Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 21

Chapter 1

Human Values

Section -1

Overview of Human Values

1.1 Need of Human Values:


The Global-village in which we live today requires a common culture of human-
friendliness, mutual respect, integrity, loyalty, reliability and truthfulness for peaceful co-existence. Thus
there ought to be certain principles and code of conduct which can be universally accepted and applied. In
other words, there is a need for identification, inculcation and implementation of human values. However,
due to geographical locations, societal patterns, security concerns, economic variations and cultural
diversions, the human beings living in different parts of the world have different patterns of behaviour
.Today throughout the world, the human beings are facing the problems arising out of growing social and
economic disparities, fundamentalism, fanaticism, cut-throat competition and lack of discipline in all
walks of life giving rise to conflict, terrorism, corruption, inefficiency and injustice. This has deteriorated
the quality of human life with the creation of unbearable tension, frustration, diseases and unhappiness.
The solution to the problem appears by way of leading the life based on certain ethical principles in other
words the values.
The Philosophers, psychologists and social scientists all over the world have been studying the
human behavior since centuries. Aristotle observed that Man obtains great pleasure from an object
when it is his own, for the love of self is a feeling implanted by nature and not given in vain. There is
also great pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companies which is
facilitated by possessions. Others including Plato and Kant discussed aesthetics and deliberated over
the problems of government and citizens but could not propound any theory regarding human values.
Plato, while talking about the human behavior suggests that truth, goodness and beauty may be
used as ideal forms of value judgment at the relative level of human existence. This later became
the western tradition of conceptualizing the human values. In the Indian tradition, absolute or
classical human values are described as Sat, Chit and Anand. It is believed that ultimate objective
of human life is attainment of state of eternal bliss. Thus the perception of human values from
the point of view of both the eastern and western culture is the Theistic View or idealistic
normative approach. In other words it becomes a metaphysical belief system which believes in
the existence of a divine cosmic order and faith in the authority of God or Creator who is the
origin of all human values.
According to Indian philosophy, human life is an obligation based on the cycle of birth
and rebirth. The philosophy says that there is birth because there are debts (rinas) one owes, from
previous birth to pay off. Indians believe that there are three kinds of debts (rinas) to pay out one, to
sages, and seers (rishi rina), two, to fellow beings and deities (dev rina) and three, to souls of dead
ancestors (pitra rina). Thus life has been given a purpose. Accordingly one is supposed to adopt religious,
social and cultural practices in life which in other words may be called values. The total life period of
humans is supposed to be divided into four spans termed as ashrams.

Brahmcharya Ashram: The span, in which one has to follow celibacy, acquires physical and
mental abilities, learn life skills and cultivate knowledge and wisdom.
Grahasta Ashram This is house holders life span in which one marries, raises family,
earns wealth, up brings children and becomes an active person in society.
Vanprastha Ashram - In which one takes up social welfare works, leads an austere and
aesthetic life, provide guidance and help wherever possible.
Sanyas Ashram Where one indentifies himself with universe and develops universal
consciousness and raises above all petty matters of the world.
Indian philosophers say that during each of the above span a person should imbibe a set
of values that will make life meaningful and happy. They call complete package of values as
Purushartha enumerated by wealth (Artha), desire (Karma), righteousness (Dharma) and freedom or
liberation (Moksha). Thus the Indian view point about the human values seems to be more pragmatic
because it attaches meaning to human life and values it. A human life without aim, without values is like a
rudderless boat which keeps on drifting but does not reach any destination.
People throughout the world want to live in peace. It is only possible by practicing truth and right action.
Violence has become rampant in the society due to which not only peace has been lost but the human life
has become insecure. Therefore if the life is to be made peaceful, secured and happy, then a beginning
needs to be made in the form of faith in God or Almighty. Where there is faith, there is love. Where there
is love, there is peace. Human life should begin with faith and end with peace.
When we talk about human values we should think as to what is purpose of life? Elbert Einstein has said
Strange is our situation here on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit not knowing why. Yet
sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however there is one thing
we do know - that man is here for the sake of other man above all for those upon whose smiles and
well being our own happiness depends. It needs to be realized that each person acquires values with
varying degree of importance. A particular value may be very important to one person but unimportant to
another. As such there is a great diversity in acquisition of values among the people of different nations,
different societies and different regions. However it is needed that all the human values should be
conceptualized and understood for the overall benefit of the mankind.

