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April 2, 2017 / Congau

Challenging Social Values

In your search for truth, the beliefs and values of society must be challenged. It is highly unlikely that the society where you happened to be born is right about all things. You should ask yourself if the value system that you have is really your own or a mere copy of what has been imposed on you. You should challenge it and ask questions for an unexamined life is not worth living, says Socrates.

But be careful if you think you have found your truth. Your fellow citizens may not want to know it.

People live their habits and that is what they want. Because they are used to it, it is comfortable and therefore they prefer to keep it. Anything that we want is valuable to us, so our habits are values. But some habits are evidently bad. They cause injury and that of course we don’t want. We feel like keeping them and wish to get rid of them at the same time. They are values, but they are not values, and those are the kinds that you may be justified in fighting.

But let people keep their harmless little values, some of their false beliefs and illusions. It makes them happier than crude reality can do. An old racist who lives in some remote corner and has hardly ever seen a dark face, might as well keep his prejudiced world view if he does no harm. Educating the public only makes sense for those who are capable of receiving education, and the pain that will be the result of losing one’s safe deceptions must also be taken into account.

However, for the person who is honest in his pursuit of the truth, lies are also painful and therefore challenging social illusions is important for the purpose of self-education. Being a prophet for people who don’t want to listen is a waste and a nuisance and fighting wind mills has never enlightened anyone. Do examine your life and preconceived social values, but know when to keep it to yourself.

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