Valuism firmly rejects the use of consequentialism for ethical decisions. Insofar as we want our prudential decisions to be resting on an ethical foundation, valuism requires our prudential analyses to be preceded by the discovery, appreciation and communication of the foundation on which further consequential inquiry shall rest. We emphasize the testing of the quality of that foundation before testing the quality of the structures we build on it.
The question we want to gift to the world is this - how might we make consequential decisions that do not contradict our deepest values?
Our Value Foundation
In the diagram below, we share our value foundation using the notation of Value Diagrams.
Clarity is an important prudential value for us so we may see things as they are, which is what we mean by truth. Only when we see things as they are can we go toward our intrinsic values – freedom and compassion. Freedom is the reason we don’t like our left hand tied to our right hand around our back. Compassion is about not wanting other people’s left hands tied to their right hands behind their backs. Only when we have experienced our own freedom can we develop genuine compassion. Compassion is also an intrinsic value for us – it is the driving force behind our existence, to help everyone awaken to freedom.
Many scholars have written about freedom, but the one that truly expresses our ideas behind it are those of the poet Tagore, “When Freedom is not an inner idea which imparts strength to our activities and breadth to our creations, when it is merely a thing of external circumstance, it is like an open space to one blindfolded.” Freedom, to us, is an inner idea, and valuism has value insofar as it helps us communicate the value of freedom to an individual, without lecturing or hectoring, but by inspiring deep introspection. We believe that if we were to deeply introspect, we’d find that we are all struggling toward freedom in our own unique ways.
Freedom without compassion gives us little reason to live and serve. It is the intrinsic value of compassion that holds us in society, and gives life to our endeavors. However, the compassion we are after must be distinguished from “idiot compassion,” or that which only feeds our ego and helps no one. In order to develop genuine compassion, we must see things as they truly are, and come from a space of freedom instead of desperation.
Our aim is to explore the values of freedom and compassion in two aspects of life – organizational and social decisions.