Values and Spirituality: Beyond Our Self
A. The Issues
Conflicting Values – each person has unique set of values that we have been exposed to in our
personal experiences (biological, personal, social, environmental). Our values evolve to remain
useful as our life develops. Belief and faith follow a logical path in development.
Quest for Values – people are constantly searching for purpose and meaning to life.
Approaches to Selecting Values – emphasizes use of the best possible scientific information for
enhancing our wellbeing. Scientific knowledge is accepted as the final world in directly testable
information, becoming part of each person’s wisdom and knowledge. In cases where science cannot
verify then valued traditional views can be accepted.
B. Cultural Diversity and Belief Systems – traditions within our culture have no scientific basis and only
lives with each of us in a belief system. Members of the group act a certain way, believing their system
is the only and best way. Individuals look to their own cultures as better.
C. Values Orientation
Theoretical – search and discovery of truth, involves rational, critical, and empirical processes, a
rational and logical person (scientists, philosophers)
Economic – practical usefulness, tangible wealth and material possessions are of central
importance as is the financial bottom line (business people, insurers, repairers)
Aesthetic – form and harmony, not necessarily creative artists but are accomplished performing
artists, interest in the sensitive and skillful experiences in life (artists, designers)
Social – personal ministering, affiliation and love, individuals tend to be kind and sympathetic
(pastors, social workers, nurses)
Political – use of power, not restricted to politics alone, but may involve influence and active
competition (military officers, administrators, officers)
Religious – search for unity, spiritual, seek to comprehend and relate through cultural religious
philosophy and traditions, not necessarily culturally religious, (religionists, spiritualists)
Hedonistic – search for immediate pleasurable gratifications (materialists, sensualists)
Ideal vs. Operative Values
Ideal Values – what values can be in their purest forms, taught by the dominant culture of a
society as the ones to follow, usually very difficult or impossible to practice all the time
Operative Values – working values people use when making decisions and taking action,
difficult for people to bring ideal and operative values into complete harmony because people
aren’t only one way.
Instrumental and Terminal Values
Instrumental Values – instruments or tools that people use to operate by for achieving their
goals (innocent until proven guilty, treating everyone as equal to achieve fairness)
ii. Terminal Values – end points or goals people try to reach (the end justifies the means)
D. Sources of Values – can there be any absolute right in the universe or are right and wrong simply