What’s Important

absolute value - Memorial Day

Family, love, service for something greater than yourself? What are your absolute values? What are the most fundamental values?

In this world, there are things that are good, and there are things that are bad. People are always interested in what’s good and what’s bad. What things are good for me? What things are bad for me? Many people live with these questions.

One way many people tend to decide what is good and what is bad is whether we like something or not. We may like our friends, boyfriends, parents, and siblings. And we may like things such as flowers and pets. We may not like taking tests or getting bitten by mosquitoes.

While what we like may be better than what we don’t like, and what is good is better than what is bad, there is something that’s even more important than what’s good. That is absolute value.

When it comes to flowers or friends, even if we didn’t have them, although we would feel their loss, it would not affect our survival. But what would happen if the air just suddenly disappeared? We would die. That’s why air, regardless of whether we like it or not, is important. We have to recognize what’s important.

The earth is important. The sun is important. Our brain is important. Money, prestige, power, health, happiness, and peace are not as important. They all have value, but I believe they are relative values because we can survive without them. They are not more precious than life itself. Relative values are beautiful and good, but they are not things that we absolutely must have. Absolute values are important because our lives depend on them, and they last beyond our mortal life. They are even more important than the sun, the earth, and our brain because they are an aspect of the essential nature of all existence.

Relative values include man-made values. Unlike absolute values, which are natural and unalterable, man-made values are synthetic. They are created by people to run our society and try to tell us what is important. They’re things like diplomas and certifications, cars and cell phones, and marriage and medical systems. Because they are made by human beings, humans can change man-made values. We should change our man-made values when they are at odds with absolute values. If we place our man-made values above absolute values, then things become very uncomfortable.

If our man-made values and environment unalterably damage the natural environment on which our lives depend, then shouldn’t we change them? Regardless of what we like or what we’re used to, let’s make sure the values on which we operate are absolute values.

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