The commonalities of the behaviors of all people and the decisions that generated those behaviors suggest the existence of the seven values. The function of the seven values is to guide decision-making to ensure the survival of our species.
Readers have probably already noted that there is no scientific physical genetic evidence to support the author’s proposition that these values do indeed exist. On the other hand, neither can they be proven not to exist. In lieu of genetic location identification of these values, the statistical method to prove their existence would be the most reasonable route. Because you as the reader are one of the statistical population, you can ascertain the validity of these values, at least for yourself. Asking your friends and associates whether they make decisions using these values would extend your statistical proof.
How these values were discovered will be discussed in Chapter 5, “Chain of Discovery,” page 25.
Seven Values have Sustained Our Species' Survival
The Four Primary Values
Life. This is the value that is common to all living creatures, even bacteria. We know life is important to all living beings by the evidence of their reaction to life-threatening stimuli that causes some level of pain.
We could say then that LIFE is the ultimate value of living creatures, excluding viruses and fungi for example.
Equality. This value is much more complex. The sense or awareness of INequality is the stimulus that arouses decisions and behaviors to reconcile that imbalance.
The key to understanding INequality is awareness. If a creature is not aware of being treated UNequally, then individually INequality does not exist for that creature. Behavioral laboratory experiments have proven that an awareness of UNequal treatment is exhibited in most mammals, particularly primates; and, very evident in humans.
Growth. Growth is an even more complex value. Physical growth is exhibited in all living beings, even simple multi-celled creatures at the microscopic scale. Mental growth is not so obvious but evident in the creature as it develops physically, meaning that the brain is capable of taking on the task of solving more complex problems and routines.
The full development of intellectual, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual growth seems to require some level of curiosity, which is enhanced when the individual strives to satisfy that curiosity.
There seems to be an innate limit to the individual’s capability to satisfy their curiosity, and that appears to be due to the innate potential the individual brought into life. What is paramount to the accomplishment of striving to fulfill an insatiable curiosity is a statement similar to “I can do this!” And if that person becomes aware that they do not have the skills, whether they are skills of dexterity or mathematics manipulation, or mental capability to accomplish the task that curiosity presents, the value “growth” usually urges the individual to learn those skills so that they can proceed, and possibly proceed successfully.
Most mammals have this “urge to grow,” but only humans that have self-awareness and the innate capability to decide to grow. For humans, the urge to grow, and then the consciousness to decide to grow is innate. To will to grow is to be human.
Quality of Life. Quality of life as a value is distinguished from social comparisons. We can observe decisions that generate behaviors to improve one’s quality of life. For example, people had the choice to install electricity and indoor plumbing after the invention of electricity that produced electric lighting, electric water pumps to create pressurized water in a home, leading to indoor toilets.
Social comparison is not related to improving one’s quality of life. To choose to trade-up from your one-year old Ford to buy a Bugatti sedan; or, to buy an 8,000 square foot home when the two of you were living quite well in your 3,000 square foot home is a matter of personal choice that was initiated by a person’s ego needs. Bigger and/or more expensive does not equate to a “better” quality of life.
The value quality of life is fulfilled by a combination of the values of life, equality, and growth. The behavioral evidence in archeological research has shown the development of dwellings from caves and lean-to shelters, to various forms of yurts, wikiups, various types of tents, mud huts, rock huts, log cabins, and dimensional lumber houses, with the size of such dwellings determined by the number of the people who would regularly use them.
The Three Secondary Value-Emotions
EQUALITY → Empathy, Compassion, and Love
The source for these secondary value-emotions is the primary value Equality.
The value-emotions of empathy and compassion are more evolved and refined forms of the primary value equality. We know when equality is out of balance because of the secondary value-emotion of empathy – to “feel” or put our self 1 in the place of another person and sense what that is like, whether that is in anguish or in joy. When we feel empathy for others, the value-emotion compassion motivates us to reach out to the other person and assist them in their situation. When empathy and compassion are combined, and we feel that equally for everyone, then we say that we have a love for all humanity — the capacity to care for another person or all of humanity, as we do for our self.
Empathy and compassion are evident in more evolved primates that exhibit behaviors similar to those of humans. Some species of monkeys will exhibit concern (empathy) for another monkey or human who is in distress as we see from the various facial expressions that are similar to what humans exhibit when they see another person in distress. Such behavior reflects that empathy is not a learned behavior but is innate.
