HUMAN VALUES: WHAT ARE THEY?
Philosophical ideas on value enquiry were directed towards finding the nature, meaning and purpose of human existence. In the present century search for a theory of values has become a separate branch of modern philosophy and has been called axiology
In the Indian tradition absolute values are related to the absolute reality whose nature is described as Sat, Chit and Anand. Attainment of a state of eternal bliss by the realization of identity of the individual self with the universal Self of this absolute reality is the highest and ultimate object of human striving.
Closely related to this absolutist perception is the theistic view which may be called a sub-group of the idealistic-normative approach. It is based on a metaphysical belief system which accepts the reality of a divine cosmic order and faith in the authority of a creator God who is also the upholder of all values. The basis of all ethical, social and other human values is sought in the enduring truths, either revealed or obtained through super conscious insights of sages, contained in the sacred religious literature.
Many leaders of the Indian renaissance, e.g. Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, were inspired by the absolutist-theistic value system and used it as the basis for their efforts towards the spiritual, social and political rejuvenation of the Indian society.
This is perhaps because of the need to highlight the universal humanistic aspects of this value approach, as against the merely speculative, mystical, or life-denying ascetic aspects. In the modern interpretation of theistic value approach the authors have shown its relevance and significance to the managers and other professionals. Another reason for the use of adjective ‘human’ before these values may be to distinguish this value approach from the modern, so-called scientific, approach to human phenomena and associated values.
Interpreted in its narrow sense this scientific approach robs man of the dignity of his divine association, his spiritual nature and reduces him to a biological organism of a random collection of atoms. It denies any meaning and purpose to life and rejects all considerations of faith, belief, feeling and intuitive religious perceptions. This mechanistic, deterministic interpretation makes man merely a malleable automaton, to be ‘programmed’ to meet the demands of the existing socio-technological order, through manipulation of his lower order needs and desires.
The factors influencing a pure mind are discussed in terms of higher and lower self, disidentification and re-identification with the latter and the former respectively the guna, karma, samskaras, nishkam karma and other theories.
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