True and False Values

There are no values that are absolute in content to which all people would aspire, but there are values that are absolute in meaning, to which all people are explicitly or implicitly drawn. These are true values. The word “truth” in the axiological context differs from its interpretation in epistemology. Here truth does not mean the correspondence of knowledge to reality, but, on the contrary, the correspondence of worldly or political wisdom to reality . The truth or falsity of value in axiology is inseparable from wisdom. Based on this connection, values can be divided into true and false . True values are those values that make the life of a given person and people close to him, a social group, society happy. On the contrary, false values, taking people’s strength, time and money, make them unhappy. The truth or falsity of a value is best seen in the examples of the individual destinies of people. The motto of Socrates “Know thyself” has a direct bearing on the truth value . A person who knows his material, intellectual and psychological capabilities well will choose the right path, the right companion in life and will be happy regardless of his position in society . On the contrary, ignorance of oneself and the surrounding social environment, or the predominance of feelings over reason, lead to serious mistakes in life, to the loss of time, which cannot be returned . “All that glitters is not gold,” says folk wisdom, but how difficult it is sometimes to recognize what is behind the external brilliance. Values give meaning to a person’s life, they determine the direction of the individual’s activity . It should be noted, however, that not only true, but also false values have this property, perhaps even to a greater extent than true values. The reason for this is the duality of human nature. Like an animal, a person is “programmed” to perform certain reflex actions. The performance of these actions does not require any intellectual or physical effort, there is no situation of choice, the individual-animal acts automatically, and easily automatically. Biological evolution took care of everything. The position of the individual carrier of culture is more complicated. Performing actions requires certain, sometimes considerable, intellectual and physical efforts. In more complex cases, the ratio of both sides of human nature is more complicated, but false values are formed more easily and seduce people more than true values . When, for example, a person is driven by greed, the question arises as to its source; the source is the human body . Greed shows a person as an animal, and not as a creator and bearer of culture . The need for self-affirmation can, in particular, be satisfied by the possession of things (material objects). It is not so much the thing itself that is valuable, but the very possession of it . I am glad not because I have this thing, but because you do not have it. The needs of the individual, and they can only be with the individual, are satisfied by various means, but the sweetest of all are the means that express his biological nature. Needs are not true or false, only desires have this property, which, although they arise on the basis of needs, are determined by education, the content of the information received, the current situation and other circumstances. This is where most of the misconceptions of value come from. . False values are the values of functioning , not development . Functioning is walking in a circle, not a qualitative change, not development. False values sometimes embrace entire nations. If we consider in axiological terms the cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire, it is quite easy to see the erosion of those values that exalted Rome. The desire for enrichment, debauchery, craving for pleasures have become more significant than the veneration of the gods, patriotism, respect for law . The subject of society is the population, and the more people who are guided by false values, the closer the collapse of the state and the decay of society. . At present, certain values of Western culture have prevailed in society. They can be called false. There is no doubt that sooner or later the values of enrichment, popularity, sex, thrills, etc. will lead people who are guided by them into a dead end. As Western values dominate the world, anxiety for the future is engulfing Western scientists themselves. For an entrepreneur, his occupation is a kind of special sport. Money turns from a means into an end, which again turns into a means, and so on. The entrepreneur (with a few exceptions) is not interested in the well-being of the population, which he uses as material for his operations, he is interested in the rate of profit. To the existing million, you must add the second million, and so on ad infinitum. J.-J. Rousseau was right when he said that it is easier for a rich man to earn a second million than for a poor man the first penny . People who call themselves musicians write and sing one-day songs, lowering the already low level of musical culture of the population. Tomorrow there will be new songs that voiceless singers will sing. At worst, you can fuck up the classics, this is not prohibited by law. There are already so many “stars” that they, as in astronomy, have already begun to be distinguished by “values”. Fortunately, their native state allows them to occupy television and radio air. And also to get rich, which is doubly pleasant for the candidates for the “stars” and the “stars” themselves. The value of money and luxury goods led to the rise of crime. The value of human life turned out to be lower than the value of money, which is why films rarely appear on TV screens without shots and corpses. When the question of the death penalty for criminals arises, they immediately recall the value of human life, as if the criminals themselves had not diminished its significance . Each society has a certain margin of safety, but if the political course is not periodically corrected, then sooner or later there comes a limit of strength, and with it a catastrophe.

