It seems to me, almost anything can be assigned a value, in fact, that is one of the basis of the market system, but we often assign value inappropriately. There are some thing that have incalculable value. Value is often based on scarcity, sometimes on utility and occasionally on vanity, but to have incalculable value is to transcend all other considerations. When we don’t understand value, we often destroy that which has incalculable value, for something with temporal value. How much of a loss is it to loose that which has incalculable value to get something of temporary value? The loss is magnified by the ignorance, because the loss comes directly from our hearts and souls. So many people diminish their lives, harden their hearts and darken their souls by misallocating value, that I thought it time to write about it, to help improve the lot of Mankind.
Intrinsic value is hard to come to grips with. A thing is often said to have intrinsic value if it is widely desired, like gold, diamonds, platinum or other pretty bobbles. The lust in men’s hearts for gold is often used to argue gold has intrinsic value. But does gold really have intrinsic value? It has utility as a metal for it’s conductance, luster, durability, malleability and resistance to corrosion, gold can be a store of value protecting us from devaluing fiat currencies, moreover, gold and gems are scarce. Sadly, the thirst for gold has driven men to kill each other with the blood lust of a cuckold, but do those attributes give gold intrinsic value? No, the value in gold, precious gems, art and other pretty things that touch the heart with lust, is simply vanity.
Water and air are perhaps the most utile things we know of. There is not one among us who could live five minutes without air and our bodies would die without water in less than two days. Therefore we can say that water and air have utility and are valued for that utility. But water and air are usually plentiful and being commonly obtainable they have little value due to scarcity. Make them scarce however, and a drowning man will give all the gold in the world for a breath, drop a woman in the desert without water and within a day, there is not a thing she would not exchange for a sip. The value of those things we need to live, are based on utility and scarcity, but don’t have incalculable value.
The value of a car is it’s ability to carry us from place to place, the value of money is it’s ability to be traded for those things we desire and need, while the value of furniture is in it’s ability to give us a place to set down. Our televisions have utility in their ability to inform us, divert us and entertain us, but there is no intrinsic value to furniture, televisions or cars. We value them and consider them precious, but in the end, they can be replaced. Too many of us value our things as if they had intrinsic value instead of for their utility. When we do, we often ignore or devalue that which has incalculable value, to our great loss.
Things have temporal value, in that their value is temporary and based on their utility, scarcity or our vanity, but only a being can have incalculable value. A being that loves us unconditionally like a dog or cat, a child that looks up to us with adoring eyes, the person who completes us, the mother or father who would gladly lay down and die for us, and the friend who will drop what he or she is doing and help us in our time of need… all have incalculable value. That value is not based on utility, the dog may make us feel good, and that is a form of utility, but the value of a dog far exceeds it’s utility. Our parents lives are temporary, since they are not immortal their value could be said to be based on scarcity, but to do that would be as soulless as a rock. Our children are an extension of us, but to value them as such is to base their value on vanity. The value of those who we love is never based on scarcity, utility or vanity, the value of our loved ones is always incalculable because they are irreplaceable and permanent.
It is in loosing sight of that with incalculable value by holding precious that which is temporal we diminish ourselves. What good is it to gain the world and loose one’s soul? What benefit is it to us to so value a car that we alienate someone with incalculable value over a scratch? To what end do we send someone’s child to die in a war over an insult, land, power or prestige? We loose that which has incalculable value for something with mere temporal value. What do we gain if we loose that which has incalculable value for that which has mere temporal value? To value scarcity, utility or vanity over the sacred, is to be unwise in the most profound way.