For awhile now I have been thinking about the Acquiescence of Values from the personal to the commercial. We’d never sell our souls, but our values… name your price. Values are deeply held beliefs in “doing the right thing” and most of us share those black and white ideals without needing to lower the conversation to a political or religious level.

We betray our spirit and the spirit of those around us when we move from a human orbit into a commercial one when it comes to biding the interest on our values. Few of us tolerate lying in our lives but we routinely accept being deceived by newspaper and media reports while still buying magazines and watching television shows.

The disconnect between the lie and the assuaging of expectation is the acquiescence of our values. We accept that our lives are ruled by double-standards — we are against de-forestation of the rain forest, but we all want a new wooden house — and when inequities like that rear up, we often say, in a faux attempt to protect the spirit of our values, “oh, that’s the way of the world” instead of standing up and saying “we need to fix this for everyone even if it is difficult and people will suffer.”

Our values are for sale as long as we get some kind of monetary value in return: It doesn’t matter what really happens; it only matters what someone says will happen. When did the constant checking of our expectation against reality become awash in misdirection and disillusionment? I am reminded of the story about two guys talking about Socialism, but what they’re really talking about is the acquiescence of values from the personal to the commercial:

One guy said to the other, “so you’re saying we all share everything?””Yes,” the second guy said, “what’s mine is yours.”

The first guy’s eyes lit up, “so if you had a million dollars, you’d give me $500,000?”

“Yes,” came the reply. “So if you had four houses, you would give me two?”

“Of course,” said the second guy.

“So if you had two cows and I wanted one, you’d give me one?”

“Hey, waitaminute, that’s not fair,” the second guy shouted, “you know I have two cows!”

5 Comments

  1. “lower the conversation to a…religious level”
    Hm. Interesting value statement, that.
    How can values be “black and white” without an absolute standard to base them upon?
    Furthermore, if you are going to mention souls that we would not sell…are you not venturing dangerously close to religious territory?
    I will give you bonus points for one thing…I suspected from the beginning of my reading your blog that we did not share a belief system, yet you were very complimentary about my blog. I am impressed that you were able to praise my structure and content when you do not agree with my worldview. It seems like most people can not compartmentalize judgments in that way.

  2. Hi Blest —
    I appreciate your comments and I certainly still appreciate the hard dedication you give to your blog and its readers!
    The “absolute standard” values are based upon should be universally human and not specifically religious or political because if we make values debatable based only on a precise worldview or another niche, it becomes too easy for others to slough off the argument as radical or marginalized or mainstream or minority.
    I believe everyone in the world shares a common set of values that go beyond naming and doctrine. The problem we face as a people is cracking through all the various points-of-view to begin to till that common ground.