Human Values

Published on December 5, 2009

By TL Sawm Kipgen

As a human being, we have all of the necessary aptitude for creating a peaceful, safe, and nurturing environment for all of the peoples of this earth. God bestows us intelligence, yet we fail to use that intelligence to know what wisdom is. We have science and technology, yet much scientific enterprises are dedicated to annihilation and weapons, rather than constructing a better world to live in.

Large Hadron Collider (a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest particles) is a billion dollars project undertaken by scientists all over the world to find out how the universe comes into being. I considered it a right move if our earth has no hunger. But considering the conditions of our present world where people are starving, I am disinclined to say it is a wise decision to spend money on the project.

Scientists and doctors achieve medical wonders each passing day, yet we see people dying because doctors and hospital authorities are more interested in making money/profit. It is good to see hospitals especially private hospitals coming up with the latest developed instruments and skilled doctors. The sorry part is that the bill to these hospitals is rocketing high and thus only the rich people benefit. We understand human development and the needs for nutrition and healthful living conditions, yet children the world over are starving by the millions.

By nature, human beings are narrow-minded. We know enough about psychology to recognise the roots of hatreds and fears, yet groups of us continue to find ourselves superior and special, and engross in the dangerous and outmoded “we/ they” manner of thinking, rather than considering our whole human family, and admitting that we are not different but one.

We know the effects of war, and thus sign peace treaties and declarations agreeing that there are universal human rights and inherent freedom, yet somehow the appearance of power and moneyed interests, and the age-old belief in militarism as a method of problem solving, continue to defy all logic and prevent humankind from creating the serene world we dream of and long for.

If the heads and governments, politicians, powerful industrialists, financial and military institutions, elites, and other vested interests that have such a weighty impact on human well-being, take responsibility and consider the consequences of their decisions in terms of their own personal loved ones being affected by conscienceless actions taken, such as bombing, polluting, exploiting, and placing more value on profits than on people, then we would begin to see a moral awakening and a better world.

As humans, values of some sorts guide all of our behaviour. Most of us have certain values infused in us by our upbringing and our lives’ experiences; we have many different belief systems; we have many different ethnic, racial, and religious traditions; but the values which most of us share are those of safety and happiness for our loved ones and ourselves. If these personal values become the basis, by which we assess our human well-being and become the primary focus of human activity, putting aside short-term self-centred gains, as well as re-thinking old enmities and fears, there might be a healthier future for all of humankind.

Why does God made Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or Albert Einstein? He made them to set an example before us to learn human values of love, honesty, integrity, tolerance, responsibility, compassion, altruism, justice, respect, and sacrifice from their lives. Are we learning or ignoring them? Whatever, one who strives to understand, practise, and propagate these human values with fervour, enthusiasm, and sincerity can alone be called a truly educated person.

“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred, LOVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, and the good you do will be forgotten tomorrow, DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.” – Mother Teresa.

The writer is a freelancer based in India.