes from thinking the choice between one thing and the other is an essential one.

This isn't about some kind of metaphysical plane - this is about utter practicality. What kinds of things can we count on to aid us in life? Isn't that what matters? And if we just say about anything, "it depends on what you want" - how much does that really help? I want a new car, my niece wants a new doll. Ok, but who cares? What is it we both want? And are there surefire ways to get that? Or are we fated to just be tossed around on the waves of life, no control whatsoever? Though I don't believe in a linearly deterministic relationship between actions and happiness/suffering, I don't believe that happiness or suffering are randomly produced, either.
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:10 pm

anon wrote:Sure - I wonder if I might put that last part differently - if you have alternate values it's probably helpful to try to convince others to join your team.


Yup, i think i get what you're saying now. What do you think the specific advantages are of people sharing values?

I mean that some values don't seem to be worth much unless enough people share the same values, while other values seem to serve you well whatever kind of situation you could conceivably find yourself in.


Hm. Define "serve you well". Better yet, give an example of a value that serves well and a value that doesn't. You don't have to of course but it would be helpful.

If you're a person, certain facts hold. For instance, being a person, you are necessarily sentient. So you have preferences. That you have preferences means you seek happiness or satisfaction. The things that bring satisfaction are interchangeable - it's not the thing that brings satisfaction that you seek, it's the satisfaction that you seek. A "true virtue" (again, I'm making up the terminology - I'm ignoring whatever history these words might or might not have) is a kind of disposition or "posture of the mind" that will always produce what you necessarily seek.


Sounds like a good thing to have, where can i get one? Personally, i can't get no satisfaction (as they say) no matter how hard i chase it - i even tried giving up the chase altogether, but that didn't work. Part of the problem is that i don't know what i want - so i don't even know what i'm looking for. i try (and i try and i try), but it feels like i'm fumbling around blind. Does that mean i lack true virtue?

So there is happiness itself, and there are things that might produce happiness. It's true that a drink might produce happiness, and giving up alcohol might produce happiness. But these things are interchangeable. The conflicted desire isn't really a big problem when it comes to happiness. The confusion comes from thinking the choice between one thing and the other is an essential one.


What's the alternative to making the choice? At some point you have to decide whether or not you're gonna have the drink, don't you?

This isn't about some kind of metaphysical plane - this is about utter practicality. What kinds of things can we count on to aid us in life? Isn't that what matters? And if we just say about anything, "it depends on what you want" - how much does that really help? I want a new car, my niece wants a new doll. Ok, but who cares? What is it we both want? And are there surefire ways to get that? Or are we fated to just be tossed around on the waves of life, no control whatsoever? Though I don't believe in a linearly deterministic relationship between actions and happiness/suffering, I don't believe that happiness or suffering are randomly produced, either.


i agree - though i think some people get lucky and win the happiness and satisfaction lottery, while some people get dealt a poor hand by fate - but you're right that people can play a role in producing their own happiness and suffering.

It's interesting that you link a person's values to how happy they are. Can't a person of strong virtue and values be unhappy?
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby anon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:32 pm

I appreciate your thoughtful response, UPF. I'll reply in the near future. Thanks for your patience...
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby anon » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:51 pm

uglypeoplefucking wrote:
anon wrote:Sure - I wonder if I might put that last part differently - if you have alternate values it's probably helpful to try to convince others to join your team.


Yup, i think i get what you're saying now. What do you think the specific advantages are of people sharing values?

One advantages is that we're not all working against each other all the time. One disadvantages is that you depend on coordinating things with others, which is a lot to ask. The main issue I pointed out in my OP is that we simply fail to see the interdependent nature of our values. Values depend on context to make sense, but we tend to think of them as inviolable (or that they ought to be inviolable).

I mean that some values don't seem to be worth much unless enough people share the same values, while other values seem to serve you well whatever kind of situation you could conceivably find yourself in.

Hm. Define "serve you well". Better yet, give an example of a value that serves well and a value that doesn't. You don't have to of course but it would be helpful.

