Human beings need different things to live in this world. However, nothing in this world is available free of cost. Everything has a price, and one has to pay the right price to satisfy one’s needs. However, we value things based on our needs, and the needs depend on our value system.
First, there are necessities like food, water, air, shelter, and clothing, without which the body’s survival is not possible. However, once these necessities are satisfied, man moves to satisfy his higher needs like social needs, security needs, or the need for self-actualization.
However, every person does not follow the same path as his path would depend on the person’s inherent values. These inherent values are acquired by the man under his nature and also by his nurture. The family, society, nation, and individual make every person unique as he develops a unique set of values. These values decide the priority and lifestyle of the person. The values make the person’s personality and decide the individual, family, society, nation, and humanity.
1. Individualistic Values
The most inherent value of a person is individualistic, which means valuing oneself over anything else in the world. This is also the most natural value which is inherent in every animal of the world. The animals live for themselves without much bothering about the other animals. The only exception would be the mother animal, which takes care of her child’s animal till the child grows up sufficiently to support itself.
The modern world has been moving more and more towards individualistic values where the individual’s interest is considered the most “right” and needs to be protected. The individualistic value support freedom as it believes that every person has the right to decide what is good for him.
Every child starts with individualistic values, and he wants everything in the world for the self and wants everyone to serve him. When the child’s need is not satisfied, he cries and does everything to satisfy the need.
2. Family Values
The human species may be the most powerful on the earth, but it is also true that the human species is also the weakest. A human child does not even learn to walk for one year. If the child of the man is allowed to survive independently, it just can not survive. The support of family is a must for the growth of every human child. For this reason, the human species over the year has invented the concept of a family that lives like one unit and supports a newborn child until it becomes strong enough to support itself.
The concept of family has given rise to the family value where a family is considered to be the basic unit of the society instead of the individual. The family has the right and power to control the other member of the family. In a family system, the family members divide their work to perform complementary functions rather than perform the same functions. For example, the father earns a livelihood and protects the family from being the strongest family member. The mother takes care of the family by cooking food, cleaning houses, and rearing children. The children get these benefits free of cost from their parents, but they have the family obligation to provide the same benefits to their children. Thus the family ensures the continuity of the value and tradition of the family.
In the family system, each member of the family’s interest is protected through an unwritten law as love and trust alone govern a family’s management. The parents do not seek any personal benefit when they give something to their children. The children, too, recognize the parents’ contributions in building their lives, and they not only pass on the same benefits to their own children but also take care of their parents when they grow old.
The entire system of family values is maintained by tradition and trust.
However, when family values are strong, it reduces individual freedom and a decline in individual values. Every person has to think for the family first and the self as secondary. This often kills the creativity of the man as he is never free to think as an individual.
3. Professional Values
A society is made of not only families that are natural but also by origination, which are artificially created to fulfill society’s specific requirements. The government is one of the most important organizations created to bring order to society. The government is further divided into different departments like police, revenue, defense, etc., needed to keep the country united and protect it from external aggression. Many other organizations are run by private persons or bodies that produce goods and provide service to the nation and the world.
Every person has to join an origination to earn his livelihood and to contribute to society. These organizations are designed to serve a specialized function of society and thus need a set of values to keep all organization members motivated and united.
Thus man develops a set of values due to his profession. The values of a police official are different than the values of a judge or a politician. Each profession has its own set of values, which often contradict the values of another profession. Yet, these values are necessary to keep the professionals united and deliver what is expected from them.
4. National Values
The world today is divided into several countries, and each country is sovereign and independent. However, in recent years, countries have started behaving like family members as independence is gradually being replaced by interdependence in globalized economies. If China is emerging as the manufacturing hub of the world, India has become the outsourcing and out-shoring hub of the world from where the different services are being provided. The Arab world is producing oil for the world, and the USA has taken the leadership role in creating knowledge and Information Technology for the world. Each country is gradually becoming a specialist in some specific tasks and getting the rest of the requirements fulfilled from the other countries of the world.
Thus, just like individuals and families have to compete with and complement each other for their survival in a society, each nation has to compete with and complement the other countries of the world. To make the nation stronger, certain types of values need to be cultivated in their city, making the country not made of millions or billions of individuals or families but like one family.
By independence, every country develops certain values that keep on evolving with time. The values of a nation represent its tradition, history, and experiences since its creation. India and China’s values are many thousands of years old, while the newly created nations like the USA, Israel, Australia, and Pakistan are quite new.
The national values are often codified in their laws seeking equality and justice to all its citizens. There is wide diversity in these laws as the requirement of each country is different. The violation of national values is treated as criminal acts that are punished by the State. Thus, the countries with strong national values enforce their laws very severely as they keep the country’s interest over the individual’s interest.
5. Moral Values
While the legal values of a country or society are documented and enforced, these are insufficient for the state’s smooth functioning. The ideal state is one where the State does not have to enforce any law as the citizens voluntarily follow the land laws. However, this rarely happens since all the State laws are drafted by the people in power or those who influence powerful people. These powerful people ensure that laws are drafted in their favor of few rather than the masses’ favor. Thus, over time, the enforcement of laws creates a class of compelling and rich people, while the majority population lives a life of haplessness and poverty.
However, law disparity and injustice are largely reduced due to the prevalence of society’s moral values that need not be codified in statute books. Yet the moral values are passed on from one generation to another by tradition. For example, the sanctity of the institution of marriage in India has kept the divorce rate to the minimum despite divorce in law books like any other western country. The moral laws are enforced jointly by society. As every person desires to be loved and respected by society, moral values are often more powerful to keep a person on the right path than legal enforcement.
6. Spiritual Values
All values adopted by men create exclusivity in human beings as these values are different for every society and indeed for every man. The values are thus the source of conflicts in the world as every person or nation believes strongly in their values as right. Yet all these values are non-permanent and transient, which changes with time and space. The values of the present generation are not the same as the value of the previous generation.
Yet, there is some ingredient in all values that never change. It has remained the same in the long years of human evolution. These values are eternal, as they never change. Therefore, people often call such values spiritual or divine as they never die, and their origin is unknown.
These are spiritual values.
The spiritual values are often attributed to God and called divine. The spiritual values include love, compassion, justice, truth, etc. It is man’s nature to imbibe these values irrespective of his religion, race, culture, or nationality. These values are so universal that all human beings seem to understand it without being taught.
The spiritual values unite all human beings in this world. Due to these spiritual values, we want justice and can not see injustice in this world. The feelings of love and compassion cut across all barriers of religion, race, and nationalities. The spiritual values can not be eliminated from man, and these are universal.
The Conflict of Values
No person can have only one set of values, and the combination of all values governs all human beings. However, every person’s dominating value is different, resulting from birth in a particular family, culture, religion, or nationality. The values also change with the person’s age as the same person transforms from an individual to a family. When a person grows up and earns his living, he has to work in some profession where his professional values are developed. The national values, too, get ingrained in the person due to the citizens’ common values. However, as men grow older, they tend to become spiritual and develop spiritual values. Thus all six values are always prevalent in every society that keeps the society moving and united.