Types of values

Values are divided on a variety of grounds . The simplest of these is the content of the activity. On this basis, political, economic, legal, religious, moral , etc. values are distinguished. But more relevant in philosophy and social sciences is the division of values according to the subject , the bearer of values. In this regard, five types of values can be distinguished.

1. Values of personal life, individual . The infinite variety of values does not mean that they are equally important for all people. People are not omnivorous, each of them recognizes only those values that correspond to individual characteristics and personal worldview . But in the first place is the value of life itself . With the exception of suicides, everyone wants to live, and as long as possible, regardless of the quality and standard of living. The desire for life is a natural human right, which is granted to him by God, and not by the state . The second most important is the value of health sufficient for active life . The older people get, the clearer the significance of this value becomes to them: the quality of life of a healthy person is clearly higher than the quality of life of a sick person. A healthy person can work, study, enjoy life, and a sick person undergoes a course of treatment, waiting for recovery. Therefore, among the priorities of many people, health occupies the most important place. Other values of personal life are difficult to arrange in descending order of their importance, however, undoubtedly, they have a great influence on the motives of people’s behavior. Such are the values of human free will, love, friendship, family, prosperity, prestige, career growth, respect for others, education, abilities, communication, hospitality, hobbies , etc. A large number of personal life values allows an individual to change value orientations, “tactics” quite often personal life.

2. Values of small social groups. A small social group is a collection of people who systematically communicate with each other . A small group should not be identified with a collective, since the collective as a set of free individuals is only one of the varieties of small social groups. Each of us is a member of several small groups – a family, a labor or military unit, an educational group, a sports section, an interest club, etc. A small social group makes very specific, sometimes strict, requirements for its members. “We” prevails over “I”, otherwise the group is unstable or even breaks up. The “cement” that holds the group together are values . The family is not created for the sake of procreation, as people usually stupidly answer, but for the sake of a higher quality of life – the actual, not the imagined freedom of a person. Children feel the value of family life more strongly than adults. Family photos usually show young parents and happy children.Other small groups, which are called collectives only for convenience of designation, also have their own values.Among them, the leading role is played by the solidarity of group members in the face of a potential adversary, in whatever form he appears.It does not matter for what reason we find ourselves in the same “collective”, but since we are together, we should observe the norms of behavior that allow us to coexist . Therefore, members of the small group undertake to help each other, or at least not interfere with each other. In the “collective” are often found such values as help and mutual assistance, cooperation, exchange of experience, etc. The best part of life for many people is rohodit at work or service, so communication in small groups leaves a deep imprint in their souls.

3. Values of large social groups. A large social group is a collection of people who are similar to each other in some sign that is significant for society. Large groups include classes, nations, races, religious, professional, gender, age and other social groups. Unlike small groups, members of large social groups almost always do not personally know and do not communicate with each other. Nevertheless, they know about the existence of their own kind thanks to the activities of the state, the media, and various social institutions. An individual is simultaneously a member of several not only small, but also large social groups. He belongs to a certain class of society, nation, generation, gender, etc. Knowledge of his own kind allows each individual to identify (correlate) himself with a particular group. In accordance with the belonging of an individual to one or another large social group, values common to the members of the group are revealed . The most essential basis for the division into large groups is the attitude towards ownership of the means of production and consumer goods . On this basis , people are divided into classes of rich and poor (although there are other signs of classes). Both the rich and the poor share the values of class solidarity, solidarity, and unity of action. The twentieth century passed under the sign of the strengthening of national movements both on a global scale and within the territories of states, which in itself indicates an increase in the importance of national values. These include, above all, the independence of a given nation from other nations. Just as an individual cherishes his personal freedom, so does a nation cherish its independence. A nation is a collection of people living in the same culture (language, customs, traditions, holidays, beliefs, folklore, art, etc.). The true life of a nation consists in “using” its elements of its culture. These elements are the national values . For members of society who profess a certain religion, the values are the dogmas and the cult of this religion. . The adherents of each religion consider their own religion to be the only “true” one, and all others are false. Men and women also have different values based on their gender, about which a lot has been written and said. Suffice it to mention feminism – the ideology of the female sex, based on the alleged superiority of women over men . Representatives of different generations also have different values, which is the reason for the well-known conflict of “fathers and children” that is constantly reproduced in each generation. Clothing, hairstyles, demeanor, music, leisure – everything distinguishes representatives of different generations.

