Sunday, January 20, 2013

Landscapes of Values - Ladder and Circle


Dr Abe V Rotor
Ladder of Values
It is called Maslow's Hierarchy of Motives or Needs, or Ladder of Values.Whichever term is used, the principle is the same: man rises from biological existence to social integration - then to self-fulfillment and self-commitment - or actualization. which is often associated with honor, martyrdom or heroism, the highest level of human achievement. It is on this level that greatness is achieved - the greatness of Gandhi, Rizal, Mandela, Mother Teresa et al.  That is why we regard them as models in searching for the meaning of life - "Why am I here?" 

There is a scholarly book, Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl, a first hand account as prisoner in a Nazi camp during the second World War. He introduced the term logotherapy, a tool for survival in extreme condition. Most of the prisoners who survived the ordeal were those who saw meaning in their lives beyond the camp. It's a way of comparing contemporary issues.  Live life with a purpose, with a goal beyond present circumstances.  



Circles of Values

It's not only ascendant, but the series of concentric realms increase in size in  a figure-tabular matrix.  Primordial is man's concern for himself for the day, followed by man's concern for his family and tomorrow.  Corollarily, as man looks farther - into his own lifetime and to that of his children and children's children, his horizon of concern or involvement  increases. people are divided by their concern. For example, the issue about the European Union facing financial difficulties means little - if at all - to an ordinary worker. He would rather focus his attention on ways of meeting his family's needs. 
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A push-cart picker was having his usual round in a park. He scavenged anything he could sell to a junk shop. In a rare occasion he found lady luck.  He tore a bronze statue including the marker.  Just as he was about to leave, the police caught him. 

When asked during the interrogation "Why did you destroy the statue?" he simply quipped "I only wanted to sell the bronze for food." ~
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There is an analogy of "Tell me your friends and I'll tell you who you are."  You know a person by his perspective in life.  We may gauge him by the book he reads, the TV program he watches, by his interest in world opinion, More so in his personal philosophy on issues such as environmental summit, nuclear threat by Iran and North Korea, deleterious effect of genetic engineering to the natural world. But how firm are his values?  

The other side of midnight comes stealthily and may not spare the unwary and smart Alec.  Victims are not few, and they are not ordinary people. How many heads of state had their heads rolled at the end. Lately the president of Liberia was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment. We don't have to go far.  The fate of Saddam Hussein, Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddaffi of Libya leaves us indellible lessons. Milosevic died in his cell in the Hague before the International Court of Justice could pronounce a verdict of guilty of his crime against humanity. Regarded living heroes died villains. Scandal rocked two of the world's biggest institutions led by Strauss Khan of World Bank, and Murdoch, media tycoon.  Magistrates lost face because they lied.  False medal, fake title, illegal business, unexplainable wealth, and the like, have ruined lives, left ghosts haunting for other victims. 

Does the ladder of values work? How about the other landscape - circle of values?  

Yes, they do. The light of the world comes from values.  It comes from the Boy who saved Holland. From  William Tell bravely hitting the apple on the head of his son in order to gain freedom. From Heidi, the orphan girl on the Alps who brought joy to lonely and sick people. From The Man with a Hoe, gazing into the horizon after a hard day's work is regarded Realism over and above Romanticism. And from The Little Prince comes out now and then to guide us out of life's wasteland.~ 

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