Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme
Subject: General Studies (Paper 4 - Ethics, Integrity, and
Topic: Human Values
“ The value concept is able
to unify the apparently diverse interests of all the sciences concerned with
Values are beliefs. But they are beliefs tied
inextricably to emotion, not objective, cold ideas.
Values are a motivational construct. They refer to
the desirable goals people strive to attain.
Values transcend specific actions and situations.
They are abstract goals. The abstract nature of values distinguishes them
from concepts like norms and attitudes, which usually refer to specific
actions, objects, or situations.
Values guide the selection or evaluation of
actions, policies, people, and events. That is, values serve as standards or
Values are ordered by importance relative to one another.
People’s values form an ordered system of value priorities that characterize
them as individuals. This hierarchical feature of values also distinguishes
them from norms and attitudes.
How situation Influences Value Priorities:
People adapt their values to their life circumstances. They
upgrade the importance they attribute to values they can readily attain and
downgrade the importance of values whose pursuit is blocked... Schwartz
People’s age, education, gender, and other characteristics
largely determine the life circumstances to which they are exposed. These
include their socialization and learning experiences, the social roles they
play, the expectations and sanctions they encounter, and the abilities they
develop. Thus, differences in background characteristics represent differences
in the life circumstances that affect value priorities.
The humanities explore what it means to be human. As such,
they are a progressive study which looks at our past historical, artistic and
intellectual pursuits. In a concrete sense, they represent the most significant
stretching of the boundaries of the human condition. Within the recognized canon
of our civilization, study of the humanities help us to consciously, whether
symbolic or literal, observe the trials and triumph of humanity. This semester,
I have learned that the humanities as a form of knowledge endorses an
unrestricted approach to how we view ourselves and what we have done and have
the potential to do. It is a revolutionary form of knowledge that is unafraid to
grapple with the established guard. Whether through magnifying our society’s
flaws and projecting a possible future like 1984, examining “The shock of the
new” of modern industrial, and subsequently artistic revolution. or holding a
microscope up to the behemoth of religious faith as does Sam Harris, the
humanities are conscious, constructively critical, and daring amidst mainstream
complacency. As such, to say thal these texts singularly and wholly represent
the span of knowledge of the humanities would be false. The humanities, even
amidst an established canon of fodder, continually evolve.
They represent our great self-awareness despite the dance of
me daily routine. I have learned that for every established historical string of
concrete events or established theory, there is school of diought which counters
with the current states of things. This is not done for its own sake, but to
challenge purpose as we define it, and to break down what may be holding us back
from exploring fresh and more epic things. Looking at “The Saturated Self or
“Habits of The Heart,” shows us dial “seir and the nature of being in itself is
worthy of much reflection. I have learned that, evidently, the humanities as a
form of knowledge, is men me most important and consistently relevant form of
knowledge, in mat it explores the individual, and the scope of me world in
which, as many individuals, have constructed.
Modern art and literature reflects an ever growing
consciousness of the human condition. Physically, it illustrates creation as a
reaction to the state of society. Because of this. reviewing a culture’s art and
literature is often most indicative of the broad spectrum of its ideas. In the
midst of modernity, our literature constant state of flux, though initially
weighted in the past, and that, however advanced we are as a civilization, it is
easier for us to observe our flaws and overall presence in hindsight. While we
are able to reflect upon and dissect the nature of our society, it is a gradual
process to abolish the overgrown missteps made prior. Our art and literature is
no longer simply about representing our existence at face value. It becomes a
The Human condition comes with it certain questions and
issues inherent to existence, I feel. We will always be in search of something
greater titan ourselves, either through religious study, existential reflection,
or general pursuit of knowledge dirough achievement. We are always looking for a
broad connection of concepts in order to define our world, and more so, how we
fit into the scope of it. Modernity, or post modernity does offer new
challenges, however, in that we are confronted with not only organic issues of
the “Why are we here?” variety, but now faced with coping with the state of our
own expansion, in both order and thinking. Thanks to our own technological and
scientific advancements, we are left widi an entirely new set of questions.
While we as humans are driven to create and problem solve,
what happens when it appears we have diffused our surface issues? We are still
faced with strong opposition from our fellow man when new ideas are introduced.
In medical science, stem cell research, artificial insemination, and cloning are
possibilities which gamer friction, and while immediately helpful to some, raise
many philosophical and moral issues. In modern technology, from the industrial
revolution, to the proliferation of computers with artificial intelligence,
there is good and bad. While technology helps us in speed and efficiency, it has
led to the building of motorized weapons which we have used to kill one another.
More recently, the use of robotics has assisted in surgical precision, but, in
the case of artificial intelligence, what does it say about us if we are able to
build an android with comparable intelligence to that of a human? While it is
impressive and may assist us in tasks, does it truly add to our experience, or
rather devalue us?
These are just a few examples of why I feel in the post
modern age increasingly faced with more complex issues. We are left not only
consciously thinking about what it means to be human and how we can get the most
out of experience, but contending with ages of advancement, as well as the
documentation of past catastrophe previously unknown. We must remain aware that,
in base desires we are not vastly different than those in the past.
Human values are the need of hour in this world. Truth, Right
conduct love, peace, non-violence are basics for a golden age of the planet
earth. All religions come under this basic foundation.
Each of the ten basic values can be characterized by
describing its central motivational goal:
Self-Direction. Independent thought and action; choosing,
Stimulation. Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life.
Hedonism. Pleasure and sensuous gratification for
Achievement. Personal success through demonstrating
competence according to social standards.
Power. Social status and prestige, control or dominance
over people and resources.
Security. Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of
relationships, and of self.
Conformity. Restraint of actions, inclinations, and
impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or
Tradition. Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the
customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide the self.
Benevolence. Preserving and enhancing the welfare of
those with whom one is in frequent personal contact.
Universalism. Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and
protection for the welfare of all people and for nature.
We have enough scriptures, codes of conduct, etc. as to how
to lead life, but it seems we loose ourselves in mere intellectual
lexicalization and fail to understand the sublimate stuff. As Sri Sathya Sai
Baba says, these human values can never be got from outside i.e. from books,
shops, etc. but are something inherent in us. Some techniques, as given by Him
are really helpful in adhering to these human values. The first thing is: Follow
your Conscience. This Conscience is something wonderful which all of us possess
and the most precious gift that one can have from God and it is the one often
being discarded. The difference between a thief and one who is not is that while
the thief knows theft is bad, yet unable to obey his Conscience, the non-stealer
implicitly obeys his Conscience. A very simple example to show where the root of
our value system is. And this our Conscience is often clouded by limitless
desires. It is often our experience that when we long stop listening to
Conscience, it will stop speaking to us.