Over the last several months, much of my mental process (such as it is 🙂 ) has been focused on how we think about value and worth and as an outgrowth how those assumptions have come to form our dominant economic systems.
This note however contains little of that analysis; more will be released when my new web site is published, in September. Suffice it to say that what is winnowed down into this bulletin comprises a few teased out ideas.
So, what is a contribution? This question forces us to realize that our purchases and how much we permit ourselves to “pay” for something is based upon what worth they have to us. That worth is what we deem its contribution to our lives should be: in utility, convenience, vanity, need, want, or addiction. In the long run, what or how that item or experience has contributed to our well-being is subject to reinterpretation: upgrade or downgrade. Yet at the time of transaction, we made a judgment about its worth. And that judgment is founded upon our values. Where worth is an exterior or superficial assessment of what we might pay to acquire something, or expect to be paid for something we have or may perform; value is an intrinsic calculation reflecting our inner state and the interplay of Essence, Personality, Ego and Imprinting.
It is at the level of values, where a vast number of people operate without deliberate assessment. They’ve been told a list, like the 10 Commandments, but seldom if ever checked into how effectively comply or how often they either ignore or violate them. Yet, we can see from their behaviors, politics, habits, and purchases, those values and beliefs that are actually in play. Not only about money but about life itself. Getting through yet? If we took a snap shot of all of the stated values (or principles) people declared, then compare them against what they actually do, the variance would be a fascinating insight into what distortions occur and the great lengths we go to in order to cover our discrepancies.
I’m not making anyone wrong for common human foibles, but in order to congruently convey one’s values in what they contribute, there must be a direct conscious connection! Otherwise, there is an inadvertent and unconscious direction that appears in those actions. For instance, a strongly Conservative couple I know thinks that everything Liberal is of fools and sinners. Yet, they recycle, eat organically, and drive a car that is ecologically friendly. Sound contradictory? It does to me. At the other end of the socio-political spectrum, I know some Liberal folk who profess environmental concerns and yet drive an SUV, always have the air conditioning on in their home, eat junk food, and watch cable TV by the hour. Admittedly, I am implying a set of behaviors that are somehow endemic to each group, but the generalized illustration does not stray too far afield from the actual principles self-identified by each group. I’d wager that the variance between what they say and what they actually do in behavior creates what is known as cognitive dissonance. And the more loud the internal dissonance, the greater the tension generated to protect oneself from criticism with rationalization. And rationalization takes us out of the present, away from being authentic, but most significantly, its byproduct is shame!
So my greatest contribution to you, and thus an acknowledgment of my own values, is that you scale back on shame. Get clear on your genuine values and agendas. Stop pretending what they should be and therefore rationalizing why you are not doing them. When congruence in thought and action is the pattern of the day, the amount of collective distortion, dissonance, and resulting friction in political, religious, economic, and relationship domains will decline; and deadlock will ease markedly. Then actual needs will replace posturing and positions as the clear and authentic starting point to build workable solutions to our collective problems.
This is, in a nutshell, the process of the Higher Intellectual Center at work: finding your TRUTH! It is also the basis for living from Essence.
Stephen J Cocconi © 2011