1.2 Concept of Human Values

The word Value comes from the Latin word Valere which means to be of worth.
Conventionally speaking the term value has been used in economics where it means capacity of
an object to satisfy a human need or desire. Is there any value of human life? The researchers
have propounded the economic theory for value assigned to human life. Varying estimates have
been applied to value of human life running into order of million dollars. However, it can be said
that human life is invaluable. What makes human life invaluable? Obviously the answer is
human values. The other questions arise as to what are human values, what is meant by them and
why are they necessary part of human life? All such questions are dealt in details in a field of
study known as Axiology: Social Scientists consider human values as behavioural norms that
guide the human personality. Values also reflect the changes in society. The major characteristics
about the concept of human values can be mentioned as follows:
Values are linked with feelings and belief: For example people for whom liberty is
important will become unhappy when their independence is threatened and happy when
they realize it.
Values serve as criteria: People decide whether the beliefs and feelings they uphold are
to be observed as standards of practice.
Values according to perception: For example, do the people attach more importance to
novelty or tradition, materialism or spirituality and likewise for other facets of life.
Values according to utility: Whether practicing a particular value will prove to be
beneficial.

The western philosophers since middle of 20th century started propounding various theories
regarding values and value systems. It has now become a vast field of study and research.

The famous psychologist Rokeach has written The value concept is able to
unify apparently diverse interest of all the science concerned with human behavior. This
statement provides the concept of human values. Thus the values can be considered as a link
between self and society. Thus human values may be conceptualized as principles, standards,
convictions and belief that an individual and society may adopt as guide lines for human
activities in life.

1.3 Definition of Human Values

Eduard Spranger, a German Philosopher, psychologist and an educator defines human values as,
The Constellation of standards of qualities, characteristics or ideas that determine a persons
view of the world.

As told by Elbert Einstein in 1954, Students require an understanding of and a lively feeling
for values. They must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and morally good. Otherwise,
he with his specialized knowledge, more closely resembles a well trained dog than a
harmoniously developed person.

Like most of the areas of human knowledge, the human values definitions have been varying
according to perception of scholars. Yet they are instinctively felt, cognitively grasped and shared
through experience. In most simple terms it may be stated that values are the beliefs that a person
holds about things and aspects of life. In a wider sense the human values may be defined as the
standards or codes for conduct which are guided by conscience, according to which a human
being is supposed to shape his life pattern by integrating his beliefs, ideas and attitudes to realize
the aims of life.

On the basis of studies and interpretations made by various scholars, the following statements
can be given about the values:

Values are the principles, standards, convictions and beliefs that people adopt as the
guidelines in life.
Values are habits of thought.
Values are an integral part of education.
Values are doors of perception through which we look at the world.
Values are like rails that keep the train of life on track and help it move smoothly, quickly
towards the destination of success.
Values are the guidelines for doing rightful things to become morally strong.
Values are virtues leading to an enlightened and qualitative life.
Values are the corner stones on which professional ethics are built.
Values are the links which tie together personal perception and judgments, motives and
actions.
Values are the qualities that an individual should possess for making ones life qualitative.
Values are the outcomes of human choices among competing human interests.
Values are the building blocks for development of personality.

Thus values give meaning and strength to a persons character. They reflect behavior and
relationships. They influence thoughts feelings and actions. They make a person to do a person
right or wrong things.

1.4 Classification of Values:

Values are evolved from the experiences of an individual from the childhood and develop
along with interaction of the society and environment. There are number of professions in which
the people work. Each profession has its own requirements in addition to the common ethics.
Keeping this in view, values may be classified into several categories such as economic, social,
political, territorial, religious, spiritual etc.

According to the UN Charter, Human values have their roots in a single universally-held
premise- the inherent dignity of every human being. Thus dignity of human being is linked with
the human values. In the Charter of United Nations, the declarations of the human rights are
conducive to the evolution of the human values. In view of this, the values may be classified
with respect to the human nature and its interaction with the world on the basis of following:

Man and Society


Man and Environment
Man and Technology
Man and his Profession
Man and his family

In addition, there are several more ways of classifying the human values. Some of these
are indicated below:

On the basis of the nature which act as means to some end: - such as food, shelter,
clothing, health, strength etc, and those which act in themselves - such as honesty,
truthfulness righteousness, goodwill etc.
On the basis of who exercises: For example, personal, organizational, societal, business,
national and global etc.
On the basis of benefits expected: Such as material and physical, spiritual, health,
productivity, charity, freedom etc.
On the basis of beneficiaries: For example individual, family, society, institution,
organization, nation, etc.
On the basis of nomenclature: Such as intrinsic, fundamental, universal etc.
On the basis of time: For example- eternal and temporal.

A particular value may fall in more than one category. For instance non-violence is
fundamental, personal and societal value.

There is a considerable amount of extensive study and research going on human values
since 1950s. It suggests that while the values display character and personality at individual
level, they are found useful for describing societys collective consciousness. In organizational
behavior they represent the corporate strategy. In political field the values serve as predictors of
attitude towards governmental policies. Efforts are being made to understand interaction and
interdependence of one set of values on others. Famous psychologist Rokeach identified a set of
36 values that may be called instrumental values. Similarly Schwartz specified a set of 56 values
which he grouped into 10 basic types depending upon the subjectivity. Rescher classified values
in accordance with their utility. On the basis of these studies, the values may be classified:

Group Values societal, professional, national etc.