What is remarkable is that some primates will then exhibit compassion by going to the distressed person and try to console them in one way or another. This too seems innate. The combination of empathy and compassion expressed as a generalized love for humanity seems to be innate only to humans. Those people who do express a generalized love for humanity see themselves as a member of the larger population of human civilization. They empathically know that they are one of that larger population, and that the differences of race, skin color, culture, ethnicity, gender, and national affiliation are external. The identification is within each person, that we are all of one species, Homo sapiens, with a common history of struggle and overcoming.
The awareness of situations in which a person struggles, as we ourselves personally have struggled, lends to a developed self-awareness as we empathically place ourselves in the other person’s life in that moment. It is not something we are taught, though it helps to have learned empathy from parental figures and others. The innate value-emotion of empathy and compassion always lies latent with in each individual and can be strengthened. It then becomes a personal decision to act on empathy to compassionately go to the other person to come to their aid.
Empathy, Compassion, and a Generalized Love for Humanity support the development of a higher quality of life for our self and for/with others by providing the motivating energy to grow into a more complete, mature, and functional individual within our self and within our social environment. These values allow us to see the common good as societal rather than selfishly personal. Their expression demonstrates the highest ennobling qualities of human nature at its best. With these three value-emotions, we have the direction and motivation from which to develop highly positive family dynamics; and a loving, compassionate, and empathic means for validating holistic growth in individuals, families and societies.
When we consciously become aware of the already internalized primary values and secondary value-emotions, we realize that the collective power of individuals affects individuals everywhere as much as the individual affects the collective whole. Acting accordingly, we have the capability to become the highest living expression of being fully human.
Values and Decision-Making
The presence of these values has only one purpose, to guide decision-making. Because we know that values always underlie all decisions, the presence and purpose of the four primary values, (life, equality, growth, quality of life) is to ensure the survival of the species. Yet, history has proven that though the four primary values have sustained the survival of our species, they have not been sufficient to sustain the survival of societies, cultures, civilizations, and their nations, empires, dynasties. The 30,000 year history of organized social existence is a record littered with the consistent failure of all civilizations, cultures, societies, and nations, along with their governments, administrations, and policies. Why?
The answer lies in their failure to use the three secondary values to balance the aggressive nature of the four primary values. Forging a successful and dominating nation requires the firm use of the four primary values, but once that achievement is secure, then the use of the three secondary values must be included. The history of the rise and fall of nations is also a history of strong male leaders that was necessary to settle the frontiers of human expansion. But those times have passed! Now we live in a world that is fully occupied with nations that exist in close relationship with each other. Relationships do not survive when nations and their leaders are aggressive, unruly, bullying, or manipulative of others.
In order for democratic nations to survive, the decision-making practices of their politics, governments, administrations, and policies must begin to use the whole spectrum of the seven values, plus the morality and ethics that erupt from them. Any political party of a democratic nation that wishes to remain in power must begin to assert these values, and particularly their ethics at a time when those values and ethics are desperately needed … Now!
The three secondary value-emotions (empathy, compassion, and a generalized love for humanity) are also values that underlie decision-making. What we know, though, is that their application in decisions is totally volitional. That is, to be humane requires the decision-maker to become aware of their own sense or impulse of empathy. To act upon that impulse is to then make a decision to take an action that is humane, compassionate, and even merciful in some cases.
Values and Moral and Ethical Decision-Making. It is simply not enough to know what the seven values are, but equally important to know the “rules” for how to make good and effective decisions using those values.
If, upon a thorough discussion of the seven values and how to use them, you began to examine each value as a pivotal point of decision-making for yourself in relationship with others, you would begin to develop a few “rules” for making those decisions. Because the seven values are universal to all people, the morality and ethic that erupt from those values are universally applicable to everyone.
If Life is truly the ultimate human value for making decisions about life, then you would value your life highly, and that any attempted or actual violation of your life would be treated, by those who remain after your death, with an appropriate response. In other words, your life is as valuable as that of others, and their life is as valuable as yours.
If Equality is truly a primary human value for making decisions about your life, then every other person’s life is equally as valuable as your own.
If Growth is truly a primary human value, then the growth of others is equally as important as yours, and yours as theirs.
If Quality od Life is truly a primary human value, then the quality of life of yourself is equal to that of others, and theirs as your own.
The same examination of the secondary values calls for similar but more developed and evolved discussion to use them effectively for human decision-making.
When we examine the seven values as an integrated set of decision-making values, then certain “rules” need to be in place to teach children how to make those appropriate decisions in the various situations they will find themselves throughout their life.
1 “self” as a single word is identified in this paper as our self-identity. It is distinguished from “myself,” “ourselves,” and similar usages to indicate the inner personality identity.