Friday, September 16, 2022

It's all temporary

It’s all temporary. The tasks at which we work so hard to complete. The joy and pain of raising our children. The applause we receive for our excellent performances. The heated arguments we have with co-workers. Our successes. Our failures. They're all temporary.

When we feel anxious about day-to-day matters, we should remember that this moment in time will soon be gone. All things come to an end. Humanity; Earth; the Solar System and Milky Way galaxy. These things are all temporary. Even the epoch in which the universe contains stars and planets will one day come to an end.

It is with this in mind that we may be able to perceive daily events in a different light. We have an urge to survive, and we must certainly do our best to correct injustices and live a good life. But viewing all things as temporary may help us recognize more clearly the joy that can be found in small moments that we otherwise might ignore. The smile from a passing stranger. Reading a bedtime story to a child. The warmth of the sun on an upturned face. 

It's all temporary, so take a moment to enjoy the small things. One day they will be gone.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Values opinions

Within institutions there is much talk of values. Companies publish values statements. Churches promote values directly derived from religious texts. And schools construct short definitions of acceptable behavior, which collectively sit under the heading: School Values. But what exactly are these "values"? What is the purpose of a values statement within an organization? 

All societies have laws, many of which we accept as necessary for social cohesion. Occasionally one of those laws is found to be outdated and is modified. Values, on the other hand, seem to sit at a different level. They may be used, perhaps, to generate laws. But they, themselves, are designed to be fixed and unchanging. For example, the Catholic value of the "Sancitiy of Life" will never be abandoned. And it sits at the center of some of our laws. We may not be religious, but we can still accept the value that human life ought to be preserved. Over time, laws are adjusted to suit society's better understanding of itself and what counts as "human life", while still maintaining that life is of the highest value.

Are corporate values the same type of thing? When we see company values listed as: Innovation, The Best People, Customer Commitment, or Personal Accountability, we may find ourselves questioning whether these are universal values or merely opinions about what is good in a certain context. In this way, company values seem to be more like rules that the company values, rather than being values in themselves. If this is true, it is possible that company values may be contrary to true human values - whatever these may be.

We must be careful, therefore, in accepting values statements without analysis. We should ask ourselves where the values came from; what assumptions underpin them; what outcomes they are being used to promote. We may find that some values are not as valuable as they initially sound.