Object Values Personal or individual, environmental etc.
Subject Values material, economic, moral, religious, spiritual etc
Purposive Values- behavioural, intellectual, inspirational etc.

A particular value may fall in more than one classification.


During 19th and 20th Century, some important values were identified as follows:
Democratic spirit- originating from Greece and England.
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity originating from France
Non-violence and Satyagraha originating from India
Scientific temper originating from the study of science and logical thinking.

1.5 Associated Terms-

There were some terms associated with values such as ethics, values, principles etc. They are
used synonymously with values and are complimentary to each other.

1.5.1 Ethics:
There are various terms associated with human values such as ethics, virtues and
principles. They are synonymous with each other. However, each of them is used in different
context. The terms ethics is derived from an ancient Greek word ethikos which means relating
to character of a person. Ethics is commonly used interchangeably with morality. It is also
characterized as the science of moral duty which involves systematizing, defending and
recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. Ethical standards are very close to human
values. The concept of ethics has been developed by moral philosophers over a long period of
time in the human history, and now used to distinguish between morally right and wrong
behavior. The code of ethics includes ethical system, moral rules and moral judgment. Apart
from the personal behavior, ethics applies to organizational behavior. In the words of Peter
Ducker, Ethics deals with the right actions of individuals. The term Business ethics came
into common use in USA in early 1970s and business organizations started highlighting their
ethical stature since then to distance themselves from the scandals. By definition, ethics is a
system of accepted moral conduct by an individual or society. Bertrand Russel describes ethics
as, The art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for the cooperation with
oneself. In normal usage ethics is referred to as the text that investigates about good conduct.
Investigating what is right and what is wrong, it formulates the code of conduct. In Hindu
philosophy ethics is called Dharma Shastra wherein the study is made of right conduct and
positive values. The basis for deciding what is right and what is wrong may be described as
follows:
Ethics cannot be decided on the basis of feelings.
Ethics should not be decided on the basis of religious beliefs.
Ethics cannot be decided based on law.

Thus the term ethics in general can be applied to any person, profession and society.

1.5.2 Virtues: The term virtue is derived from Latin word Virtus meaning moral excellence. A virtue
is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good. The opposite of virtue is vice. Again
values and virtues are very close to each other in terms of their meaning. Whereas values are
related to culture, society and person, virtues are related to person. Virtues are values which
elevate the standards of human life.

During the days of Roman Empire, virtue meant manliness or valor, but over the time period the
meaning settled into the sense of moral excellence. Now-a-days, the term virtue is being used as
the phrase By virtue of thereby meaning As a result of or By authority of . According to
Aristotle, Virtue is more clearly shown in the performance of fine actions.

1.5.3 Principle: The term principle refers to a law or rule that has to be followed. The principles are
framed to ensure smooth and transparent working system based on values. Thus values become
building blocks of principles. The word principle is derived from the Latin word Principium
meaning A beginning, origin, first part. Now-a-days it is most widely used in all areas
including philosophy, sociology, psychology, commerce, science, medicine and others.

The relationship between values, ethics, virtues and principles in terms of knowledge,
beliefs and behavior can be understood from the Figure 1.1

Virtues

Beliefs Values Behaviour

Knowledge Principles Ethics

Relationship between values, ethics, virtues and principles

Figure 1.1

As seen in the figure, the prime source of principles and beliefs is knowledge- the driving
force. The values are imbibed on the basis of certain beliefs and principles. The behavior of an
individual depends upon the values and ethics. The values can become virtues when they lead
towards excellence. In a normal manner it is the behavior which is of utmost importance. The
knowledge, principles ethics and values together affect the behavior of an individual as well as
that of society. Summing up it may be said that values describe what is important in a persons
life, while ethics prescribe what is appropriate to behave. Potter Steward has rightly said Ethics
is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. The
ethics, virtues and principles are like three sides of a triangle in the centre of which human values
exist.

1.5.4 Values and Anti-values:

There can be some values that are opposing others. For example conservatism and
openness oppose each other. Such values cannot be termed as anti-values. The bad tendencies
which are harmful to an individual or society can only be called as anti-values or negative
values. Sometimes absence of a value leads to anti-value or negative. For example, absence of
truthfulness may be called as falsehood. Therefore, if truthfulness is a value then falsehood is an
anti-value. Anti-values are those values that have a predictably bad outcome. It is important to
note that anti-values are not synonymous with excess or deficiency of another value.
Cowardliness is the deficiency of courage. Foolhardiness is an excess of courage. Neither
cowardliness nor foolhardiness designate a value that anyone may strive for.

1.6 Basic Human Values:

We are all, by nature, clearly oriented towards the basic human values of love and
compassion. We all prefer the love of others to their hatred. We all prefer others generosity
to meanness. And who is there among us who does not prefer tolerance, respect and
forgiveness of our failings to bigotry, disrespect and resentment?

