Reflections on value
The concept of value is gaining importance because of the present unwholesome condition of the society where higher values are given scant recognition. At this juncture it is worth thinking about the concept of value, its different aspects and its relationship with man.
What is value?
Value is associated with what fulfills or has the capacity of fulfilling the needs of the man, which might be physical, psychological or spiritual . so values always refers to human needs.
Life is valuable
Life has a value. It is not accidental, having no purpose or aim .This feeling of being valuable is the cornerstone of self-discipline , because when one considers oneself valuable one will take care of oneself in all the ways that are necessary. If life is reduced to a meaningless non-entity, we waste it through morbid sense enjoyment, addiction to alcohol or such other aimless activities. This meaninglessness of life results in mental depression , and when it is acute , one commits suicide. When we do not value our own life, we do not value others' life either and the result is an aggressive tendency, which manifests itself in the form of violence , terrorism and wars.
There are five basic values which can be classified in a hierarchical order as follows a material , aesthetic, education, ethical and spiritual.
These refers to the basic needs of human beings such as food, shelter and security, which are indispensable for human survival. But meeting this needs should not become an end of itself. rather it should enable a man to move farther, controlling the desire for sense-gratification after the basic needs are met.
Without the aesthetic sense , life becomes stale and insipid. There is a basic aesthetic sense in every human being , we are not satisfied by the ordinary nutritious food; we want it to be tasty , and also want to eat it in good ambience. This desire for beauty must be kept within reasonable limits. We should move on the higher values.
This refers to the value of knowledge . Education is not the gathering of information, its object is not to make a man a mere show-case of information or a moving encyclopedia, but the development of intellect and higher faculties. Education must endow a man with rational faculties , and make him analytical and introspective . Enormous amount of information is fed into the minds of people indiscriminately through different media. As more and more information is beamed at us, less and less of it can be absorbed ,retained and exploited.
This value refers to the individual's relationship with society. Man is not an island. There is interaction with the society at different levels. so peaceful existence in the society requires proper adjustment and meaningful relationship with others, which naturally calls for some amount of self-sacrifice. Man is considered to be a moral animal , for the moral judgments of right and wrong is applicable to man alone . Consequently , to be a real man one must be moral . Goodness is the natural condition of the human personality as a whole, so moral rules and regulations help the person establish his natural goodness. To be moral is to act in conformity with one's own nature , and immortality is conduct contrary to one's own nature.
The 'I' which is the centre of one's personality is different from body-mind complex, for the controller must be different from the controlled. This spiritual centre is real master of one's personality , and in the ideal state of freedom the master must establish his full control over the servants, i.e. desires, emotions, senses, etc. When there is chaos in a personality without any master to exert control , outside forces like money, power, position or some other person will rule over that personality , and this state is called bondage. Freedom from this bondage is Moksha , and this is the ultimate aim of human life.