Sunday 5 October 2008

How we live our values

Principle: What matters is not WHAT values a person has, rather, what matters is HOW they live their values;

we live our values matters much more than what values we have. Because we live in a society, we cannot live our values any way we want! In fact, the very nature of our society is shaped by how we live our values. This sentiment is expressed beautifully in the following quote:

...morality is not just about how we treat each other; it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. [The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, JONATHAN HAIDT -- Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia]


dougal said...

timely comment for this extract from interview with Reverend Jim Wallis, CEO of the social-justice organization Sojourners discussing the imperative for rethinking values in the wake of the economic downturn.

The Quarterly: Has the crisis reshaped our conversations about ethics?
Jim Wallis: Well, I had the chance to be in Davos at the [2009] World Economic Forum. And at Davos, there’s always talk about social responsibility and social entrepreneurism,
social conscience. It’s normally, though, a sidebar; it’s eight in the morning on the third floor with 40 people.
This time it was in the main hall, and there was a panel called Values in the Market. So I’m talking to all these CEOs, and I just said, “Every morning, we get up in our hotel rooms and we turn on CNN and there’s a reporter; same reporter every day. And here is one of you, a bundled- up CEO with the snowy, magic mountains of Davos in the background. And he asks you the same question every day, which is, “When will this crisis end?” And he has a whiteboard, and you make your predictions on the whiteboard.
With all due respect, that’s the wrong question. The question ought to be, “How will this crisis change us?” That’s the right question. How will it change the way we think, the way we do business, the way we act, our priorities? And how will it change the way we think of our values?
I said, “You know, you all perhaps used to think that you don’t have to bring values to bear because the invisible hand will take care of things and make things come out all right. But what happens when the invisible hand lets go of important things like the common good? Or even the values that are inside all of us?”
So we had a great conversation about values. And I have to say, there was tremendous openness and responsiveness. For days, I was having these pastoral, almost confessional, conversations with CEOs who felt like they had lost track of some things and wanted to rethink in a more fundamental kind of way. So this is the opportunity of crisis: the chance to redeem all the pain. If we don’t rethink things, all the pain and suffering of this great recession, let’s call it, will have been in vain.

Paul Chippendale said...

great comment Dougal