Thanks for continuing the discussion, and allowing me to be there by
proxy (smiley face). Are we only valuable if we are productive? My
uncle suffered a stroke and spent the last years of his life in a
wheelchair, unable to speak. Yet my aunt treasured his presence and
called him her "silent friend." Are we human "beings" or human
On 6/10/12, Jon Anderson <[address removed]> wrote:
> 6/5/12 questions and discussion
> 1-how might each of us become more productive?3
> 2-will left and right continue to move apart?4
> 3-is gender identity important, if yes, howso?6
> 4-exactly what is it we're teaching in our education system?6
> 5-what are the ramifications of the disintrgration of the family?6
> 6-have we created technology in our own image?2
> 7-why technology?2
> what gives people value [in any given society]?
> Phillip: I've been thinking about our conversations over the last weeks.
> This leads me to wonder about our social security and the elderly -- are old
> folks worth the worth the investment to keep them productive or even alive?
> I felt blue about it. I am elderly.
> Jon: are you of value?
> Phillip: I lead a photo group, I'm helping a child prodigy study. I hope
> these things make me valuable.
> Jim: break it down. Go by societies. If we're on the edge of survival it's
> different. What makes the individuals in any culture valuable are the
> assumptions of that society. If we decide to invest more into the young than
> the old then youth is more valuable. Religion can do this too. I may not
> agree with how religions get to their valuations [the various stories used
> to back up their morality] but the end result is admirable. Constitutions
> and God are important; beyond being only "up to us."
> Steve: in a capitalist society productivity's measured by money.
> Money=value. differs from Jim's human/intrinsic value. All men are created
> equal = equal value? They may conflict. Fairness and productivity are
> needed. As money and power accumulate the balance of fairness can tip.
> Dick: it was "value" that produced the economic mess beginning in 2008. The
> older people among us -- those who were around during FDR times -- were
> largely responsible for the economic success via their social security
> savings. Native Americans learned from their elders. Old age was considered
> inherently valuable in those cultures. Those elders were the maintainers of
> traditions as well.
> John: the economist Keynes was more accurate in his assessment of economic
> values than is the Wall Street Journal.
> Sarah: We've talked a lot so fare about money until Dick mentioned oral
> traditions and ancient cultures. My friend at college is from Indonesia
> where children are expected to care for their elders, potentially
> sacrificing opportunities to achieve economic or career goals made possible
> only by moving away from their elders or even working hard outside their
> homes. Here it's about money more than family. We want to care for our
> families, of course, yet at what point are people not family? At what
> point(s) do we no longer have to care for them?
> Jim: I wanted to talk family. Andrea (her online name is Andrusela) recently
> told us of her life raising her kids as a single mom. How her efforts to be
> economically successful led to her kids being bounced around/not always well
> cared for. The work of motherhood is productive but unpaid. Sarah's
> Indonesian example is how it should be, even though productivity demands
> contradict it. Imperfect solutions lead to bigger problems.
> Sarah: social security benefits iare not on my horizon at this point. I am
> valued after I graduate college. Too often it's my test scores that matter.
> Specialization in work and in education is increasing and one's value to
> American society now depends on it.
> Jim: what makes a person valuable doesn't necessarily make one productive.
> Larry: special needs kids have value; we get a joy from giving to these
> people. It builds character to give to them. We satisfy our need for feeling
> needed by others. Then there are the elderly couples trying to care for each
> other and hurting themselves in the process by doing work they're just too
> old to do. So we do need help from the outside of our lives; help from our
> government, our neighbors.
> David: does life itself have value? Is existence valuable? Do we value the
> life in each other? Then there's the tribe/culture perspective. Warfare
> means lesser regard for life of strangers.
> Jim: is life a beating heart?
> David: it's a whole different question. During America's Revolutionary war
> period, most families here then were farm families. Only the eldest sons
> inherited those farms. The remaining family members were to work on the
> farm. We now are doing doing the Ronald Reagan idea: splinter the family, go
> off on one's own. Nursing homes developed, putting our elders out of sight
> out of mind.
> Jon: Andrea's kids, according to her, did not benefit psychologically from
> her strenuous efforts to work as they grew up. So while she was being
> economically productive she was unable to productive as a mother, perhaps
> leaving children who grew up less capable of themselves being as productive
> as they might have been if they'd had a better mothering experience. This is
> quite the rub!
> Larry: president Johnson signed the welfare bill and unintentionally
> increased the prevalence of unwed mothers in America.
> Steve: backing up; I've had difficulty digesting the conflict Larry
> describes with educating special education students. it takes a lit of
> resources to tailor an education to special kids needs. This is very
> valuable, very productive work I think. But maybe we can't afford it. I
> can't resolve these conflicting realities.
> John: Andrea's example shows the value of the intact family. Mother's work
> is undervalued in our culture. As with Larry's example, we have a lot of
> moral hazard with AFDC.
> Jim: raising kids is more than a one person job. Making sure families have
> enough resources creates problems if it's our government we look to for the
> help. The only real answer is somehow to get the young to think long term.
> Larry: care of the infirm improves and increases our virtues. It makes us
> more humane. Without this priority we end up with a "dog eat dog" culture.
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