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Values List

 

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by Luke Setzer

Read the
Rebirth of Reason in Florida
Welcome Page
for insight into how to construct your own Values List.

RECOGNITION OF NEEDS

By the law of identity, an entity has a specific nature and no other. As Ayn Rand said, "A is A--and Man is Man." Therefore, as a human being, I have a specific nature and no other. The foundational part of that nature is my set of human needs in the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and universal realms.

The following collapsed outline can expand with the click of a mouse in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  1. SPIRIT (SELF) -- Ethos
    My ultimate value is my own life.  My Vision for my own Self is to live a rich, rewarding, satisfying life.  This demands the rigorous practice of the ultimate virtue of Selfishness which consists of these component virtues:
    1. Self-Acceptance: I plant my feet firmly on the ground where I am while accepting that I have new places I desire to go.
    2. Self-Assertiveness: I honor myself and my values in thought, word and deed.  I exercise authority only over myself and expect others to do the same.
    3. Self-Responsibility: Only I can take responsibility for my destiny.  I accept this responsibility with joy and expect others to do the same.
  2. EMOTIONS (SELF-ESTEEM) -- Pathos
    When I am able to reason and to produce values, I know that I am able to live and worthy of living my explicitly stated Vision. My ethical relationship with myself is Rational Egoism. My aesthetic relationship with the functional beauty of the products of my own and others' efforts is Romantic Realism.  I continuously discover ways to achieve self-esteem and explicitly identify these Governing Values in writing through introspection, identification and validation through the virtue of:
    1. Pride: I am committed to achieving my own moral perfection by shaping myself into the image of my own chosen values, sharpening the saw in all areas of life. This commitment to achieve moral perfection reduces ultimately to the commitment to follow reason.  When I practice this invigorating virtue regularly and then find myself in unhappy social settings, I have both the capacity and the right to exercise the enjoyable and youthful luxury of earned insolence, that liberating "walk away" power that says, "I do not need you.  Next!"  I focus on minding my own business and demand that others mind theirs.  To quote Ayn Rand: "It is not advisable ... to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener."  As a person of high Self-Esteem, I consider myself able to live and worthy of living.  As a result, I consider myself able to achieve and worthy of achieving the following governing values:
      1. Philautos
        I am ultimately my own best friend and I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live ultimately for the sake of another nor ask another to live ultimately for mine.  I embody the best of rational egoism and stand as the bitter enemy of those who openly declare self love as a sin and a danger.
        1. Liberty
          The essence of maximum liberty is maximum control of events at the level of the individual.  In other words, self-government forms the basic unit and standard for all government.  This principle needs ultimately to guide every social interaction and choice, especially within the treacherous field of relationships of all stripes.  I reject notions of "duty" across the spectrum of relationships, whether social, familial or political, in favor of well-reasoned and perpetual self-interest.  I value the freedom to think and to live, and I oppose initiations of physical force, threat of physical force, and fraud.  In public and private exchanges, I regularly speak and write against the evils of tyranny over mind, body and property.
        2. Vitality
          I act purposely to keep my body in peak performance.  I feed my body constructive, uplifting, useful nutrients and exercises every single day.  These exercises include practice of the fine arts of leisure, rest, relaxation and humor.  I view properly practiced relaxation as a productive art.  I comprehend the distinction between being merely active and being genuinely productive and embrace the principle that activity does not equal accomplishment.  I reject the high-stress "cram all you can into every day" lifestyle in favor of a more calm, cool, integrated and life-affirming approach to living that lets me "stop and smell the roses" at my discretion.  I gain great eustress from my own unique sense of humor.
        3. Brilliance
          I act purposely to keep my mind in peak performance.  I feed my mind constructive, uplifting, useful knowledge every single day.  I ask empowering questions to get empowering answers that feed my growth, ability, and productive capacity.
        4. Kaizen
          I practice the fine art of continuous improvement. I know my desired outcomes, take massive action to achieve them, notice quickly what does or does not work, and change my approach as required until I achieve my desired outcomes.  I achieve this value through employment of the industrial 5S standard:
          1. Sorting: I put away in an orderly manner what I am not using.
          2. Sweeping: I maintain the cleanliness of my work area as well as my person.