---- Dalai Lama

The above statement of Dalai Lama indicates the importance of basic human values in the
life of every human being. Each nation in this world has its own heritage and culture.
Accordingly, the people of different nations follow their own value system. However, there are
some universally accepted values that are common in all nations. They are also sometimes
known as Universal Human Values and are described below:

1.6.1 Righteousness:

The term righteousness refers to doing things in accordance with morally justifiable
manner. It is a theological concept in all religions. In Christianity righteousness is considered to be one of
the chief attributes of God. The Quran says that a life of righteousness is the only way to go to heaven. In
Hindu religion it is termed as Dharma one of the four pillars of Purushartha the way of leading the
life. Righteousness consists in being right relationship with God, humanity, creation and self. It connects
the self and society for the benefit of both. Shri Adi Shankarcharya has said, Righteousness (Dharma)
is that which accomplishes three tasks- one, keeping the social system in an excellent condition, two,
bringing about the worldly progress of every living being and three, causing progress in the
spiritual realm as well. Thus righteousness should be understood as one of the basic human value
universally applicable to characterize holiness, purity, uprightness with adherence to moral principles.

1.6.2 Peace:

In English the word Peace gives a meaning of an absence of civil disturbance or


hostilities or a personality free from internal and external strife. But in scriptures of various religions, the
concept of peace is much larger and corresponds to God. It is said that God alone is the source of peace.
The prophets state that peace is achievable only through righteousness and justice. It is well known that
without peace there cannot be any progress. Even otherwise peace becomes essential for wellbeing of self
as well others living in the world. Dalai Lama has said, Do not let the behavior of others destroy your
inner peace.

In order to lead a meaningful life one need to cultivate inner peace. According to
Mahatma Gandhi, values like truth, non-violence and love are meant for peace, prosperity and harmony
of the world. In Indian scriptures, there are numerous instances where peace as a universal human value
has been described. One of the verses of Rig Veda calls for a prayer for attaining peace in the following
form.
May all be auspicious, may all attain peace, Let there be fullness and contentment
all over, may all be blessed. Om peace, peace, peace.
1.6.3 Truthfulness:

It is the highest form of human value. Quest for truth has been the prime focus of all the great
people of the world. Mahatma Gandhi has said, The way of peace is the way of truth. Truthfulness is
even more important than peacefulness. In his autobiography, he says that my life is nothing but
experiments with truth. He adopted a policy of truthfulness for fighting against the British rulers. Prophet
Mohammad has said, Truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to paradise. In
Hindu philosophy truthfulness means Satya which is nature of God. In Chinese philosophy truthfulness,
compassion and forbearance are considered to be the hallmark of human personality. According to Bible,
Jesus said to his disciples, I am the way and the truth and the life .. and truth will set you free.
All the scriptures in the world say that no virtue is higher than truth. Truth is the highest attribute of God.
On truth the whole universe is built. The truthfulness needs to be imbibed for a peaceful and purposeful
life. It is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deed and words. Social life would become
impossible if truth is not respected as a foundation of social communication. It has a deep impact upon
our moral character. A truthful person is trusted in every work. He is respected everywhere.

Unfortunately, now-a-days, meaning of truthfulness has changed. It has become a deceptive word today.
By trying to be truthful people are telling half truth which is more dangerous than pure lie. For example,
in India, while negotiating a marriage proposal for the son, his parents say that they do not want any
dowry but their greed for wealth through dowry remains hidden in their minds. Thus there is difference
between the words and thoughts. This is not truthfulness. Truthful person would be true to his thoughts,
words and deeds.

1.6.4 Love:

It is a gift given by God to all human beings. The human life itself originates from the love of
mother for her child. Love is a basic inherited characteristic of man which originates from the heart. Bible
says Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not
dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs (1
Corinthians 13:4-5). One of the major features existing in Hindu scriptures Vedas is the love for nature in
all its glory. They say that nature is not subservient for use of man, but is a part of divinity. The bounty of
nature is to be revered and respected. The relationship between man and all non living and living beings
must rest on love. In other words, a man should posses love for the entire universe. The religion of
Buddhism is also based on love and non-violence. It preaches unconditional love without any
expectations. Such kind of love radiates across the boundaries of relationships and becomes Universal in
nature. Mahatma Gandhi said, Where there is love there is life. Rabindranath Tagore said, Love does
not claim possession but gives freedom.

Without respect love is lost


Without caring love is boring
Without honesty love is unhappy
Without trust love is unstable

From the above mentioned, it becomes clear that love being the gift of God to mankind
should be honoured and used as a virtuous quality for emitting the fragrance of happiness amongst all.
This should not be distorted to become an instrument of selfish means. Unfortunately we have forgotten
the real meaning of love and lowered it from its high pedestal and made a cheap commodity for seeking
pleasure of own self.