4. Values of society (public values ). Society is not a collection of physical bodies of individuals, but a collection of social relations between them and large and small groups . The content of such relations is different and it depends to a decisive extent on the values that guide people. The behavior of people is determined not only by individual values and the values of small and large groups to which they identify themselves. There are values of a higher order – public . These include one or another form of government or type of state, form of ownership, patriotism, political stability, economic prosperity, social justice, the prestige of the profession, the prestige of the state in the international arena, a high level of development of science, military power, etc. Large or small significance of those or other social values are tested in troubled times, when the further course of events in a given country is unclear and alarming. One of the well-known political values is the value of democracy. But in the last few centuries, it has acquired a completely different meaning than it was in its homeland – ancient Greece. If in the small Greek city-states democracy really meant the power of the people (free citizens with certain property), then with the conquest of state power by the bourgeoisie in modern times, democracy began to mean the races of moneybags . Whoever has more money and who will be able to dispose of it better, he won the “elections”. In particular, if the contender for the commanding chair has generously paid for the servile “people”. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called bourgeois democracy a vile thing, but better than which, in his opinion, as if people did not come up with anything. It is unlikely that the inhabitants of the Sultanate of Brunei, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Arab Emirates would agree with W. Churchill. These countries are dominated by monarchs, and the standard of living is such that the citizens of democratic states would envy.

5. Universal values. For a long time, the commandments of Moses claimed the role of universal human values. However, these commandments were originally addressed only to the Jews and did not apply to other peoples. The popular commandments do not express the ideals of justice, freedom, equality, therefore the commandments of Moses express the culture of one people. Do not kill a Jew, do not deceive a Jew, etc. These commandments did not apply to representatives of other peoples. They did not agree with the need for retribution for atrocities, the destruction of maniacs, the protection of the family or homeland from enemies. It is not surprising that representatives of other nations so rarely listened to these commandments. Human values should be considered those that are recognized by all people in a particular historical era. These values are eternal, not temporary, and are shared by almost all the more or less civilized inhabitants of the planet. Spiritual universal values are culture, especially religion and language, ideals of justice, freedom and equality, etc. Although religions, languages, understanding of these ideals are different, none of the people refuses them. Less understood are material values. First of all, the value of private ownership of the means of production and consumer goods should be attributed to material values . Private property does not deny, but complements other forms of property (municipal, corporate, state), but it is traditionally recognized by all people. And this is not surprising: after all, the value of private property lies in the fact that it is the material basis of human freedom, real freedom, not imaginary. Fertile soils, mild climate, sufficient rainfall, availability of minerals, precious metals and stones, ecological balance between society and nature, etc. also belong to the material universal values . The coincidence of people’s values generates great energy, allows them to organize their coexistence. However, in view of the many differences between people, the same set of their individual and other values arises . Their significance may be small, so the mismatch of values does not lead to a complication of relations. These discrepancies may overlap in coincidences of more significant values. But it should be noted that any values, from individual to universal, do not know compromises . Many conflicts between individuals, small and large social groups, peoples and states arise because their values are different, or because they understand the same values in different ways . Addictions and interests do not always allow them to come to an agreement. The key to understanding (not necessarily agreeing) all sorts of friction, tension, conflict is the knowledge of people’s values.

