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Need for Values and the Feel Good Factor

As we are seeing in today’s world, plenty of lip service is being paid to value-based education, living and the quality of life. The right sounds are made and people are exhorted to extend value systems in their lives. In many instances it is linked to religious ideals and, by logical extension, to routine religious practices. To some it is a regression to ancient culture, dropping all facets of progressive modernity. VALUE- def.- have a high or specified opinion of, prize, esteem, appreciate, an assessment in terms of worth. What is the yardstick by which we measure value? Worth measured against what? Prize, esteem or appreciate what? Who does the valuing? Is there a universal value system or is it a state of flux? These are some of the questions that are thrown open by the definitions. History, through the years to the present day, has bred certain societal value- systems, which are, even today, extolled in glowing terms, especially in celluloid.

The most significant among these-those which touch every single individual’s life- 1-Survival of the fittest at any cost 2-Victory of the strongest at any cost 3-Success of the cleverest at any cost These value systems are enshrined within codes of behavior and action, which have not been questioned for centuries. That would be blasphemy. Yet, mankind has made a quantum leap towards technological progress within the last seventy years, such that our very lives have undergone a significant qualitative change. And these same value systems guide our actions even today, again never to be questioned under pain of blasphemy. We have progressed technologically but have we done so spiritually? A look at the front page of the daily newspapers sadly bemoans this fact. Our lives abound in violence, terrorism, rape, celluloidism, scandalmongering, etc. What of the qualities of honesty, compassion, love, trust, forbearance, etc. taught at the primary levels, but which lose their tenuous hold on us as we progress to the secondary and higher levels? The pressures of daily competitive living, of meeting deadlines at any cost, of no time, of no time to care, consign these to the back burner in our heads. Busy in the rat race for name, fame and material acquisitions, we have not the time or the inclination to pause and see life around us except in a superficial manner. We do not relate to the beauty around us, to the misery around us, to the wonder of the human situation that we witness every moment. We see without heart. Corporates the world over have taken to reviewing human values as essential to the workplace. A lot of activity is being generated in this context. Spiritual ashrams have been enlisted as consultants to give weekly discourses. Human skills, now better known, as Soft Skills is a byword in corporate corridors. Many practitioners as also charlatans are jumping into the megabuck bandwagon. It is a heyday for Human Values. We can only wait and watch, as to how much distance this new ride covers, before another ‘new’ concept replaces the old mantra. But, in spite of many voices being heard, this new consciousness has not really spread into the hearts of people. It has not made an iota of change in the situation around us. Why is this so? Maybe, it may be argued, it is a slow process and will take time to show results. People need some time to adjust themselves and change to the new environment of corporate and social goodwill that human values will generate. Maybe.

If we look around us we see that the new wave of awareness in values is nothing new. Attempts are being made to inculcate values into everyday life, but anything that is not holistic in approach is bound to fall by the wayside sooner or later. Mind you, I am not putting down Values. It is the much-needed inoculation against moral disease. And we are all suffering from it one way or the other. Why has the awareness of this disease taken prominence now? It has been running rampant for the past so many aeons. Maybe, there is a slight shift in the awareness of the human ethos. If so, then it is desirable. Values are good, but how is it to be implemented given the current human consciousness operating today? For that matter, let us see what this current human consciousness is. The basic credo revolves around the acquisition of money and lots of it, to beat the Joneses next door as also to improve the quality of one’s life. You cannot beat the Joneses because they are a myth of the mind. They will always have more money. Forget individuals, corporates also operate on the same concept of acquisition of money and generating more of it. It is the basic concept of business. The desire to acquire money is a healthy desire. It makes for visible self-growth. We cannot eschew this of anyone, individual or corporate. It is a basic right. Where then does the process falter? It is relevant to ask here why people seek more and more of anything. Some answers are obvious- to beat the competition; for further growth; to become the most successful; to become the most powerful; to become the best. Mind you, these may not be overt responses but, all the same, bubbles in the unsaid. What is the yardstick by which one can measure success? Obviously, it is material acquisitions. It is your asset base, by which you, individual or corporate, are judged. Listing all one’s assets is a basic requirement in a business portfolio. And, this is important, when is enough- ENOUGH? The twist may lie therein. Enough will never be enough when the ‘more, more’ syndrome overcomes us. The fear of ‘not enough’ makes one crave for ‘more, more for I’. This fear is a real fear, because the ante is being raised all the time, as to be always out of reach or maybe no one really knows at what level the ante is. This race is tiresome, unlike in athletics where there are always people holding a tape at the end of the race. This is a race without end- like an ocean without measurable depth, like space without limit, like a God without beginning or end. Scary. Let us look at nature around us. The satisfied lion leaves the carcass but there is enough left for the jackals and vultures. They leave and there is enough left for the maggots to take over. The trees offer themselves as food to the tallest, strongest, as also to the smallest and humblest. The flora provides for the fauna, which spread the seed for more floras to bloom in a million ways. Given the natural law, there will never be enough; there will always be ‘more than enough’. Nature provides in her bounty. Why do we humans then feel that something or other is never enough?