1.6.5 Non-Violence:
The term non-violence refers to abstention from violence. The meaning of non- violence
is much more than simply the absence of violence. As a human value it is the personal practice of being
harmless to self as well as to others under all circumstances. Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankar of
Jain religion was the torch bearer of non-violence. His concept of non-violence included all the living and
non living beings. Similarly Gautama Buddha was the greatest exponent of non-violence. He asked loving
kindness to be extended not only to human beings but to all animals. Buddha did not teach non-violence
as social and political philosophy. He taught it as path of pious life.

The doctrine of non-violence is common to almost all religions. In Hindu religion, non
violence is synonymous with Ahimsa which means compassion or Not to injure any one by deeds,
words, and thoughts Thus Ahimsa has a broader concept than non-violence. As a social practice, non-
violence was made use by Mahatma Gandhi. It became an effective instrument for political policy of non
violent civil disobedience movement (Satyagraha) that won the independence for India. He derived the
inspiration of non-violence from Bhagwad Gita which discusses the doubts and questions about the
action to be taken by an individual facing unrighteousness, injustice and war. In the matter of self-
defense, the use of violence against an armed attacker is recommended in Bhagwad Gita. Non-violence or
Ahimsa Is not meant to imply pacifism. Similarly, in punishing criminals, the sentences for any crime
must be fair, proportional and not cruel.

In the contemporary world, non-violence is an essential human virtue to be nurtured.


Martin Luther King has said, At the centre of non-violence stands principle of love Mahatma Gandhi
said, All society is hold together by non-violence even as the earth is held in position by gravitation.
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of the mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest
weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Unfortunately, the greed for power and
money, not only the personal but the social life has become replete with violent activities. The world over,
terrorism has endangered the peaceful living. The killing of innocent people to convey the message for
accepting a particular form of living or political set up can never be accepted by a civil society. The fast
growing tendency of violence can only be curbed by cultivating non-violence as an essential human value
in every person.

The five universal values mentioned above directly affect the human personality in its five dimensions:

Truthfulness Intellectual dimension (Intellectual truth)


Rightfulness Physical dimension (Physical right action)
Peace- Emotional dimension (emotional peace)
Love- Physic dimension (physic influence)
Non-violence-Spiritual dimension (spiritual realisation)
1.7. Other values:
There are many other values which contribute towards personality of human beings. They
are required because the absence of other values will cause deficiency in the personality. Mahatma
Gandhi has been a great exponent of human values and moral principles. Based on Gandhian Literature,
National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) of Government of India published a list
of 83 values for inculcation amongst the students studying in educational institutions. The list has been
compiled by Shri B R Goel of NCERT. The same is shown in the Appendix -1.
1.7.1 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Values:

Intrinsic Values are those values which are essential, inherently required. They form the
part of the self, without which incompleteness will be felt. For example self-esteem is a value which
constitutes the personality. Similarly truth, goodness, beauty, confidence, happiness, courage, compassion
can be called intrinsic values. Moral values come under the category of intrinsic values. These are the
values which are inherently rewarding to pursue. They are sometimes known as Absolute Values.

Extrinsic Values are those which are based on the acceptance or rewards from outside.
The examples are national unity service to society, loyalty to duty etc. They are also known as
Instrumental Values. While the two are different from each other, there is direct relationship between
them. The extrinsic values help in generating intrinsic values. Thus happiness can be achieved by serving
the society. According to researchers in the field, an intrinsic value is worth of its own account and
extrinsic value because of its consequence. It has been told by researchers that intrinsically valuable
things are the source of their own value, whereas extrinsically valuable things drive their value from
another source. There may be a difference of opinion whether value exists in the object or in the
individual. So far as the discussion in this book is concerned, it is considered appropriate that values exist
in the individuals. It has been told by researchers that intrinsically valuable things are the source of their
own value and the extrinsically valuable things drive their value from outside source. There may be a
difference of opinion whether values exists in the society or in the individual. So far as the discussion in
this book is concerned it is considered appropriate that values first exist in the individuals and then
transcend into society and ultimately form the part of civilization. Philosophers say that intrinsic values
are crucial towards moral judgments. Whether an action is morally right or wrong is decided on the basis
of the intrinsic value adaptation. Both intrinsic as well extrinsic values affect the attitude and behavior
during the course of life of human beings. They influence career choices, social persuasions, money
spending, ecological foot prints etc on which the personal well-being depends. Sometimes the outward
sources such as advertising promote the extrinsic rather than intrinsic value. Placing greater
importance or extrinsic values may produce certain amount of prejudices in the society. It is observed that
people who attach greater importance to extrinsic values are likely to have low level of personal well
being.