The value of friendship

In the set of individual values, a prominent place belongs to friendship and love. In the modern era, there are complaints about the impoverishment of friendship, which is apparently caused by the individualism and selfishness that plague Western culture. Among “traditional” peoples, the significance of the value of friendship is not questioned. In friendship they see the social support of the individual. As the Eastern wisdom says: “A man without friends is the same as a tree without roots.” The phenomenon of friendship arises during the decomposition of the tribal system, when, on the one hand, family ties weaken, and when, on the other hand, the network of social relations between people becomes more complicated. The Proto-Slavic word drugb means “friend, comrade, different, different, next”. The increasingly complex social structure of society requires the strengthening of social ties and a larger number of people on whom an individual could rely in the hour of trials of fate. There is a custom of brotherhood . Usually it is furnished with the same ritual, for example, brothers cut their fingers, drain the blood into a bowl and share it among themselves. Outwardly, friendship acts as an imitation of family ties, which has come down to our days. The so-called godfathers and mothers, brothers and sisters are known. Internally, friendship complements family relations or compensates for their insufficiency. At the same time, people intuitively understand the need for a very moderate number of friends, unless, of course, we consider friends who do not betray in difficult times, and not those who are friends “on occasion”, since their abundance does not satisfy the requirement of quality relationships. Therefore, the proverb “…and have a hundred friends” is unlikely to meet social realities. A friend is our second “I”, only a relative can be closer than a friend. The number of friends should be small. The tribes of Africa, New Guinea and other peoples have a number of friends limited to three persons . Friends should not be relatives, they were called “knife brothers” and were obliged to provide mutual assistance, especially material. Among the Indians of America, a brother friend turns out to be even more precious than a brother. To refuse to help a brother-in-arms or to leave him on the battlefield was to cover oneself with indelible shame. Ideas about the value of friendship were reflected in the works of philosophers. Plato’s Socrates states that ” without friendship, no communication between people has any value.” Plato himself wrote about friends as people who are much closer to each other than mother and father, the friendship between them is stronger, because the spiritual qualities that bind them are more beautiful and immortal. Aristotle in “Nicomachean Ethics” expounds the theory of friendship. Friendship, in his opinion, is the most necessary thing in life. No one will choose a life without friends, even in exchange for all other benefits. Aristotle identifies three types of friendship: 1) utilitarian, which is based on the consideration of mutual or unilateral benefit; 2) hedonistic , which is based on emotional attachment and is done for the sake of pleasure, pleasantness, this is friendship for the sake of friendship; 3) moral or perfect, in which utilitarian and hedonistic motives are combined, this is friendship turning into love. Friendship is understood not only under the influence of the value-motivational approach to it. From the point of view of the structural-functional approach, friendship is classified according to its objective functions within a certain social system and according to its place in a number of social institutions .

1) One such function is fusion: friendship merges with some other activity, such as cooperation, being in places that one would like to leave as soon as possible (“friends in misfortune”) or a more significant social role. People are friends because they occupy responsible equal positions in the state. Under other circumstances, they would hardly have been friends.

2) Substitution. Friendship replaces, compensates for any missing roles. A person who does not have relatives replaces them with friendship with other people or communication with animals. Lonely, elderly people become attached to animals, take care of them like children, because they have a clear lack of communication. Sometimes animals are preferred to people for their sincerity and devotion, which are not found in people.

3) Addition . Friendship complements other social roles without merging with them. In the family, there are good relations between dad, mom and their children, however, children want to be friends with their peers.

