September 26, 2019
Topic: Reconceiving Social Values Distorted by Secondhandedness
Healthy social relationships are firsthanded. They are based on your clarity about your values, including the value of other people to you. The three deep social values are communication, cooperation, and connection.
Communication is the sharing of knowledge. You can learn from others, or teach others , or clarify your own thoughts in discussion with others. This makes growing your knowledge much easier.
Cooperation is joint action to achieve a goal. Two or more people work together and/or trade to achieve shared goals that could not be achieved by one person alone. The great advances of civilization require the division of labor and the explosive growth of knowledge made possible by communication and cooperation.
Connection is the awareness that another person shares your values, and is therefore an ally in this area of your life. A special type of connection is visibility. You gain visibility when the other person sees values in you–the same things that you see as important to you. This gives you a deep sense of connection, plus an objectivity about your own mind.
In all of these cases, the social values have their root in your own judgment of the facts of reality and what matters to you living your life. They are values you act to gain and keep by your own effort. This is what makes them firsthand.
However, social values can be distorted by secondhanded thinking. In secondhanded thinking, you substitute other people’s judgments for your own, or you substitute other people’s actions for your own. This is a very common mistake, which can become automatized in certain areas of your life. This undercuts relationships and leads to misery.
In this class, we will discuss how you unearth secondhanded premises and how you reconceive them in terms of rational social values.
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