          3. Simplifying: I make a distinction between what I need and what I do not need, then excess what I do not need.
          4. Standardizing: I employ standard parts and practices across the board wherever feasible.
          5. Self-Discipline: I discipline myself into promptness by keeping my thoughts, attention, and energy totally on the task at hand.
        5. Wealth
          I feed my net worth constructive, uplifting, useful financial decisions every single day.
        6. Passion
          I grow intense in my excitement as I achieve my dreams and fulfill my magnificent obsessions.  I make no apologies for my desires as a human being in general, a man in particular and myself specifically.  I possess the natural right to pursue happiness in accordance with the Objectivist Tri-Quation.  This includes enjoyment of the arts and the various genres those arts encompass.
        7. Confidence
          I expect success in many areas of life, and face challenges head-on.
      2. Agape
        I respect each of my fellow human beings as an end in himself rather than as the means to my ends.  As a result, from that very large pool of beneficial relationships I can select a much smaller number of relationships to experience deeper forms of bonding.
      3. Eros 
        Leslie is my best friend and the number one person in my life.  I give her my all.  From her I have gained great value, especially in the form of psychological visibility.  I give Leslie every possible kindness and generosity, and never take our relationship for granted.  I regularly praise Leslie's virtues of kindness, sweetness, caring and beauty.
      4. Philia 
        I am grateful each day for the existence I enjoy, and lavish this appreciation on those who contribute to that joy.  I form friendships with those who share my values so we can mutually enjoy psychological visibility.  I select as friends mature and independent people who take total responsibility for their lives and their emotions, and I never accept responsibility for handling the emotions of another person -- only my own.  I enjoy sharing my unique sense of humor with others and enjoy having them share theirs with me.  I give freely to those who will use my gifts morally, wisely, and productively.  I feed my society constructive, uplifting, useful interactions every single day.  Aristotle identified in his ancient treatise The Nicomachean Ethics three elements of genuine friendship:
        1. Character
          I carefully select trustworthy people of good character as candidates for friendship.  In some degree, all good friendships must be friendships of character.
        2. Pleasure
          From that pool of candidates of good character, I select those whose company delivers mutual enjoyment for friendships of pleasure.
        3. Utility
          From that pool of candidates of good character, I select those whose company delivers mutual tangible benefits for friendships of utility.
      5. Storge 
        I love my family and express that love often through visits, phone calls, and letters.  I feed my family constructive, uplifting, useful interactions regularly.
  3. MIND (REASON) -- Logos
    My metaphysical relationship with the universe at large is Reality.  I ruthlessly apply reason to the business of living. I strive for constant event control within the organic computer I call my brain. I act in harmony with its nature as a reality-integrating organ. My epistemological relationship with my mind is Reason, which begins with facts (sensory data); organizes these data in accordance with facts (the mathematical relationship among concretes); and is guided at each step by rules that rest on the fundamental fact (the law of identity). The rules of myth-free reasoning require that each cognition be reduced back to the facts with which one started. As Ayn Rand said in her paraphrase of Francis Bacon, "Nature, to be apprehended, must be obeyed."  I plan my achievements using reason in each of my various Roles through the virtue of:
    1. Rationality: I practice the following four component virtues to adhere to reality by method of logic:
      1. Independence: My primary orientation is to objective reality, not to other people. I accept the profound moral responsibility of forming my own judgments and of living by the work of my own mind in a proactive fashion. In principle, an independent person is as alone in society as he is on a desert island, since in either situation he accepts the primacy of existence as absolute. By contrast, a dependent person lives through or within others and accepts the primacy of consciousness as absolute. Thus, to a dependent person, solitude means death.
      2. Integrity: I learn the proper principles of living, then follow them regardless of unwarranted protests from either my own or others' emotions. Practicing integrity based on rational principles leads to self-preservation, while attempting to practice integrity based on mystical principles leads to self-destruction.
      3. Honesty: I refuse to fake reality or to pretend that facts are other than what they are, and recognize that pretense can neither erase an existent nor create one. I apply fully integrated honesty based on facts of reality to search every nook and cranny of my mind for bits of mysticism, then smash that mysticism mercilessly. Because the ultimate standard of value is individual human life, moral principles are absolute within their proper context. Thus, lying to obtain cash from an honest and productive person is morally wrong, while lying to protect one's children from kidnappers is morally right.