4) Competition. Friendship acts as an antithesis to other social roles and competes with them. “Friendship is friendship, but tobacco is apart”… It happens that friendships compete with family or work relationships. The friendship of men, as well as women, can sometimes seriously complicate relationships in families. At work, a person spends the greater and better part of his life, at work, “service romances” are not uncommon in friendship, violations of labor discipline occur, etc. The principle “friendship is friendship, and service is service” turns out to be difficult for people who falsely understand the essence of friendship. Both approaches to understanding friendship are not opposed, but complement each other. In real life, it is unlikely that anyone reflects on the establishment of friendships and their prospects. Friendship usually begins spontaneously, voluntarily, under the influence of sympathy and trust of people for each other. At the same time, friendship is very selective; not every individual will establish warm relations with the name. Selectivity is determined by certain conditions: the homogeneity of temperaments, the unity of values, the similarity of social statuses and roles (“people of the same circle”), the presence of joint activities. Hence the proverb: “Tell me who your friend is…” Under these conditions, friendship between A and B is possible, although it may be prevented by some unaccounted for factors, for example, discrediting subject A or B information. In any macro or micro environment, there are unwritten rules of friendship. They come down to this: my friend’s friend is my friend; the enemy of my friend is my enemy the friend of my enemy is my enemy; the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In more developed societies, such a position is also possible: not a friend or an enemy, but just like that … Friendship is diverse, which indicates its objective necessity and unfading value for people. Individuals, families, collectives, cities and nations are friends. As Epicurus wrote, “dancing friendship goes around the universe, announcing to all of us that we should awaken to the glorification of a happy life.” It is difficult to talk about a happy life as a result of friendship, because in addition to friends, there are enough enemies. But the undoubted result of friendship is cooperation and mutual assistance, which is not so little for an acceptable life. The value of friendship lies in strengthening and maintaining social ties, such communication of people among themselves, which increases a person’s satisfaction with his life.

