Fundamental values are values that we all share, but which many of us take for granted.
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Health is a fundamental value
There’s always someone worse off than oneself.
When I broke my neck, I was placed in the Neurosurgery Ward.
Any other ward and mine would have been the worst injury, garnering extra love and attention!
But in a Neurosurgery Ward, a broken neck was seen as a minor injury, easily treatable.
I was surrounded by people who had traumatic injuries from car and bike accidents, or who had come through major surgery for brain tumours or spine cancer.
Many of these people will never recover sufficiently enough to lead a “normal life”.
It was stark realisation that of how important health is to quality of life.
After leaving hospital, I convalesced by walking on a promenade to regain some degree of fitness.
Fellow walkers would tell me about their aches and pains, and past traumas.
They made clear that this incapacitated them.
Whilst not as extreme as those in hospital, their pain became their priority and reduced their lives.
It’s often the case that it’s not until we lose our health that we realise how fundamental it is to our life.
Fundamental values are taken for granted
Health is one of the foundations on which our lives are built.
So, of course we should value it.
But do we?
It seems to me that there are certain values that we all share, but that many of us take for granted.
Health is one of them.
It’s a core value for some people, for example, doctors, nutritionists and elite sportspeople, to the extent that they construct their goals and lives around it.
Whilst I wouldn’t consider health to be one of my core values, when it was taken from me, my life became more limited.
This is because health is a fundamental value
It is something that we should universally value.
Freedom is another fundamental value
In the “West”, many of us take our freedom for granted.
There are some – for example, Libertarians – for whom it is a core value, but for most of us freedom is assumed.
The Covid 19 pandemic has brought a reduction of our freedom.
For many people, travelling is a goal, whether to experience cultures, the taste of exotic food or the heat of the sun.
The coronavirus has put paid to these dreams, at least temporarily.
And whilst, we hope that freedom will return, we do not know what form it will take.
Connection is a need… and a value?
The epidemic of loneliness caused by the Covid-19 pandemic highlights another thing that we take for granted: connection.
It is a fundamental need and one that we all too often take for granted.
That is until it is taken away from us.
The need for connection is there from birth: a mother’s bond with her child is fundamental to the development of the child’s brain.
The nature of connection changes over our lives, but the need for it remains, because we are social animals.
We no longer need connection to survive, but we do need it to thrive.
Sometimes a brief greeting is enough, at other times something much deeper is desired.
I feel it is a fundamental value, because many of us take it for granted… until it’s not there.
We should give it the respect that is due.
Wealth is a fundamental value
Wealth is another thing many of us take for granted.
When I say wealth, I don’t mean vast amounts of money, I mean the wealth necessary to live our lives and pursue our dreams.
Economic security if you like.
I wrote a blog on how money has value, but is not a value previously.
If we can’t finance our goals, it will be harder to achieve them.
So, wealth is a fundamental value.
The environment should be a shared value
The Covid 19 pandemic, climate change and the many recent natural disasters have also shown how the environment is important to all of us.
Bush fires have cost the lives countless of animals and humans.
Flooding has wreaked havoc at local and national levels.
And yet, Coronavirus has shown that we can be still and become closer to nature.
The quiet streets of major cities have seen wild animals return.
Smog has lifted to reveal the beauty of the sun.
People have walked with nature and grown closer to it.
Perhaps it’s time to stop taking it for granted?
Time becomes a fundamental value
When we are young, we squander time.
It drags when we are bored or unhappy and we wish it would pass faster.
When we are absorbed in the moment, in flow, time flies and we wish we had more of it.
As we age, we begin to see its value.
It’s time to recognise that it’s something that we should value through our lives.
Fundamental values motivate
Covid-19 impinged on our fundamental values globally, taking away freedom, restricting connection, afflicting our health, and reducing wealth and time that we have.
This motivated people, governments and companies to achieve the impossible be introducing not one, but several new vaccines for Coronavirus in record time.
When something impacts our fundamental values, it has the power to motivate at a global scale that is rarely seen.
Other fundamental values?
I’ve listed six fundamental values here: health, freedom, connection, wealth, the environment, and time.
That’s enough for me.
But you might feel differently.
There might be a value that sounds universal to you.
If you feel strongly about it, I’d love to hear from you though the link below.