Monday 27 December 2010


I discussed this subject of 'Values' a month ago with a businessman on one of those train journeys.He explained, and on total reflection on his words I discover that I am in total agreement with him with the sad but true viewpoint that values and their presence are not a given attribute in any persons character.

This was a surprise for me to hear at the time, as I believe I have values,others who meet me affirm that I most certainly have them, but why do I have them, is the next question and why are they not universal? Good upbringing is good soil for this kind of discernment to develop, however, values are acquired through colossal personal investment he pronounced .....Wow, did this chime with me, you betcha!!I've done this (invested) starting at school and it has continued throughout my life.

Values can develop through reading wonderful/great writers and thinkers.(Aristotle and Plato just for a start,)Embarking on some really deep thinking and in the light of this followed by some objective self examination brings about changes in our mindsets. We are touched by situations portrayed in the great classics of fiction. If we have read classics ancient or modern,from many cultures, and studied aesthetics stepped out of our comfort zone to observe ourselves and our response.We may be prompted to think about ethical issues.We are hopefully rounded at the end of all of this, and not pidgeon holed.Our inner life is not a static pond, but a treasury.

Life is NOT trudging down the endless road of our existance only thinking about what is on the television or what our next meal might be.

Here is the BUT.I believe it is beholden to each human being that has access to these treasures I have mentioned above, to enrich themselves and thereby by default, enrich others about them etc. However, the draw back is of course that certain people would never ever bother to do it. They have no interest in philosophy, transcultural interchange of ideas, aesthetics, classics Why other cultures do what they do Can anything be learnt from them. If not why not? If so , why not?

Values are food for society.If we are secure in our values we have nothing to fear from other peoples, we are not shaken. With our values we can even comfort one another.There are some connections in what people say about politeness the same thing has effect on many people.Having a sense of humour the same is said about that too :'a sense of humour oils the wheels we are travelling on'. But back to values; all of the benefits of other attributes of humour and politeness can be applied strangely enough, to values.With our values in place we can admire without fear or threat, we know what it has taken to produce whatever and are grateful for it. We don't want watered down versions of manipulated falsity because the real thing is too strong to stomach. A wonderful comparison is like that of being babies and adults.Tiny babies cannot take meat only milk the same applies to powerful thought and great culture they are the food of adults similar to meat. Mankind must move from 'milk' to 'meat' (or the vegetarian equivalent)
I have noticed that having posted this blog in the latter part of 2010. Now with the BIG discussion on cuts in spending in the public sector relevant points of view not too dissimilar to my views on values are being aired because of the threat of closure of the public libraries across the country. Of course the true value of reading and as many spokespersons have stated that they more or less educated themselves by use of the public library. One person on radio 4 today said that her home lacked books through the lack of funds in her family home when she was just a child growing up and through her own diligence and study she managed to get a place at Oxford to read English. This spirited and clever woman said that it came about solely because of her use of the library and of course through reading. She stated exactly the same things that I have said previously.Through reading fiction one learns about consequences and the possible outcome of certain situations. One also learns philosophy and also closer to the 'earth' many fables to do with culture, let us call it the wisdom of culture is passed on through 'story telling'. Hopefully then coming back to my views on values,one can learn to evaluate and learn to judge circumstances and situations with greater wisdom.One can also learn to understand oneself through this very same acquired judgement.
We are thereby enriched and are in a better position to enrich others lives that we meet.