There seems to be a correlation between the intrinsic, extrinsic and systemic values. The
systemic values are those belonging to a societal system or an organization. At the root of each of these
there will always be individual capacities. The intrinsic values will give rise to human competence,
extrinsic values to business, competence and systemic values to the societal competence. This
combination of the three values system needs to be encouraged by all concerned.

1.7.2 Family Values:

By definition, in human context family is a group of people consisting of parents and


their children living under the same roof top. In the India culture, family signifies a basic unit of society
in organizing various activities. Families play an important role in generation of human capital. Value
development of children and young people in a family has always been a matter of prime consideration.
Family authorities take care in upbringing the infants and children and transfer the Values which are
usually in the form of beliefs and traditions. Indias culturally idealized family is male oriented and has a
predominantly patriarchal family set up. Till the middle of 20 th century the term Family referred to
people belonging to three generations namely grandparents, parents and their married and unmarried
children living in the same household together and sharing a common budget and kitchen. In a way this
was also called joint family system.

With the onset of industrialization and urbanization, increased mobility and the influence
of western world the joint family system has been continuously declining. Nowadays we have Nuclear
families consisting of husband, wife and unmarried children. A survey shows that in India at present
nuclear families are only about 50%. In western world majority is of nuclear families.

Family values sometimes referred to as Familial Values are traditional or cultural values
i.e. values passed from generation to generation within a family. These values are of conservative nature
and held to promote the proper functioning of the family and to strengthen the society. They usually
pertain to progeny, health, hygiene, morals and financial sustainability. Such values are usually supportive
to the cast and creed to which family belongs. The society comes later. Therefore family values may be
positive or negative towards society as a whole. If the family values are opposed to ideas of the society,
they may lead to unrest. For example if a person is selfish, there is more probability that this negative
value is inherited from the family. Similarly if a person acts genuinely and respectfully towards strangers
as well as acquaintances, it shows that this behavior is due to family value acquired. Likewise, honesty,
truthfulness, righteousness etc are the positive values inculcated as family values. Thus the family values
are the same core values which a family chooses by design to transit to the children.

Parable:
An old man used to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four year grandson. The old
man hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his steps faltered. The family used to eat together at
the dining table, but the shaky hands and blurred eyesight of the old man made eating difficult for him.
Peas would rolls off his spoon on to the floor. The milk would spill on the table cloth and make noisy
eating. The son and daughter-in-law would get irritated. We must do something about to get rid of the
situation said the son to his wife. Both, husband and wife set a small table in the remote corner of the
room and asked the old man to eat on that table. The grandfather started eating along on a small table
while the others used to enjoy dinner together. Days passed. At times a dish or two would fall on the floor
from the small table of the grand-father. In view of this, the couple started serving food to the grandfather
in a wooden bowl. The old man sometime had tears in his eyes, as he sat along for eating on the remote
small table. Whenever the spoon or fork fell on the ground, and the food spilled, the couple would
admonish the old man. The four year child watched all this in silence. One day, the father noticed his son
playing with wood scraps on the floor scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, What are you
making? Just as sweetly the child replied, Oh father, I am making a little bowls for you and Mom to eat
your food when I grow up. The child smilingly went back to work. The words of the son so struck the
parents that they were speechless. Though no further words were spoken, both husband and wife knew
what must be done. The same evening the husband took grandfathers hand and very gently led him back
to the family dining table. For remainder of his days the old man ate every meal with the family. Neither
husband nor wife seemed to bother any longer when milk spilled or table cloth soiled or fork dropped
down the floor and all lived together happily. The moral of the story is that empathy and caring strengthen
the family values.
1.8 Value System:
Value system is a set of beliefs and principles which are followed by a society. It is like a
navigation system which enables the completion of a purposeful journey. A well defined value system
becomes code of conduct. It varies according to perception of a society. As a member of a society, one can
follow personal value system as well as community value system. The basic characteristic of a value
system is that it should be holistic in nature. Further, depending on the heritage and culture, different
nations have different value system. At times, it is seen that value systems oppose each other, giving rise
to conflict.
There are different basis for classification of value system. Some of them are as follows:
Singularistic and Pluralistic Such as Personal value system, Societal Value System.
Based on regions and territories- Indian Value System, Chinese Value System, American Value
System etc.
Based on religion- Hindu Value System, Muslim Value System, Christian Value Systems
Based on practitioners- Confuciousian Value System, Gandhian Value System etc.
Based on structures Corporate Value System, Organisation value System etc.

Value systems have been widely used by social scientists to explain different behavioural
patterns. Once a value is inculcated, it becomes part of the value-system in which each value is placed in
order of importance and priority with respect to others values. The value-system becomes an instrument
for use in decision making. Situations in life require decision which seems to be quite difficult to take. It
is the choice of a particular value out of the value system which an individual or an organization has to
make in such a moment. The value system depends upon the attitude and behavior of its followers. In the
societal value system, one should not look at only one value but multiple number of values which means
that all the aspects of the societal norms and behavior are taken into consideration.

