Reflections on Value — the Lens of “What Do I Experience?”

The second lens for seeing agreements in the five primary relationships focuses on “what do I experience?,” highlighting the value in the vibrancy experienced.  This is where human values come to bear.  This is both the human experience and the outcome people seek.  Whether it is the accumulation of things, experiences, or enlightenment, values drive everything people do.  Given its importance and centrality to human experience, I want to unpack the big questions around value, to better see the agreements people make around value, mostly unaware.  With greater awareness could come better agreements.

Through this lens, three very different principles for value appear.  In the inner circle of harmonic vibrancy, people focus on what they have, what they can see, and compensation systems for participation.  In the middle circle, systems emerge around what people can do and the flows of value that can be manifested, focusing on the realization of sustainable value through sustainable relationships.  In the outer circle, people focus on potential, on what they can be, finding forms of illuminant potentiation in value exchange.  What do the three levels of perceived reality show about the dominant principles of exchanging value in each circle?

To get started, I need to clarify a couple of basic concepts about value.  What is value?  How do you know what you value?  How do people agree on this?  How do people manage value exchange pragmatically?  Basically, the study of value addresses three questions.  How much do people value something?  How do they exchange?  And who gets what from the value of the exchange?  In essence, how much of what and how is it divided up?[1]

[1] The historian of economic thought, Alessandro Roncaglia, suggests, “the theory of value adopted by an economist points directly to his or her representation of the world.  By using the debate between rival theories of value as the connecting thread, and observing the shifts that the theory of value (erroneously considered by some reconstructions as an unchanging monolith) undergoes within each approach, we may also grasp the differences and the changes in the conceptual representation of society” (Roncaglia, 2006, p. 17).