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The Study of Values by Frank Lynch

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The Filipino today, in his attempt to modernize and develop, faced with a two-fold endeavor: to strengthen his national identity and to cope with never-ending changes. Experience has taught us institution, systems, and values copied from Western models do not operate effectively in the Philippines as they do in their original setting. The Filipino himself is at loss because of the impact of several values, something conflicting ones, on his best in him to enable him to take his place with pride in the world of nations. In a course which studies man’s relation with the society, it is important to see how education influences man particularly as regards the moral or spiritual side of his personality. In this regard, it is also useful to redefine the concept of moral values and determine the methods that can be effectively used in fostering sound moral orientation to the social man within the Philippines setting.

Values are the qualities of desirability or undesirability believed to inhere in an idea, object or action. Lynch defined customs as the values, beliefs, behavior and material objects that constitute a people’s way of life. Values are defined culturally as standards by which people assess desirability, goodness and beauty. Some are good for social living. Values are statements about what ought to be. Values also express the goals or purpose of social action. The concept of shared values refers to a consensus of moral, principle and standards of behavior. They are society’s moral imperatives that deal with what ought to be and are therefore considered desirable and important by the members of society. In contrast to social norms, values are general in nature. Values influence a person’s behavior towards a large class of objects or persons although they are not related to that specific object, person or group. They are standards for determining whether something is good and desirable or not and serves as the criteria by which norms themselves are judged. Values also include truth, honesty, and justice. Truth, as a value, commands us an inner commitment that in truth translates into our daily speech and action. Truth is good and desirable; therefore it influences our attitude and behavior.

Value system is a configuration of culture, representing the dominant motivations and basic principles of people’s behavior. In the Philippines, when it comes to achievement and success, the society is highly competitive, and great value is placed on the achievement of power, wealth and prestige. For activity and work, regular disciplined works are highly valued for its own sake: those who do not work are considered lazy and even immoral. In moral orientation, Filipinos tend to be moralist, seeing the world in terms of right and wrong and constantly evaluating the moral behavior of others. Filipinos regard themselves as humanitarian – a kindly, charitable people, always ready to come to the aid of the less fortunate or the underdog. We believe that problems have solutions, and we are an intensely practical people; the ability to “get things done” is widely admired. We always look to the future rather than the past, sharing conviction that things can and should get better; our outlook is fundamentally optimistic.

By means of material comfort, Filipinos value the “group life,” which they define in terms of a high standard of living and the possession of material goods. However, we always claim to believe in human equality, particularly in equality of opportunity; we generally relate to one another in an informal, egalitarian way. The freedom of the individuals is regarded as one of the most important values in Filipino life; we, Filipinos believe devoutly that they are and should remain “free.” Despite our expressed belief in “rugged individualism,” we tend to be conformists and are suspicious of those who are not. We also believe in scientific, rational approach to the world and in the use of applied science to gain mystery over environment. Our form of government is regarded as highly democratic, and believe that every citizen should have right of political participation. To be a responsible, self-respecting individual is very important, and Filipinos are reluctant to give the group priority over the individual. Unfortunately, a strong counter value to that individual personality is the one that places a higher value on some racial ethnic class, or religious groups than on others.

Every culture has its core a basic set of values. These values consist of ultimate end, goals, or purposes of social action. Value orientation represents the social conscience internalized and integrated within individual members of society and ethos which gives culture its unity, form, and identity at any given time and place. Varied forces operate in shaping people’s value orientation. Contemporary Philippine values manifest a “strain for consistency” among values in a Gemeinschaft society and those in Gesselschaft society. Present-day Filipinos are confronted with contradicting values with varying degrees of non-universalism as they search for a national identity. But whatever the present orientation, Filipino values are seen to be moving toward rationalism, nationalism, and universalism.

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