The value system may be defined as a coherent set of values adopted and/or evolved by a person,
organisation or society as a standard to guide its behavior for purposeful existence. A well defined value
system becomes a moral code. The value system helps oneself to discriminate between right and wrong. It
provides a certain brand to an individual, and builds trust around people. Strong adherence to value
system becomes an inspiring source of strength. People in this world live in different nations. They think
and behave in different manner depending upon the geographical, climatical and societal conditions. It is
therefore interesting to know about the value system of some of the major countries located in different
parts of the globe with their respective culture.

1.8.1 Indian value System:

Indian value system is the oldest among all other value systems of the world. It dates back to
about 5000 years ago and is derived from scriptures known as Vedas. The term Veda refers to
knowledge and wisdom which is necessary for self realization. It manifests the language of God. Indian
value system derives its core values from Vedas. The great sage Maharshi Patanjali strengthened the
system by his Yog Sutras. Thus Indian value system is based on five fundamental values namely
Truthfulness (Satya), non-violence (Ahimsa), non-stealing (Asteya), chastity (Bramhacharya) and non
possessiveness (Aparigraha). These values are supposed to be nurtured from the tender age and practiced
lifelong. Along with the set of the five fundamental values the value system also includes set of four
values which are considered to be of rudimentary nature namely - cleanliness, compassion, courage and
kindliness. These two set of values become the back bone of ancient Indian value system.

Since then traditionally, Indians have been practicing this value system resulting into spirituality, peaceful
co-existence, respect to elders, reverence to nature, strong family bonds, hospitality and love for mankind.
History shows that there has been continuous influx of people to India from different parts of the world,
sometimes in the form of knowledge seekers and at others as invaders to become rulers. The tenacity of
Indian culture absorbed all of them.

Today India is a multi-religion and multi-lingual country following principles of secularism, peaceful co-
existence with vibrant democracy and respect for human divinity. With the advent of the industrial era in
the country after its independence, the values such as scientific temper, competitiveness, spirit of enquiry,
team working has been developing. This transition has resulted in the placement of India amongst the top
ranking nations of the world. Recently, it has been realized that the values enshrined in Patanjali yoga-
sutras if practiced by people of India and other countries will enable them to live healthily and happily.
This seems quite possible because 175 countries of the world have recognized yoga as an effective
instrument for making a healthy body-mind-system.

Though, perhaps the best value system exists in India, but the impact of materialism,
consumerism and individualism due to globalization has resulted in cutthroat completion amongst the
people in India. Millions of them are dissatisfied and leading the life of deprivation.

1.8.2 American Value System

America is a pluralistic society and consists of many different groups of people representing
different social and political ideologies. Its value system is based on macro level culture. The core values
that Americans uphold are taught to children in schools as lessons of morality and signs of good character.
These values are as follows:

Individualism Americans cherish the ideal that an individual can rise from the lowest to the highest
level in the society by ones own effort. Thus they believe in continuous persistence of an individual.

Emphasis on Success To achieve success in life is the prime objective. This may be outdoing others.
The success is measured by attainment of wealth, power and prestige.

Activity for work and efficiency- It is believed that engagement in work makes the people to progress
and become proficient. They believe in practical approach rather than the emotional.
Materialism- Americans believe in achieving high level of comfort through nutrition, medical care,
housing, gadgets, playthings and romance. To achieve the material comfort they have passion for science
and technology. They believe in controlling nature for the benefit of mankind.

Freedom and Democracy Americans emphasize on personal freedom and democratic rights of people
to express an opinion with rule of majority. However, their previous history shows racism and feeling of
superiority over others.

Directness, openness and honesty Americans believe in direct approach to deliver information with
openness and honesty, howsoever unpleasant if may be.

1.8.3 Chinese Value System:

China has a long tradition of collectivism. The individual values are associated with the group
one belongs to. It is generally considered as a great virtue to sacrifice self-interest for the good of
community. The core values of Chinese culture are based on the concept of Haxie (Harmony) in
community which includes principles of Tai Chi Philosophy. The philosophy says Universe unites
diversity which means that there exists many differences in the universe, nature and society. However,
the differences do not necessarily result in contradiction, thereby maintaining harmony (Haxie).
According to Tai Chi philosophy, unification of diversity is the basis for generation of new things.
Confucius, the great Chinese thinker has said The gentleman aims at harmony and not at the
uniformity. Further, the Chinese value system respects the past specially the ancestors.

Chinese traditional culture consists of wide range of human values based on Confucianism, Buddhism
and Taoism. Out of these three, Confucianism has been established from a long time and is being
followed to some extent even today. The traditional Chinese values include harmony, benevolence,
righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty and face-saving. In the Chinese value system, family unit has
precedence over its individual members. It is assumed that the family as a whole will thrive and prosper
only if harmony prevails among its members. The obedience and self restraint is always expected from
the children.

