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Demystifying Values

TOP Note: For a full account, see Working with Values (1995) Ch. 4 & 5, also available as a free download here.

Distinctive Features of Values

Values often seem mysterious. There is no reason for this at all.
ClosedCommon errors

A value is the importance of something to someone in a social context based on inner feelings. Values have certain invariable and easily recognizable properties.


In the Primary Hierarchy of Purpose (PH6), the upper five Levels are values as shown in the Table via an orange border. The relation of values (which are about importance) with the production of goodness and goods is also shown.

L Purpose Characteristic Quality Orientation to Good(ness) Orientation to Bad(ness)
7 Ultimate valueA universally accepted and eternally pursued state of being. is an inner experience. Generator
of goodness
of badness
6 Value SystemInterlinked-valued ideas ordering understanding within a social domain. is a deep belief. Rationale
for goodness
Rationale for badness
5 Social ValueA freely shared need-based value serving a specific community. is a personal need. Potential
for good
for bad
4 Principal ObjectAn activity defining the identity of an endeavour. is the core activity. Achievable
3 Internal PriorityA degree of emphasis among valid values or actions for immediate use. is a brute assertion. Preferred
2 Strategic ObjectiveA desired and feasible outcome which maximizes impact. is a desired outcome. Actual
1 Tactical ObjectiveA precise tangible time-targeted result which is a step to a desired outcome. is a pure means. Means
to make goods
to make bads

Note that all forms of value are about good and bad, but the quality of that good (or bad) varies. The highest two Levels of value are abstract: spiritual-L7 and theoretical-L6. When people and organizations focus on the concrete, they take these categories for granted. Specifications typically focus on social values-L5 i.e. what all agree is needed in their community, and this becomes the basis for producing actual goods-L2.

The energy of the will is concentrated in purpose-RL6 and differentiated in accord with the form of value. Ultimate values carry energy, best described as spiritual (and referred to here as goodness). There is no reason to suppose that will-energy possesses a valence independently of the values that are in play.

ClosedTable of the relationship between values, energies and groups ►

Purposes and values are the essential tool of humanity, and clarity is immensely beneficial. That is why it was the first focus of major inquiry around 1985—before I knew about THEE.

Demystifying Ultimate Values

The primary demystification is provided in the earlier account of spiritual energy and in the specification of properties associated with Primal Values.

However, there is one other matter that is peripheral but important for balance. As already noted in relation to holding ideals, although positive ultimate values are aspects of goodness and carry goodness, their effect is not necessarily good in human terms within a particular social order.

How can this be?

Impurities via Combination & Influence

The reason is that choices within the framework for realizing values in society-sPH6 (shown here) determine which specific ultimate values receive most social support.

Within the social order of any society, ultimate values are mostly found combined with lower level values. Such binding results in impurities in the spiritual energy. (You can compare this to the way that a molecule can have properties very different from those of its constituent chemical elements.)

The actual imperfect results we see all about us can also be perceived emerging dynamically within the Tree of Intentionality-PH6K, shown at right. There is enlightenment in the Ultimate Values Principal Objects channel, and illumination in the the Ultimate Values Theoretical Doctrines channel. However, there is also illusion in the Ultimate Values Beliefs channel.

Note that the Communal Values and Social Needs, that govern activities (i.e. Principal Objects) in a society, have no direct input from Ultimate Values, and are therefore at the mercy of Beliefs and Doctrines via channels of exhortation and instructionValues systems-L6 also generate activities of all sorts to demonstrate and propagate their worth. Nevertheless they are partial, focusing more on some ultimate values and downplaying or neglecting others: e.g.Closed illuminating doctrines developed to enable freedom may say little about obedience; valuable doctrines of beauty may neglect justice.

Consequences & Conclusions

These impurities, intrinsic to social orders, are not to be viewed as a criticism, but rather reveal how our humanness is constructed.

The energies in play here are intense. Enemies can be created almost by default. A good person can get hurt. A country can get devastated. No society is yet mature enough to confront the ultimate horror of war: so we have war on drugs, war on poverty, war on terror, war on crime—all happening alongside wars on neighbours near and far.

The point is that no social institution can itself sustain goodness. Goodness is and must be a personal matter. So the only remedy is for every person to become aware of the distorting power of necessary beliefs-doctrines and the redemptive power of always available ultimate values. Then use this framework to produce and sustain goodness in general. You will benefit—that's a given.

Read on to see exactly what you can do.

Originally posted: 29-Mar-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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