Values, Principles and Character Introduction & Overview
A growing desire has evolved within me over a number of years to document a set of timeless values and principles that transcend cultures and faith communities. The values and principles that are covered here, I have either learnt through personal experience or through observing how they are applied by others. In addition to personal experience and observation, I have also included valuable facts that I have learned through studying books and research findings about the topic and have incorporated various principles of “Traditional Humanity” referred to by the late C.S. Lewis in his book “The Abolition of Man”. Lewis has documented that “Traditional Humanity” embraced and practised a range of values that have generally been found in various civilisations throughout history. Lewis summarised these values/principles in what he refers to as the “Tao”.
There appears to be a degeneration of “Objective” Values, Morality and Virtue (absolute truths) across the world, including South Africa. It is commonly known that widespread corruption and looting has been taking place in SA (and elsewhere in the world) especially since 2008, where we have been witnessing an alarming number of instances of greed, corruption, theft, dishonesty, fraud, bribery, lying, deception, dissemination of falsehoods (fake news), wilful damage to property, self-centredness, entitlement, disregard for the dignity of others, lack of respect for others, murders, sexual assault and a general lack of restraint (self-control). We have also witnessed how self-centred extreme individualism has been taken too far and has been “out of balance” for some time. It appears that the moral fibre in society generally is degenerating and the reasons for this are complex. One realises that generalisations could be dangerous, but in my opinion, one of the contributory factors for the world being so “upside down”, is the prevailing confusion of what is “right” vs “wrong” and “good” vs “bad”.
I believe that the values and principles that will be published on this Website every week going forward, can play a key role in the extent of one’s personal quality of life as well as well-functioning communities. I also believe that the values that are covered here, contribute to the ability to live a productive life of meaning and significance underpinned by contentment, constructive/harmonious relationships with others, inner peace and joy. It also captures some of the habits/disciplines that facilitate the achievement of one’s personal self-imposed goals.
It is important to stress that these values and principles are not necessarily exhaustive and critics may well feel that I have omitted some essential values and principles or that I have either over- or under-emphasised some of the elements. If so, I do understand. I have merely documented to the best of my ability my personal experience, what I have learnt and observed in the lives of many other people over the years and my findings based upon my studies concerning the topic.
I have gone out of my way not to deal with theory or intangibles; I am generally dealing with what I regard as the most basic, fundamental aspects of what is right and what is wrong. C.S. Lewis (refer “The Abolition of Man”) states that rather than merely following our basic instincts and doing whatever we like, without boundaries and self-control, as if there are no absolutes as far as “right” and “wrong” are concerned, there should surely be an appropriate frame of reference that imposes some boundaries for our behaviour. If the sole source of all value judgements is rejected, all value is rejected.
I feel that it is appropriate to know that my Christian faith has been one of the most crucial pillars of my personal frame of reference that heavily influences my worldview. I nevertheless strongly believe that the values and principles covered here, transcend the vast majority of religions and faith persuasions.
By capturing these values and principles, I am not pretending for one moment that I am implying that I am living rigorously by every one of them. I recognise my shortcomings, weaknesses, mistakes, failures, biases and blind spots. What I am certain of, is that the person who lives by these values and principles has a much greater chance of reaping the positive consequences, benefits and rewards that tend to accompany those who do, compared to those who don’t.
I trust that the weekly postings will make some contribution towards helping people to recognise and embrace the following:
- Do what is right (even when no-one sees you), because it is the right thing to do (i.e. doing the right thing for its own sake and not to get something in return)
- Enjoying the positive consequences and benefits of doing the right thing
- Recognising that doing the wrong thing has negative implications and consequences (for oneself and others)
You are invited to journey with me on “A Path Less Travelled” by visiting our Website every week when we will be dealing with various topics.
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Values, Principles and Character
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