Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Makes for Your Values?

Most people don't recognize their own values, unless they are religious or are educated about this in their expertise. Americans, for the most part, take their values for granted and don't think about it, because we live in a free society. But, what makes for someone's values? Social conditioning, and personal interests are the basic foundations for values.

Social conditioning is how one has been raised within a specific context. What were the parental values, and how were they imparted to the child? What was the specific culture the child was raised and how did the family function? These are values that are not thought about, but are reflected in one's understanding about money, relationships, and "self". These are internalized values that make it difficult to "see" and sometime hinders communication because of the emotional association of these values. But, these "social values" are not the only driving force in a person's life.

Personal interests also form a person's values. These values are goals, desires and opinions about "greatest value". These are values that are more consciously held, because they drive a person's educational goals and job interests.

I recently watched a movie that I used in another post about a journalist who was pusuing a Pulitzer by revealing a CIA agent and it is pertinent here. The journalist's revelation exposed the President and his indecretions, as well as revealing information about this particular CIA agent. The journalist was holding government accountable by the expose'. But, the government saw it as an intrusion into their ability to function within international complexities. The journalist was held in contempt of court, because she would not reveal her source of information. When given the opportunity to be released from jail and save her marriage, she refused, because of her commitment and value of "Free Speech" and Freedom of the Press". This was a noble endeavor, but the CIA's life and purpose was NO LESS valuable.

The CIA agent seeks to prevent national security breaches. They seek to give information so that decisions can be made that will protect citizens, the military and other dignitaries. These are valued servants of the public's interests. And they should be applauded.

Everyone will have different priorities in a free and open society and these all must be protected, as without them, we will cease having a free society. Those that have internalized social values, must stop and think before they judge another's difference, as to whether those differences are undermining society at large, or are just different priorities of interests. Appreciate the differences, and move on. Don't make issues of things that support an open and free society because of your own internalized differences or personal interests.

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