What do you value in life?

What do you value in life?

Ask a thousand people and some version of family, health, education, safety, work, and maybe happiness, are up there on top of the list for everyone. 

The evolutionary biologist knows this already because these values map directly onto fundamentals that apply to all organisms — the blueprint for organic life. 

survival, growth, and reproduction 

Happiness and the many other higher self values that are supposed to be unique to humans are also predictable for an organism that can integrate the basic values into something bigger. 

We can smile when we have the fundamental values met.

What value means

Value when used as a noun to mean one’s judgement of what is important in life is consistent with this evolutionary idea. What is important in life is what gets us to the successful reproduction of our lineage in spite of the drama.

Then we also use value as a verb meaning to estimate the monetary worth or consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial

This too is consistent with the evolutionary imperative. 

Items and actions that are important, beneficial, and financial all matter to how successful we think we are, be that in the evolutionary currency of reproductive success or the more immediate race against the Joneses.

Value as a verb — the expression of an action or a state of being — is to estimate or assign the monetary worth to an object or service or anything with utility. 

It can also mean to rate or scale in usefulness, importance, or general worth.

Either way, value is linked to the modern expression of evolutionary success, namely money.

All this makes the claim by economists that economic theory is value-free quite absurd.

And yet we let such theory run our society.

Why would we run the show on a supposed value-free premise, when in reality we value everything?

Hero image from a photo by Sarah Medina on Unsplash

5 truths about happiness

natureAre you happy? Yes you are. Of course you are and why wouldn’t you be? You have the Internet.

At you fingertips is the portal to salves for all ailments, stimulation of all kinds, and even connection to a million Facebook friends. You have to be happy.

No, you’re not happy you say. Not even among the multitude of online joys?

Perhaps today you are sad, the necessary down day to balance he many ups. Everyone has them. Those days when no amount of downloadable bandwidth can shift the blues — not even a pirated episode of ‘Housewives of Toowoomba’.

And this is as it should be for happiness is transient. It cannot be permanent — not even when the government measures gross domestic happiness, as happens in Bhutan. Feeling sad sometimes is a necessity in our natural volatility of mood and feeling.

Perhaps we have to accept a few home truths about happiness. Here are 5 to start with:

#1 Happiness is transient

It comes to visit but never for too long, but we are fortunate because

#2 Happiness is present everywhere and in almost everything however torrid

Because it resides within us and all we have to do is express it, and yet

#3 Happiness elusive and slippery for most of us

and is smothered by our fear and this means that

#4 Happiness easier to find when you don’t look for it

because what that does is to calm the fear and allow more frequent expression of all emotions, and when all is done we find that

#5 Happiness is not life’s holy grail


Now that is something else altogether.