      4. Justice: I judge people's character and conduct objectively and act accordingly, granting to each person that which he earns. I adhere to the trader principle by encouraging good (life-enhancing) behavior and discouraging evil (life-diminishing) behavior.  Because what really counts in life are the virtues that support life, one should praise and support virtues first, and combat and brush aside vices second.  I do this using a toolbox of proportional strategies that range broadly from recognition and high praise of people's best virtues to constructive criticism of their questionable actions to outright condemnation of their worst vices.  Moral judgment can only be passed on observable behavior, not psychological problems. I identify individual human life as the standard of value and the individual's own volitional reasoning and property as his proper method of sustaining that value. I use reason to reach my moral estimates through two steps: first, identification of the relevant facts; second, evaluation of those facts by reference to individual human life as the standard of all values.  Through good judgment, I fill the following roles:
        1. Individual
          I must use Self, Self-Esteem, Reason and Purpose to maintain the self at all times.  In addition, Vitality and Brilliance act as my highest optional ways of esteeming the self.  Kaizen also serves my personal growth in all areas.  I interact alone with the universe to sharpen the saw and to earn these values.
        2. Producer
          To fulfill my stated mission in life, I work for NASA to expand the human species beyond Earth.  This role feeds my Passion, Brilliance, Wealth and Confidence.
        3. Investor
          I seek constantly to build my Wealth through a wide range of rational investments that reshape the Earth into the image of human values, the root of all valid economic values.
        4. Offspring
          My membership in the Setzer family, to deliver the value of Family Love to me, requires that I reciprocate this value to them.
        5. Friend
          I must use my Reason to engage in a clear dialogue with those whose Friendship I value to discover their optional values and help them to achieve those values whenever possible.
        6. Lover
          As a spouse to Leslie, I must produce certain values for her to experience the value of Romance.
        7. Benefactor
          To experience Brilliance, Friendship and Passion in my life, I regularly promote and participate in the activities of my Objectivist Club and related organizations.  I actively employ all available legal and moral measures to secure Liberty whenever and wherever possible.  I actively engage in activities of Toastmasters International to increase my own Brilliance, Passion and Confidence.
        8. Parent
          To be resolved ...
  4. BODY (PURPOSE) -- Telos
    My moral purpose in life, like that of every human being, is to prosper and to live happily through achievement of my explicitly stated Mission to propagate the human species to new homes away from Earth.  Fulfilling this purpose requires a businesslike interaction with my surroundings. This consciously chosen central purpose explicitly defines my abstract values and my associated concrete goals and action plans, allowing me to integrate smoothly all my actions into a rational whole.  My political relationship with my fellow human beings is Rights as actualized ideally through an economic system of laissez-faire capitalism.  At all times, I act with a clear sense of purpose through the virtue of:
    1. Productiveness: I adjust nature to suit my needs, always beginning with the end in mind and putting first things first. I constantly acquire knowledge and shape matter to fit my purpose, translating my ideas into physical form and remaking the earth into the image of my values. Through thought and action, I can rearrange entities to suit my purpose, but in all cases, the metaphysically given laws of nature cannot be broken. As Francis Bacon said, "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." When dealing with others of known or potential value, I think win-win, seek first to understand, then to be understood, and, wherever possible, synergize my efforts with those others. However, I do not suffer fools gladly; instead, I dismiss their false, arbitrary, or irrelevant assertions with a wave of my hand and a hearty "Bah!", thus optimizing the use of my most precious commodity, time, the stuff of which my life is made.  I break through barriers to my success through integrated thought and action.  I consistently affirm to myself, "I will not be denied."  To those who satisfy the virtue of Justice and augment my Productiveness, I offer the virtue of Benevolence, which consists of three component virtues:
      1. Civility: I act toward them in a civilized fashion.
      2. Sensitivity: I seek to understand fully their context.
      3. Generosity: I give them the benefit of the doubt within the bounds of reason.
  5. EXISTENCE (RESULTS) -- Cosmos
    I enjoy the results of leading a rational life in an orderly and thus effectively benevolent universe.
 

 

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