Common human values
IN my last editorial, I wrote about rebooting the culture and showed growing beard as an example, which some thought was sarcastic. It is a fact that the new generation does not follow the old traditions and tries to create a new culture different in many ways from what the current old generation upholds.
I guess that is natural when new generations evolve, especially those with many different lifestyles, comfort zones and use of technology in daily life. However, human values do not change with the new generation or a redefined culture. Human values are often defined by all religions.
What are the common values of human beings? Often we say, be kind, be helpful, be nice, be polite, be gentle, etc, etc. What are the common values of our community or society? Are the common values of a community different from that of a society?
Many of us have lived in at least two different countries. Do the common values of the two countries differ? Do the common values differ for the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, religious leaders and political leaders? In the real world, we often see a double standard when it comes to leaders and followers.
The human race began evolving as Homosapiens and Neanderthal about 450,000 years ago. First humans were hunter-gatherers like animals, living in the forest and deserts, travelling - looking for food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Normal human life started about 125,000 years ago when humans started living in a community doing farming and other things together. That is when human values of helping each other and concern for others’ welfare evolved. Later in their curiosity about where and how everything evolved, the human race started talking about a creator which was later defined as God.
The creator was defined as somebody above the human race and therefore expecting the human race to have some discipline in their life. The great Hindu philosophy and the teachings of Lord Krishna, the Ten Commandments that Moses was supposed to have heard from God for the people of Israel fleeing Egypt and the great teachings of Mohammed Nabi were all the avenues of moral values for human life.
All religions spoke on how to live in this world without hurting other human beings, helping each other, without lying and stealing, and being kind etc. Common human values made human life unique even though it was unique in other ways that humans can communicate with each other, and have the brain to think and act.
The human race evolved in the last 3000 years from being a farmer to inventors of tools, builders of boats, manufacturers of several things etc., which allowed them to travel, conquer and be adventurous. During this period, human values were often challenged and redefined. Modern man’s human values were defined more clearly - helping each other, concern for each other, loving and respecting fellow human beings, being caring, being polite, being nice etc.
The first step of modern human development was the formation of countries and kingdoms under a single ruler, who determined the rules and collected taxes. These rulers, kings or autocrats made rules to control the behaviour of people they ruled. They made rules or laws so that there is some discipline in society. Also, they made rules to collect taxes from the people they ruled.
Therefore, human life was restricted by these rules. Some of these rules influenced the values of life. Then the communist and democratic forms of government were established. Communist governments restricted the personal freedom of the people, while democratic governments gave priority to personal freedoms like freedom of expression. The modern democratic governments have a big influence on modern human values.
Another influence on human values is the moral principles defended by society through religious teachings and other normal human concepts of behaviour. These moral values are accepted all over the world, which redefined human values. However, the basic human values of behaviour never changed but were redefined. As we moved through the modern centuries with more scientific discoveries, some of the concepts behind thoughts were questioned.
When it was discovered that the earth is not flat, but round or a globe, many human thoughts and beliefs had to be redefined. When the full solar system was discovered in the 20th century, and later discovered that the solar system is one of the billions of systems in the galaxy, it was later determined that there are billions of galaxies and the universe is growing every day, which showed that human thoughts and values have started changing.
The technological development during the last 40 years moved us to a different living condition where we depend on technology for our everyday activities of life. The 40 years changed the world into a very independent living pattern for everybody - old and young. The millennium generation is totally independent; they can live without any help from the community or society.
Common human values and moral principles are still important for humans to have a happy life. We can see that crimes and murders are increasing because of the easy availability of guns. Incidents of fraud and theft are increasing because of greed, and family life is often rejected because of selfishness. As the world progresses through science and technology, there is a need for a moral rearmament and reestablishment of common human values.