The value of love

Love is a more complex phenomenon of the mental and spiritual life of a person. In essence, it is identical with happiness, since a loving person does not know anything higher and more significant for him. There are countless poems and songs about love, and the frequency of use of the word “love” ranks first among thousands of other words. But the theme of love occupied not only writers and musicians. Philosophers also paid great attention to it. A loving person is not alone. Hegel wrote: “Love means in general the consciousness of my unity with the other, that I am not isolated for myself, but acquire my self-consciousness only as a renunciation of my being-for-itself and through the knowledge of myself as my unity with the other and the other with me. But love is a feeling, in other words, natural morality in form: there is no longer love in the state, in it unity is recognized as a law, in it the content must be reasonable, and I must know it. The first moment in love is that I do not want to be an independent person for myself and that if I were, I would feel my insufficiency and incompleteness. The second moment is that I find myself in the person of the other, that I have a significance in him, which he, in turn, finds in me. A loving person, according to Hegel, forgets himself in the beloved and leaves the beloved, enriched by his love . The 20th century philosopher Erich Fromm, analyzing the phenomenon of love, highlights several of its obligatory moments . Love is the ability to give, not receive. Giving does not mean sacrificing and suffering, giving, a person lives . “ Giving is much more joyful than receiving,” wrote E. Fromm, “not because it is superfluous, but because, in giving, I feel that I am living. A loving person is responsible for his beloved and does not consider responsibility a burdensome duty. Responsibility is accompanied by respect for the beloved and a thorough knowledge of him. A truly loving person lives loved .” Such a high assessment of the phenomenon of love shows it as a fact of spirituality. However, the understanding of love is greatly complicated and vulgarized by the connection of love with sex. Sexual bias in the understanding of love takes place in many works, although the spiritual essence of love is visible to the naked eye. In the era of “mass culture” sex is even covered with a mask of love. What is the name of the American film “Let’s Make Love” alone worth? As if love can be “made”… Sex can be an addition to love, it can be done without love, but it cannot replace it in any way. In mythology, eros was understood as the creative force of nature. The notion was spread about the universal “sympathy” of things, that love created the world and moves it. In relation to interpersonal relationships, eros was understood as spontaneous and passionate self-giving, enthusiastic love, aimed at the carnal or spiritual. Philia was called love-friendship, due to social ties and personal choice. Storge is love-attachment, especially family, and agape is sacrificial, condescending love for one’s neighbor. Plato builds his “ladder” of love-beauty somewhat differently. The first and lowest step is the desire for physical pleasure, the natural goal of which is the birth of children. The second step is love for specific examples of physical beauty. The third stage is the love of beauty in general. The fourth (highest) stage is agape, that is, the love of wisdom, which, like religious experiences, allows you to know the absolute truth. Love of the highest type is the work of the soul, the work of two noble minds uniting to create spiritual offspring, which only men are capable of. In the dialogue “Feast”, Plato expounds the doctrine of androgynes – people of a third sex that does not currently exist: “Once our nature was not the same as now … People were of three sexes, and not two, as now – male and female , for there was still a third sex, which combined the signs of both of them; he himself disappeared, and only his name remained from him … – androgynes, … they combined the appearance and name of both sexes – male and female. Then each person had a rounded body, the back did not differ from the chest, there were four arms, as many legs as there were arms, and each had two faces on the neck, exactly the same; the head of these two faces, looking in opposite directions, was common … There were three of these sexes … because the male from the beginning comes from the Sun, the female – from the Earth, and the one who combined both of these – from the Moon, since the Moon also combines both beginnings… Terrible in their strength and power, they nurtured great plans and encroached even on the power of the gods… They tried to ascend to heaven in order to attack the gods.” Further, according to Plato, the threat prompted the gods to take decisive action. Zeus cut the androgynes in half and created homosexuals when the male half seeks to reunite with the male half, lesbians when the female half seeks to reunite with the female half, and heterosexuals when the male and female halves seek to reunite. Heterosexuals were considered the lowest sexual category. Since then, according to Plato, people tend to be attracted to each other, they are trying to restore unity. The process of reunification is love, which is a lingering feeling of reunification into a whole individuality. The myth of androgens has become traditionally interpreted in the sense of the sexual attraction of men and women to each other, which reduced a person to the level of an animal. Descendants corrected Plato, his name began to be called love without sex . Strictly speaking, any love does not involve sex. Ordinary consciousness identifies lust with love, but lust is a biological phenomenon, not a spiritual one. The need to procreate and create a family was not always caused by love. Although the ancient world knew romantic love, it was not always recorded as the love of a man and a woman. Same-sex love flourished. The ancient Greek writer Lucian, in the work “Two Loves”, through the lips of his heroes, recognizes the need for a family, but considers the true love of men for boys. But the qualitative difference between love and sex is manifested even in those types of love that are traditionally associated with sex. 1) The love of a man and a woman is sung in many literary and musical works. It is not at all about the thirst to rush into bed as soon as possible. Lovers want to be together and that’s enough for them. Here, indeed, a desire is manifested, if not to restore, then at least to establish the spiritual unity of a man and a woman. 2) Same-sex love, perhaps, does not exist without sex, but it does not come down to it . 3) The love of parents for children and children for parents is almost a purely spiritual attitude, although it is biologically determined to some extent. This kind of “love” of animals for their underage cubs is known. Subsequently, “moms”, not to mention “dads”, become completely indifferent to their children and even drive them away from themselves. The love of human parents persists throughout life. 4) Love for work, work is characterized by a high degree of self-sacrifice, the rejection of some other types of activity, sometimes even from the family. Fanatics in the best sense of the word have brought together passion and work, in our time they are called workaholics. 5) Love for the Motherland, small and large . Love for a small homeland (settlement, area in which this person grew up) is due to painful childhood memories. Love for a great homeland (a society of which the individual is a member) is conditioned by the degree of spiritual development of the individual, when a person is “offended by the state”. 6) Love for nature is manifested not only in the contemplation of wonderful landscapes, but also in activities to preserve these landscapes . 7) Self-love is usually associated with selfishness. Indeed, selfishness is egoism, but only in the case when the egoist infringes on the interests of other people or harms them . In other cases, self-love is morally justified, since a person who does not love, does not take care of himself, is unlikely to arouse the trust of other people. Thus, in the phenomenon of love, its connection with the biological and spiritual nature of man is visible. The first three kinds of love are conditioned by both sides of human nature, the rest – exclusively by the spiritual nature of man. The value of love lies in the desire for unity with the object of love, and in relation to another person, in the desire to live his life, his feelings and thoughts.

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