Meditation for Monday of Week 20 in the season of Growth

Respecting Value

  • “I don’t like that kind of music but I can hear that it is intricate and the performers did an excellent job with it.”
  • “Indian cuisine does not appeal to me but this is very fresh, colorful and I am beginning to appreciate the spicing.”
  • “Basketball bores me but I can see how hard those guys played.”

All these are statements of respect for value. Respecting value means acknowledging the merit in someone’s work or work product, even if we do not enjoy the product.

In Ethical Humanism, we distinguish between a person’s worth and a person’s value. We say that worth is intrinsic, a product of being a living human being. It refers to the value the individual places on her own life. Value refers to the contribution the person makes to others.

Respect can be a tricky word for that reason. For example, many people become offended when someone disagrees with them. They may interpret the disagreement as disrespect. In so doing, they be confusing their intrinsic worth with the value of their opinion. Of course, disagreement can be disrespectful if it involves name-calling or other insults. But a disagreement with the content of someone’s opinion is not disrespect of the person. We have a right to evaluate the merits of what people say to us. Democracy depends on it. We even have a right to say “that is very poorly reasoned.” This is not a comment on the person’s intrinsic worth but on the value of their contribution to the discussion at hand. The same reasoning applies the quality of someone’s scholarship, musicianship, culinary skills and every other thing that people do for use or consumption.

Real

True Narratives

Imaginary

Film and Stage

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea’s music is characterized by his consummate musical intelligence and respect for each voice in the ensemble.

The technical difficulty of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, “Waldstein” (1803) suggests that he must have had great respect for Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein, for whom he named the work.

This Is Our Story

A religion of values and Ethics, driven by love and compassion, informed by science and reason.

PART ONE: OUR STORY

First ingredient: Distinctions. What is the core and essence of being human? What is contentment, or kindliness, or Love? What is gentleness, or service, or enthusiasm, or courage? If you follow the links, you see at a glance what these concepts mean.

PART TWO: ANALYSIS

This site would be incomplete without an analytical framework. After you have digested a few of the examples, feel free to explore the ideas behind the model. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my inspiration for this work: the Human Faith Project of Calvin Chatlos, M.D. His demonstration of a model for Human Faith began my exploration of this subject matter.

A RELIGION OF VALUES

A baby first begins to learn about the world by experiencing it. A room may be warm or cool. The baby learns that distinction. As a toddler, the child may strike her head with a rag doll, and see that it is soft; then strike her head with a wooden block, and see that it is hard. Love is a distinction: she loves me, or she doesn’t love me. This is true of every human value:

justice, humility, wisdom, courage . . . every single one of them.

This site is dedicated to exploring those distinctions. It is based on a model of values that you can read about on the “About” page. However, the best way to learn about what is in here is the same as the baby’s way of learning about the world: open the pages, and see what happens.

ants organic action machines

Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always

Jacek Yerka, House over the Waterfall

Norman Rockwell, Carefree Days Ahead

WHAT YOU WILL SEE HERE

When you open www.thisisourstory.net, you will see a human value identified at the top of the page. The value changes daily. These values are designed to follow the seasons of the year.

You will also see an overview of the value, or subject for the day, and then two columns of materials.

The left-side column presents true narratives, which include biographies, memoirs, histories, documentary films and the like; and also technical and analytical writings.

The right-side columns presents the work of the human imagination: fictional novels and stories, music, visual art, poetry and fictional film.

Each entry is presented to help identify the value. Open some of the links and experience our human story, again. It belongs to us all, and each of us is a part of it.

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