Know About The Good Life And Its Values

 Know About The Good Life And Its Values

Values- What Are They ?

The sense of value is an essential attribute of the human consciousness. It is this sense which prompts and guides the unceasing quest of the common thread of goodness in the good human being, the good society and the good life. In a general way the word ‘value’ expresses the qualitative significance we assign to ideas, feelings, activites and experience. Values are the evaluative standards we use for deciding what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, what is desirable and what is undersirable. We experience life in innumerable ways. Our inner self shifts and analyses these experiences, sometimes consciously but more often unconsciously, and attanches different degrees of significance to them. The basis of this evaluation process is our system of values. Our value judgement are expressed through statement like, ‘she is a good  person’, ‘ he is an honest man’ , ‘ it is a beautiful sunset’ , ‘ we should respect elders’ , ‘ business dealing should be fair’ , etc.., etc.

Good Life And Its Values

The values system we acquire and develop affects our attidues, prefrences, goals and aspirations. It sets the standards and guidelines which govern our behavior, the quality of relationships we build, and the response we make to life situations. Those who value money,  power and status most will direct all the efforts for achieving them, ignoring the social, human and ethical implications of their pursuits. For them human relationships will have only instrumental value, to be nurtured to the extent it helps in their career growth. Even moral and human values will have only secondary, if at all, role for them. On the hand those who value mortality, justice, kidness, compassion may decline even lucrative carrer options if it requires compromising on these values. If someone values nature and natural beauty he or she will be trekking in himalayas during holidays rather than shopping in singapore. Similarly those who value music, art literature will spend their evenings in these pursuits instead of watching TV or partying. In short, the quality of living space we create for ourselves is determined by our system of values. As Swami Yuktananda says:

They (values) are the very core of our behaviour, the motive force of our lives.

At the collective level it is the commonly shared values of a social group which determine the quality of life in it. In a society like ours, which values collectivism, it is the group needs of the family, the caste, the village community which get prefrence over the interest of the individuals. The balance between the material and the moral values decides the overall goodness of a society. The different socio-political ideologies like, liberalism, democracy, socialism etc. are different ways of realising certain cherished values at the societal level. Similarly, all the social institution, like the state, judiciary, education institutions,industry, trade & commerce etc, have been created for the realisation of some values deemed necessary for the common good of the society.

It is the humanistic approach to values which is the most important driving force in the advancement of human spirit and human well being in the modern times. The essential element of this approach are :

  • Recongnition of the diginty , worth and values of the individual human person.
  • Emphasis on the essential unity of humankind and allegiance to their common identity.

The Indian Concept Of Values:

The Good Life And Its Values

The magnificent cultural advancement of the ancient Indian civilisation was based on the solid foundation of the refined value system created by its philosophers, sages and seers. The universal, humanistic and life supporting components of its vast and varied ideas on values is a prized heritage for us Indians.

The most comprehensive term describing Indian thought on values is DHARMA. It covers wide ranging value issues like personal virtues, righteousness, duties and obligation and moral principles for interpersonal and social relationshps. The main purpose of DHARMA is not to impose Gods commandnents but to provide means for furthering individual and collective well being, not only of human beings but of all beings. That is the meaning of the following verse.

The sense of values or dharma, is considered the essential criterion for distinguishing human beings from animals.

 

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