The acquisition of material wealth is desired by all, but is fraught with danger. If there is an absence of fellow feeling, it can lead to insatiable greed and hoarding. “ Only if you starve, Can I eat. Only if you lose, can I win. Only if you die can I live.” This is an ugly extreme facet of the ‘not enough’ syndrome. We see it all around us as a blight on our existence. And why is the tempo of this race speeding up? We celebrate the 100-metre dash- the fastest man alive. We glorify the sixteen-year-old megabucks youth. We coo in front of the thirty-year-old tycoon who has ‘everything’, who will generate fantasy in every conceivable way in susceptible minds. And the press and media hammer it home into the minds of its readers and they lap it up and ask for more. ‘Young’ is in and ‘Old’ is not gold anymore. Who is most easily influenced? Our youth is, of course. So one must 1-Become the fastest and do it fast 2-Become the richest and do it fast 3-Become the winner in the quickest time possible. …. if you want to make it to the glossies. To add to the moral degeneration pervading society at large, the means to glory and riches is not being questioned now. “Do it anyhow, anyway and don’t get caught doing it,” is the all- pervading new mantra. And anyway loopholes in the system are aplenty for anyone to get away with anything. This type of thinking has created disrespect for age and the wisdom it can confer, because elders are slow to action. Maybe, but they can be quicksilver in thought. Aged people are left to fend for themselves and isolated from the very families they raised. They are, more often than not, held in unspoken contempt and barely concealed scorn. They are not us- the ‘Now’ generation. And so society further sub-divides itself into old and young, the haves and have- nots, the black and white, the poor and rich, the developed and undeveloped, the aristocrat and peasant, this religion and that, this caste and that, and many more, with further sub-divisions as can be created. Fragmentation leads to disunity.

