Ideology v. Values

Discourse, futuretalk.co2 Comments

We are trying to deal with what we have unleashed by employing the same means we used to unleash it in the first place. We are looking for new scientific recipes, new ideologies, new control systems, new institutions, new instruments to eliminate the dreadful consequences of our previous recipes, ideologies, control systems, institutions and instruments. We treat the fatal consequences of technology as though they were a technical defect that could be remedied by technology alone. We are looking for an objective way out of the crisis of objectivism.

(Václav Havel speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, February 4, 1992)

The goal of Future Talk is to develop a bridge between feeling discontented with the state of society and concrete action toward improving society. This will not be achieved by creating a comprehensive belief system, but rather by exploring a loose set of values that can provide a basis for action.

The trouble with ideologies is that they give us a way to come up with automatic answers to new situations. That’s also the draw, since most of us don’t have time to analyze every single situation, but they don’t work.

See, ideologies start with a set of values, which then inform conclusions that are frequently repeated and those become codified. As we move from value to ideology, we move from contextual to self-contained. The ideology both frames the state of the world, and offers answers to the imperfections of that world. And since it does both, it is self-legitimizing. Ideology says “we need to do Y, because X is happening” without offering proof of X or exploring options beyond Y. This is overly simplistic. Ideology cannot contain the multitudes of human existence, so it reduces them to a few absolute principles.

But situations change, people are different, and every moral choice is contextual. No ideology can contain the complexity of the human experience. On a long enough timeline, ideologies lose relevance to the world around us and become disconnected from the values that once informed them.

So ideology will not provide the bridge from discontent to action. It can’t. In fact, rigid ideologies are in large part responsible for the problems that are creating our discontent in the first place.

As we move forward, we will look more specifically at existent ideologies and why they fail to address the problems in society. Through that process we will begin to highlight the values that we can use to form the bridge to action.

SorenIdeology v. Values

2 Comments on “Ideology v. Values”

  1. Joanna

    Wow, I’m very impressed with your thinking and your ability to state it clearly and understandably. I’m excited to see what else you have to say! EXCITED! As in, I want to run around the house when I think about it! Well done!

    1. Kalonia

      What Joanna said.. Very impressive..It’s stoking a fire inside.. You have an audience and a person wiling to join you in this discussion.

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