Earlier this week, I cheekily asked in my Facebook group whether people thought their values, attitudes and beliefs are superior to those of others. As expected, I noticed some head scratching, stunned silence and quiet outrage as a result.
Most of us live in a Western world where our current ‘post-modern’ values system dictates that we hold all values as equal to each other. We cannot, we think, say that some values are better than others, because they should all be equally respected.
In a world where there are many truths, and none of them is more ‘true’ than others, we should all get on with each other, and accept each other’s values as equally valid, regardless of how wildly different and contradictory they are to ours. Right? However, consider the following scenario’s:
- Would you genuinely consider someone’s racist, sexist or ableist values system as equal to yours?
- As an ethical business owner, would you accept that a multinational oil trust or tobacco company, which put profit above the environment or people’s health and wellbeing, can continue their destructive activities because their values are deserving of equal respect?
- Would you say to someone who is telling you that they hate your way of living and ‘corrupt’ Western values and would like to destroy them, that you respect their views because they are as valid as yours?
It is perfectly acceptable to consider some values better than others. This doesn’t mean that people with different values systems should be met with hostility and aggression.
As a person with superior values (obviously!) you can accept that values systems evolve, not only throughout history, but also during someone’s lifetime. We are all born as self-centered narcissists, but (hopefully) most of us learn, mature and develop our value systems throughout life.
Understanding that values evolve and can change, can only fill us with compassion, understanding and patience for those whose values seem (self-)destructive, hostile and contradictory. And having attitudes, beliefs and values which promote understanding and love can only be a good thing, right?
Some food for thought right there!