Disunity causes unrest and unrest leads to violence, battles and wars. This is the world today we see around us, we read of in the papers; the world that is bequeathed us and the world we may have to offer our children and children’s children. It is indeed a scary inheritance. How is training in values and value systems conducted today? Today, most corporations depend on outsourcing their training needs. Weekend programs are conducted for freshers, with follow up questionnaires, reactionnaires to apparently test them whether they have understood. These programs follow standard systems of lectures with maybe games and role-plays thrown in. It is seen as a mandatory exercise. And the freshers in return pay scant attention to such programs- a pain to be got over with. This is never an open response, God forbid. There are exceptions though. After all, the trainees have to get on to their main job quickly- to work and generate income for the company. So training programs, like regular, mandatory fire drills are conducted by all organizations, big and small. However new movements have begun, initiated by many organizations, to integrate knowledge management within the company with training resources, whether outsourced or in-house and create comprehensive training packages to align with the relevant aims and aspirations of the various organizations. These will surely energize training programs, making them more growth- oriented. They will tickle the fancy of the trainees involved and generate more interest in them in sync with the policies of the respective managements. HR functions will become re-vitalised. In this context, these moves have to be applauded. My 11-year- old son after seeing the movie ‘The Matrix’ was fascinated with the idea that, with a cable plugged into the back of one’s neck, one could master kung-fu in minutes. “ I wish we could do the same with Social Studies,” he said dreamily. Instant knowledge is the fantasy mantra of the young. It does look so with training in Human Values. ‘Human values’ is not taught but is learnt in unconscious imitation of those who we look up to. It starts at home, filters down to school and then seeps into college life and future endeavors. The primary stage at school is the weaning time for education in values. The child is gullible, impressionable and what he/she learns will be remembered for life. And value education should be a basic course in this format, much the same as Math, English and Science, from primary, right through to the higher classes, with maximum priority rating. Then and maybe then we may see a subtle change in the ethos of a new generation. When values are fostered at a young age, the application of the same at the pre- employment and post- employment stages will be instantly understood with relevant, growth- oriented training programs conducted therein. The practical benefits will be easily comprehended and put to practice immediately in corporate life. That is a win-win situation. Let us not delude ourselves into thinking that daily teaching in the 3-Rs alone will make the child conscious of study. If a child understands the intention of study, he can memorize like lightning, instinctively learn in minutes. My son did so. Interested in games and extrovert in nature, he stumbled through to his final school year, more as a labored drudge. In the last four months leading to his board examinations, he decided that he wanted to take up computer-animated cartoons as a career. Once he decided, he went ballistic and completed all the study of three years in three months. Zatak! That’s how! Those months, time sped by like a whirlwind, with my wife and I only meant to administer to his daily needs. God makes them of hardy soil, indeed. What is that yardstick which makes us intuitively know that what we are doing and have done is right and proper? What is that benchmark by which we can regulate our actions; that we trust will get us to where we want to go, and which embraces all the facets of goodwill and fellowship? In active thought, any feeling of guilt, however insignificant, any pang of conscience, any doubt about propriety must be automatically labeled negative and discarded, unless we will it otherwise. We must, in our actions, do likewise. So, what is that yardstick which makes for a win-win situation?

The FEEL GOOD Factor: Many times in the course of our lives, have we not, in a moment of spontaneity, exercised a thought in good faith, with no thought of reward? And did this not make burgeon within us a fountain of goodwill and love that made us feel happy, healthy and thus, wealthy? This is the FGF. This is the most reliable indicator of what can and will arouse in us joy and wellness through our interaction with the world around us. It arises from within the heart and not from cold logic. At times it may seem to defy logic and reason but that should not scare us into straying from our chosen path. This good fellow- feeling arises automatically in us at the decision- making stages and directs us accordingly. It is NOT a hollow feeling, which can only arise from greed, insincerity, deviousness, and deception. It is an expansiveness, which fills our entire being and releases in us joy and happiness. Once we identify with this FGF, we will be able to draw it to us at will, provided all positive energies are at work. Indeed the FGF aura pervades our very being, wanting and waiting always to be called forth. It lies in the spiritual domain of our consciousness. It recognizes nothing other than its pure expression. It energises, elevates, ennobles and enriches us to the core of our Being. It overflows from the unlimited love potential we each hold within ourselves. It arises from the sincere expression of goodwill to self and all. And the more we experience it, so will others around us. And all will be enriched. This FGF flows out of us due to the innate affirmation of divine goodness within ourselves, and our involuntary distribution of it. This works at many levels, the most basic being self love and therefore self-respect and, just as important, respect for others. The field in which this operates is that of unification- we all are one irrespective of birth and situation. It recognizes the unity in the diversity, that the essence of the spirit is one in all. It recognizes the Brotherhood of Man. It recognizes God. Amen.

Author : R. Venkatesh

Comments Listing
Posted: 21/11/2016 08:02:44

The article is v good but the drawback is that I cannot save it

Please help

Posted: 17/03/2012 06:24:57

Wonderfully explaned, ultimately it's all about what you like to see becoming yourself.

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