Virtues and values, another view
The Virtues Project and Values in Action are fascinating. In my own bible however, the values are the goal, virtues are the action.
I have always been fascinated by the human body, the brain especially. I studied growth and development from conception to adulthood, brain function and dysfunction, and how humans have interacted over our known history.Although there are many things about Ayn Rand's writings I disagree with, her concept of values being that which 'we act to gain or keep' seems more appropriate than the way the virtues list is presented. My bible has a list of values that I consider essential for our highest individual development. In Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs, achieving the top of the pyramid, self-actualization. My position is the values are the goal which we achieve through appropriate actions described by virtues. While the official definitions are not crystal clear, I had phenomenal teachers as a very young child. My paternal grandmother came to live with us when I was 4. Known as 'the walking dictionary', Grandma C forced us to know the definitions of words and our Mom, a writer, was thesaurus oriented. Value in this sense is a noun to me. Virtues are used as verbs. Having spent a lot of time on the differences of the two sides of the brain, I made the values the center of a chart. On one side is the left brain action/virtue associated with gaining and keeping the value. The other side is the right brain action/virtue. Next to those are the left brain errors and right brain omissions that prevent or are substituted for practicing the virtues. Those are the two forms of malfeasance that are often the foundation of laws against bad behavior. The right brain is more likely to simply omit an action, and the left to plan an action that is wrong or inappropriate. In religious terms, these would be 'sins', which has too many negative associations.One of the things I like about this is it can bring to mind the full action needed to do right - maintaining balance. One possibility is that the individual did act on one virtue but not the other. In what ever way we might address the situation, friend, supervisor or subordinate, it always helps to positively reinforce appropriate action. It also helps with deciding if there is another or different value that needs action.All that said, it is a work in progress. Virginia Cotts RN BSN
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