Can we determine worth at face value?

Bird Droppings July 28, 2010
Can we determine worth at face value?

I try not to miss too many days writing although my timing has been off sort of whenever I get a chance to sit down and write kind of thing. I am going to be working at school all day and then run home feed and water the dog run back to school and take a few pictures of some of the wild flowers around school go to Kroger and then make dinner. It will be a busy day. I have been writing the night before on some occasions and even staying up till one or two in the morning thinking and reading on occasion. Later this week I am hoping to interview a few former students and teachers from the Foxfire program. I need to get some yard work done as well our yard is knee deep after remnants of the tropical storm brought in five or six inches of rain over the past week. Several emails this morning and last night got me thinking. Self esteem is a big issue with teenagers many times; it is about trying to understand that they have value. How do you explain self value to a child?

“A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches, its worth is $300, 000. Your own value is determined also by what you are able to make of yourself.” Source unknown

So often it is hard to tell children that they have worth, we can look at this quote as our worth being a value in dollars and cents as an option and I have had a few youngins I could only see value in that manner over the years. We are raised to see value as a commodity which gives us this sense of how does it equate in dollars. How much is it worth? While symbolic in nature this statement of value really is how so often people in general look at there own value, purely extrinsic.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Warren Buffett

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein

Each morning I wonder as I write thinking about sending out an email that has value rather than be it successful, to borrow from Albert. That one email that someone states it was just what they needed that moment at that time is worth all the adulations of the crowd. During school days I print out a copy to hang on my door and watch students read the notes each day and perhaps walk away with a smile instead of a frown then there is worth, and value to my effort.

“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Value is the most invincible and impalpable of ghosts, and comes and goes unthought of while the visible and dense matter remains as it was.” W. Stanley Jevons

What is a person worth do they have value? As I was thinking, back in the day, as my youngest son will say when referring to most anything past yesterday to other ideas and thoughts on this subject. In a book read many years ago, human life was equated simply as fodder for the pile, fertilizer or organic material to feed the masses, humans were of little or no value in reality, each person was worth only what perpetuated the continuum. Brave New World was a futuristic book and controversial in its time. Watching today’s politics sometimes it seems we are not much more than numbers in the electorate college to be gathered in at that right moment and then set aside till needed in four years. As humans we tend to try and rationalize our existence, our being as we live and breath.
So often we are dissatisfied with what we see and hear and we seek solutions, at least hopefully. As I was thinking and reading this morning this piece came up, so often many people seek solutions religiously.

“My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-worldly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical re-orientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own.” The Dalai Lama

Perhaps in our searching for value within self is in and of itself is the error. Perhaps we should be looking within the puzzle rather than at simply pieces. We should be seeing life as a vast jig saw puzzle and each of us as pieces granted they are intricate delicate pieces but that we interconnect to a vast array of other pieces. Each of those connections more involved than the last. Our value and worth than becomes that point where we recognize each of the facets of our connections. It becomes that each of those in and of themselves have value to us at that point and to the entirety of the whole.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Einstein stated “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” As I think and borrow from Emerson we are also victim to our own perceptions and semantics. Value and or success is it in dollars and cents or is it in the pieces of reality fitting together. As I do so often borrowing again from Emerson, “to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived”. I think as I ponder the various ideas today value and self worth is truly there if one has provided that opportunity for as Emerson states “one life to breath easier”. It is not about solving world issues but that one life or one piece at a time. For in the end with each piece affecting another, the entire picture can and will change.

Late at night, lights dancing in the northern sky
Like the Indian spirits trying to show me how to fly
You can see into the future but it may be a mirage
Like a new car sitting there in your old garage
There’s a place on the prairie where evil and goodness play
Daddy told me all about it but I don’t remember what he said
It might be afternoon and it might be the dead of night
But you’ll know when you see it ’cause it sure is a hell of a sight
Neil Young, Prairie Wind, 2005

I have been a Neil Young fan since 1968 or maybe before that although my musical memory has a hard time prior to that era. Neil Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm in 2005 and was advised to have immediate surgery which may or may not save his life. However without surgery he would most assuredly die. Against family wishes and doctors he took a couple weeks and wrote produced and performed his CD Prairie Wind. He then went in for surgery. He wanted to get one last CD out just in case. On his way to dinner with his family in New York after leaving the hospital the incision on his leg from the catheter ruptured and he nearly bled to death collapsing on the sidewalk. Prairie Wind went on to be a great seller. A recent review of his latest release was very negative. As I was reading and I have not heard this CD so cannot offer an opinion but after nearly forty plus years of adding value to my life in his music and words one not great CD is fine. IN is about the interconnections and how we perceive those that provide value to us. Please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.