Since the Chinese economy became market oriented, Chinese values have been changing. Materialism,
money worship and arrogance are now common in China.

1.8.4 Comparison between American and Chinese value system:

The American values such as freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights equality, justice etc are based
on the belief that human nature is inherently evil. The American value system is the outcome of the
efforts for protecting the evils. For example, freedom of speech, human rights, mutual respect, and self-
esteem were established to protect the abuse of power. Influenced by the Christian religion, they believe
that humans are fundamentally not virtuous. They believe that men are separate from nature, and can
conquer nature for development; they uphold individualism and advocate individual liberty and privacy.
Their values are less stable because it is believed that any change will create an opportunity for
development. More attention is paid on the present and the future. The horizontal dimension of inter
personal relationships (i.e. with peers and co-workers) are valued more and development of qualities for
successfully dealing with them is focused.

The Chinese value system seeks harmony between human and nature, which results in a passive
acceptance of fate. It nurtures the emotions and inner feelings, and emphasizes vertical dimensions of
interpersonal relationships (i.e. relationship with supervisor and elders). The Chinese culture through its
value system goes in favour of discharge of duties towards family, society and state keeping individual
personality aside. It respects past tradition and kinship ties. However, in the context of contemporary
world scenario, the Chinese value system seems to be in conflict with reality. For example, if the harmony
between people and nature is so highly valued, why is china among the countries with most
environmental problems?

A Chinese scholar Pan in 1994 conducted a study to examine Chinese and American perception of human
value system. He made a survey to assess the extent to which people hold on to values in both China and
United States. Table 1.1 shows the results of survey in five key areas representing tradition, human nature,
behaviour, family, and society. The value items and their relative percentage contribution in the value
system in America and China are seen in the table.

Table 1.1
Value perception between China and America

SN Value Items China United States


1 Proud of respect for tradition 55% 83%
2 Human Nature is benign 31% 80%
3 Proud of Tolerance, propriety, 47% 94%
and deference
4 Proud of a house full of children 21% 54%
5 Proud of Loyalty to state 77% 92%

1.8.5 Japanese Value System:

The name of Japan is said to be derived from ancient Chinese word Zippon which means The
origin of the Sun. Despite the proximity and cultural connection with China, Japan has developed its
own culture over a long period. The Japanese value system is based on Sun. The nine cultural values
enshrined in Japanese value system are based on nine planets around the Sun that are considered to be
deities. The Sun and the nine planets symbolize unity and harmony. The fundamental assumption on
which their value system is based is that, Although people are different individuals, but they
contribute to oneness. Thus Japan has collectivism and group-oriented culture.
Japanese children are made to learn that the fulfillment comes from close association with others
and are made to recognize that they are part of an interdependent society. In interpersonal relations,
competition and confrontation is avoided. Self is seen as defined through its interaction with others and
not merely through force of individual personality. However, the influence of Confucianism is also seen
on the value system of Japan. Thus people performing their social role believe in harmony between
heaven, nature and human society. A most often observed Japanese phrase is that, When persons are
cultivated, the families are regulated, when the families are regulated, the States are rightly
governed and when the States are rightly governed, the whole kingdom becomes tranquil and
happy. Japanese respect hierarchy. Their status is based on specific relationship with individuals.
Relative status forms the social organizations but the concept of self is not negated. The sincerity is
considered as one of the top most value and every individual strives for it. The self-discipline and attitude
towards perfection is nurtured in people from the early childhood. Japanese individuals imbibe a strong
sense of self-sacrifices and dedication for community.
Some of the core values of Japan are as follows

Selflessness
Respect for elders
Self-discipline
Co-operation
Zest for excellence
Courtesy

Japanese values are reflected in phrases used in daily interactions. The most versatile phrase is Onegai
shimasu which means I sincerely request. Courtesy is the pivot of interpersonal communication that
builds harmonious relationships with other people. Bowing is the most important posture representing
humility. In conclusion it may be said that Japanese value system is based on collectivism, humility,
respectfulness and in directedness.

Questions for Learners

1. Why do you need human values in life?


2. What do you mean by human values?
3. How are human values defined?
4. How the human values are classified?
5. What is meant by ethics?
6. What is meant by virtues?
7. What is the difference between virtues and values?
8. What are the basic human values?
9. Explain any one basic human value which you like the most.
10. What is meant by intrinsic and extrinsic values? How are they related to each other?
11. What is meant by value system?
12. What is the difference between Indian and Western values?
13. In what way do you think human values are helpful in life?
14. What would happen if people do not practice values?
15. Are there opposing values to each other?
16. Do the family values contradict or support societal values?
17. Give the names of any two great people (along with their messages)? Who advocated the
practice of human values?
18. Do the human values change with respect to time Yes or No? Justify your answer with
the arguments?