Everyone has values, but not everyone’s values reflect real value

Many people lament the lack of values in today’s world: “So many corrupt people sacrifice higher principles for petty pleasures.”

Actually however, everyone has values – just that their values may not reflect real value. Consider a doctor who subjects a patient to more tests than necessary to get commissions. That doctor values money more than the patient’s prompt recovery. Or consider a lazy car-testing officer who allows substandard vehicle to pass through quality control. That officer values personal comfort more than road safety.

Valuing the less important above the more important is tragically commonplace. And such distortion of values often arises from a fundamental distortion wherein we value the material more than the spiritual, or we value the world more than the source of the world, God. The Bhagavad-gita points to this progression of distortion from atheism to hedonism– the demonic reject the existence of God and deem selfish sensual pleasure as life’s ultimate purpose (16.08). For such pleasures, they destroy their eternal souls (16.09) – they squander their chance to realize their spirituality and to thereby relish lasting life and love.

If our values don’t reflect real value, we will be jolted, even devastated, whenever we face life’s inevitable reality checks. And the biggest, most inescapable reality check is death. Therein, we will be stripped of everything except our soul’s essential characteristic, our consciousness, whose enrichment we had neglected lifelong.

How can we ensure that our values reflect real value? By studying scripture. Through incisive analyses and inspiring narratives, scripture draws our attention to the things that really matter – to our soul, to the soul’s relationship with the Whole, and to choices that further that divine relationship.

When our values reflect real value, our life becomes profoundly meaningful and perennially fruitful, uniting us in love with the Source of all value.

Think it over:

  • How do even people who act without values still have values?
  • What fundamentally causes distortion of values?
  • How can our values reflect real value?


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