Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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Post by prof » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:24 am

A strength - in the field of self-development - is any perspective that has the highest clarity, by which I mean: a person who has a strength, in this sense of the word, makes good value judgments. It is a way of thinking that always leads to good results. {See the Axionics website to learn how one may take, free of charge, the values inventory, to learn of one's strengths.}

In contrast, a potential operating weakness is a way of thinking that has a risk of not leading to good results, though this is a matter of degree. The process of attempting to correct or repair one’s weakness takes time and energy away from operating from one’s strength. To work on fixing a weakness is to remind the brain of the weakness and to cause the “I am weak” thought to get stronger; neurologists teach that neurons that fire together tend to wire together. So although you may affirm something positive about yourself that is contrary to current fact, with a view to building yourself up in that area, you are only, in effect, reinforcing the weakness by using the technique of “fake it till you make it.” Far better is to ‘come from strength,’ that is, to employ your capacity for thinking so clearly in this specific dimension of value in which you happen to excel, and of course you may have more than one strength.

Is it possible to overuse a moral strength? To put it another way, is there ever a time when good thinking is a mistake? Of course not! So strengths can’t be overused. If you have a real strength it doesn’t turn into a weakness because you use it all the time. If you are operating from your strengths in the ‘blink of an eye’ you’ll make a sound decision …even if it is regarding an area in which you are weak !

Mathematics is a language, like English, that enables us to make sense of things. For discussing values, and ethics, I use English, however – as explained in detail early in M. C. Katz- BASIC ETHICS (2014) - - the formula, I > E > S, helps to codify, condense, and make crisp in our minds the relationships among the basic value dimensions: S, E, and I.

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the Universe has ordered these values, and man discovers the order. The ordering is objective; it is a natural phenomenon, like the Law of Gravity, or any other physical law. Robert Hartman, about 52 years ago, after focusing on the topic all his life, made a breakthrough: he discovered this natural, universal order. He did not invent it, he found it. He named it the Hierarchy of Value, the HOV. It is displayed in that formula.

“The measure of value is universal and objective. It should be noted that the applications of value are subjective.” --- Robert S. Hartman

When human beings value, make judgments, set priorities, they can mess things up. And they do. But it doesn’t matter to the natural law that orders values whether we violate the order, or we align with it. If we violate the HOV we get distress, or we suffer!! If we align ourselves with it, we gain a high quality life [a QL .] It does not matter if you believe there is a Value Law in the Universe or you do not: the fact is that you will be hurt if you violate the order, the HOV. And if you live in alignment with it you will enjoy a quality life!

It is obvious, and plain to see – for those willing to look enough – that violations of the Hierarchy of Vale cause suffering and result in a diminished quality of life.


Let us, for purposes of careful and exact thinking, differentiate between “complexity” and “complication.” These are two different concepts.

In a complex system, the parts work together; but where there is complication, the parts do not work together. Imagine, as an illustration, a very-complex Swiss watch, with over two dozen working parts; it tells you the position of the moon and the stars, it’s a pedometer, etc. It’s the world’s most complex watch. The watch keeps accurate time! It runs. All of its parts work together. That watch is an example of complexity.

A complicated watch, though, won’t keep time. Complicated situations have a contradiction within them – one (or more) of their cogs is out of alignment. Hence they don’t work. We don’t get positive results from complications. They often result in distraction, even chaos. Complications subtract value. However, in contrast, complex systems may add value, may even multiply it. Systems have a useful place in the living of an ethical life. Just as we may be glad that there are traffic lights on the streets of our cities, let us devise ethical technologies which facilitate forming good moral habits – such as being mindful, and asking ourselves The Central Question of Life - technologies that make it easier and more-convenient to live an ethical life …with the objective of eventually providing a QualityLife for one and all.

(My earlier threads provide details on many of these topics.)

Questions? Discussion?

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