Subjective Value

I took a break from the blog for a bit, but I am back.  I’ve had some major philosophical and ideology changes in the past few years, and I am still processing them.  With that being said, let’s continue!

I have already talked about 2 important types of value that we place on decisions and outcomes, but I want to talk about a third that undermines the first two.

Subjective value.  Pleasure value.  Selfish value.  It’s all of these things.  It is greed and want.  We place value on things we want that is not objective at all.  As a musician, I want music equipment pretty much all the time.  My wife, as a home design nut, wants pillows and curtains and paint pretty much all the time.

We all have different wants that shape our personality, and having them isn’t a bad thing.  It is what makes us human.  What starts as a simple want, though, can turn into something far more sinister once it starts becoming more important than the other two core values I wrote about earlier (truth value and moral value).

I will give two examples.  One how subjective value can undermine truth value.  The second how subjective value can undermine moral value.

1.  Let’s pretend that I am running for political office.  It will greatly benefit me, subjectively, if I win election and get all the money and power that I desire.  In order to do that, I might have to lie, and try to convince people to believe something about me that is demonstrably not true.  In this instance, my subjective want has overcome my desire to spread truth and further the understanding of truth.

2.  Let’s pretend that my friend just scratched a million dollar lottery ticket, but left it laying on the counter.  It will greatly benefit me to take that ticket, pretends it’s mine, and go cash it in.  In order to do that I have to steal from my friend (causing him loss).  In this instance, my subjective want of money has overcome my desire to be moral.

This is a constant pull, and sometimes it seems like the only difference between crossing the line, and not crossing the line is whether or not we get caught.  The important thing here is balance.  Trying to maintain the importance of truth and morality over our own needs and wants.

This concept is the basic idea of “character” and being a good, honest person.  If you put being true and good above getting what you want, you are seen as upstanding.  Sometimes those things coincide.  What’s true and good is also what you want.

I have more to say about this, but I need to think about it more before giving a stronger case for it.  All I know is that this aspect of how we value things exists, and how it relates to truth and morality.


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