Human beings have core values in the world. When our core values are supported and fulfilled, we generally feel inspired, expressed, and energized. When our core values are threatened or challenged, we generally feel aggravated (惱人的), suppressed (壓制), and diminished (貶低).
What are Core Values?
Core values are representations—things, activities, interactions, and subject-matters—that we deem to be most important in our lives. Our hierarchy of values—most important to least important—determines what we filter for in life, and more importantly, what we use to govern our decision-making processes. For example, we might place a high value on travel, business, and romantic relationships, while we might assign (分配) a lower value on family time, hiking, and photography. If an individual has a high value on business, and he/she walks into a bookstore, he/she might drift towards the business section of the store and wonder:
If an individual has a high value on traveling and he/she walks into the bookstore, he/she might drift towards the travel section of the store and wonder:
The Difference Between Core Values and Core Beliefs
Core values and core beliefs are often used interchangeably. However, there is a distinction to be made. To understand the difference, we must cover a few simple principles about how the human brain works:
First, human beings are experts at generalizing, deleting, and distorting information—this is a convenient way to organize infinitely abundant information so we can function in the world without having to consciously compute and re-compute the world every single moment of our lives. For example, not touching a hot stove because we will get burned—it would be too troublesome to consciously figure that out every instance we are near a hot object. Our brains help us by generalizing that touching hot objects with our bare hands is not a good idea.
Second, the human brain is an association, meaning-making machine. We make meanings every day and about everything. For example, imagine that certain colleagues consistently arrive 30 minutes late to work every day, we might figure out many meanings about their behavior:
The association function of our brain is what helps us generate our core beliefs. Core beliefs are generalizations (rules) we assign to relationships between specific experiences, and govern how we behave. For example, core beliefs can include the following definitions:
Core beliefs determine how we live our lives (our behavior) and interact with the world at large. And, our core values are a specialized subset (分支) of beliefs that allow us to filter and prioritize our decision-making—from what is most important to what is least important, and more importantly, what is of no importance. Often, our core values and our core beliefs work hand-in-hand.
Your Hierarchy of Values
The prime objective of human beings is value-fulfillment. We share this life with other people who have unique value systems, and are seeking to fulfill their highest values. However, when we idolize (偶像崇拜) someone (make ourselves inferior), we typically inject their values at the expense of our own, try to be someone we are not, and often, we end up frustrated and diminished because we are trying to live a fantasy that isn’t true to our nature. On the other hand, if we position ourselves as idols in relationship to others (make ourselves superior), we typically project our values onto others, trying to force them to be someone they are not. When we put ourselves above others, so to speak, we end up feeling lonely, isolated, and without peers.
To live in alignment (調整) with our core values and to help others align with theirs, we must respectfully align and build relationships with others in our life without placing ourselves below or above them. In aligning our values, we must be aware not to subordinate to others by injecting (引入) their value systems, or, make them subordinate to us by projecting (投射) our value system.
In other words, our life demonstrates our values. We have to clarify our values, and audit our external environment (behaviors) and our internal landscape (thoughts and emotions) without any judgment. Our core values are neither right or wrong, good or bad. They are simply unique to us. To stay true to our core values and live a values-aligned life, we must also respectfully align and build relationships with others in our life without placing ourselves below or above them.
Furthermore, according to the Seth Material, value fulfillment offers the most all-encompassing basis for the meaning behind existence. The concept of value fulfillment offers a positive outlook on reality and the motivations of all consciousness. It provides us with a powerful, life-affirming perspective on how consciousness creates toward a betterment of the individual. Seth elaborates, “You are born knowing that you possess a unique, intimate sense of being that is itself, and that seeks its own fulfillment, and the fulfillment of others. You are born seeking the actualization of the ideal. You are born seeking to add value to the quality of life, to add characteristics, energies, abilities to life that only you can individually contribute to the world, and to attain a state of being that is uniquely yours, while adding to the value fulfillment of the world.” Value fulfillment and excellence are intimately intertwined. Value fulfillment always implies the search for excellence. Nevertheless, perfection implies a static state of being, where no future growth or achievement is possible. However, if we become perfect in every possible way, we’d be pretty bored for sure.
Seth says that excellence provides us with a quality to seek in ourselves and our lives that can always be improved upon at a pace of our choosing. When we begin to recognize that nature itself is filled with intricate imperfections, we can begin to search for our own imperfections, and seek excellence in how we conduct our lives. Thus, we fulfill our values ever and forever