This person is worth a million bucks; but that person over there is only worth one thousand. Placing a monetary value on human life sounds ludicrous. But value is given to both; just exchanged on different markets. We evaluate worth using comparative judgments. “This is good because it is better than that.” When we assign value, we are making a value judgement. Determining value for a bushel of corn or an hour of skilled labor may be effective; but comparisons fail when measuring personal-worth. People possess too many variables, valuation changes with the ever-changing complexity of criteria. But many remain perfectly comfortable saying, “He’s good; and she’s bad.”
How do we determine a person’s worth? And who is capable of making these narrowminded value judgments? We must intercept the ill-informed judgments while they are still in our thoughts before they escape our mouths and harm others, revealing our toxic biased thinking.
“The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred.”~Soichiro Honda
No one is more valuable than anyone else. We all simply exist. We live, breathe, feel pain, and feel joy. Essentially, we all just exist. Is my joy more important than someone else’s joy? Does my pain hurt more than their pain? Naturally, I feel my own pain and joy more intensely than I feel the pain and joy of others. However, they also feel their experiences more strongly than they could ever feel mine. The experience, whether it’s mine or yours, doesn’t make it any less important. How do we make a values judgement on something we are ill informed to make?
“We judge and place an abstract, personal value on other people and things.”~Kevin Mangelschots | Healthy Body at Home
By freeing ourselves from determining human value through ignorant values judgements, we clean the lens, opening up for a more diverse experience. Our defenses fade. With clearer vision, we are more likely to catch ourselves before dismissing the importance of another person’s suffering.
Excusing Lack of Empathy By Harshly Judging a Person’s Worth
We often show a propensity to excuse lack of empathy by pointing to an external cause; they have a skinned knee because they ran too fast. A mentality we use to create separation, distancing ourselves from their suffering. The wealthy disregard the struggles of the low income by citing they are lazy; the misfortunate disregard the destitute because they use drugs. The religious dismiss the unrighteous, and the unrighteous dismiss the self-righteous.
Everyone dividing and dismissing; it makes me sick (yes, I realize the irony, as I divide the empathetic from the judgmental in this sentence).
“The human brain processes the experience of empathy – the ability to understand another person’s pain – in a similar way to the experience of physical pain.”~Rebecca S. Dewey | The Conversation
Pain is Pain
Just because there is a cause, we shouldn’t devalue the suffering—the pain is still poignantly felt no matter our race, economic status, or the effectiveness of our choices. Pain is still pain.
These are habits of thought; but injected with mindfulness, we can catch and modify, expanding compassion towards humanity instead of a select few within our own limiting groups. By not justifying our devaluations of worth, we become connected—not divided. Something we desperately need in this world. We become part of the universe together.
“Just because there is a cause, we shouldn’t devalue the suffering—the pain is still poignantly felt no matter our race, economic status, or the effectiveness of our choices.”~T. Franklin Murphy
Relationships, politics, and societies expand with a more inclusive purpose. I fear we are moving in the wrong direction, more divisive, more unaccepting, and more punitive. The foundation of compassion and empathy emerges from inclusion. We are connected. If the world is to change, we must cheer for others in their successes and embrace them in their failures. We are all priceless, of great value.