"Serve you well" meaning good for you. A value that serves you well doesn't lead to misery. Again, values don't make sense without context, so there's plenty of discussion to be had around this point. Valuing the accumulation of money, whatever means necessary and at the expense of others won't serve you well. You won't become a happier person with this attitude. Valuing the ability to appreciate positive circumstances in your life will serve you well. I could add "most likely" to those statements if I was feeling cautious, but I'm not sure it's really necessary to be that cautious.

If you're a person, certain facts hold. For instance, being a person, you are necessarily sentient. So you have preferences. That you have preferences means you seek happiness or satisfaction. The things that bring satisfaction are interchangeable - it's not the thing that brings satisfaction that you seek, it's the satisfaction that you seek. A "true virtue" (again, I'm making up the terminology - I'm ignoring whatever history these words might or might not have) is a kind of disposition or "posture of the mind" that will always produce what you necessarily seek.

Sounds like a good thing to have, where can i get one? Personally, i can't get no satisfaction (as they say) no matter how hard i chase it - i even tried giving up the chase altogether, but that didn't work. Part of the problem is that i don't know what i want - so i don't even know what i'm looking for. i try (and i try and i try), but it feels like i'm fumbling around blind. Does that mean i lack true virtue?

"Satisfaction" is a tricky word to use. Part of what constitutes progress in the satisfaction department is knowing that satisfaction can't be grasped and held onto.

No, it doesn't mean you lack true virtue.

So there is happiness itself, and there are things that might produce happiness. It's true that a drink might produce happiness, and giving up alcohol might produce happiness. But these things are interchangeable. The conflicted desire isn't really a big problem when it comes to happiness. The confusion comes from thinking the choice between one thing and the other is an essential one.

What's the alternative to making the choice? At some point you have to decide whether or not you're gonna have the drink, don't you?

Yes, but it's not an essential choice. I choose things at the supermarket too. Again, context. I might encourage a dying old alcoholic to have another drink. I wouldn't encourage a 14 year old to have another drink. But I would encourage both of them to be virtuous.

This isn't about some kind of metaphysical plane - this is about utter practicality. What kinds of things can we count on to aid us in life? Isn't that what matters? And if we just say about anything, "it depends on what you want" - how much does that really help? I want a new car, my niece wants a new doll. Ok, but who cares? What is it we both want? And are there surefire ways to get that? Or are we fated to just be tossed around on the waves of life, no control whatsoever? Though I don't believe in a linearly deterministic relationship between actions and happiness/suffering, I don't believe that happiness or suffering are randomly produced, either.

i agree - though i think some people get lucky and win the happiness and satisfaction lottery, while some people get dealt a poor hand by fate - but you're right that people can play a role in producing their own happiness and suffering.

It's interesting that you link a person's values to how happy they are. Can't a person of strong virtue and values be unhappy?

They can, but I think I'm using the word virtue in a slightly different way than you think. Virtue is just what leads to happiness, for oneself and others. Giving up something for lent, and gritting your teeth to get through it, isn't virtuous. Virtue includes relaxation, spaciousness of mind, etc. And you've got to be intelligent and see how the whole thing works. Putting others first isn't virtuous, in the sense I'm using, if you're being a martyr about it. The most virtuous thing I can conceive of is to simply let go of ego-clinging. Just being open and accommodating and friendly, but being discriminating and intelligent the whole while. Valuing such things will always serve you well.

In Buddhism there's this thing called the 4 immeasurables. Love, compassion, joy, equanimity. They are qualities that you can work on developing. They will always serve you well. They don't dictate how you should act. Developing measureless love doesn't stop you from punishing a criminal. Developing measureless equanimity doesn't stop you from making choices. They don't tell you how to tie your shoes or whether dropping an atomic bomb to end a war is the right thing to do or not.
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: How valuable are your values?

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:46 pm

Very wise points, anon. You give me alot to think about.
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