ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Are You Important?

Updated on November 22, 2019
Bibowen profile image

Bill has advanced degrees in education and political science. He has been a political science teacher for over 25 years.

Your value as a person has nothing to do with your sense of self. You are either valuable or you're not.
Your value as a person has nothing to do with your sense of self. You are either valuable or you're not. | Source

The Big Question

Are You Important?

I know this sounds like a squishy question, but it isn’t. I’m not Dr. Feelgood and this isn’t a session to pump your self-esteem. I didn’t ask you “Do you feel important”? I’m asking a question of fact: Why are you important?

So, do you have value? Does it matter that you exist? Does your life matter even if you never accomplish something great?

You’re probably expecting me to say “yes” to all those questions, and you’re right: I’m going to say “yes” to all of them. But if it’s true that your life matters and that you have value, it does not matter what I say. After all, if I say “Yes, you have value,” it’s just an opinion. If more people also say, “Yes, you have value,” we are only adding voices to the choir. But the reality is that your value isn't dependent upon how many people think you're important. It has nothing to do with opinion, not even yours.

What I am saying is that “Yes, you have value even if no one affirms it, even if no one recognizes it.”

Quality, Not Quantity

We are close to losing this sense of value. To be frank, the kind of value that I am affirming isn’t understood in the world of abortion. A cultural understanding has grown up that affirms the value of the mother, but the fetus only has value if the mother wants the infant; if the mother does not want her, she is discarded. In this sad situation, value is ascribed based on the subjective desire of one person for another.

But the value that I'm affirming has nothing to do with the value ascribed by mothers to children, children to parents, or employers to employees. The human value I'm affirming is transcendent and spiritual in character. In this way of thinking about it, abortion is not just about the discarding of biological tissue; it is murder because the value of the infant is not ascribed by persons. Rather, her value was ascribed to her by her Creator, that is, her value was a deliverance of God. To put it in perspective, her broken and discarded little form was just as valuable as a Winston Churchill or a Bill Gates. Her value was not dependent on accomplishment or position or how many people recognized her or how long she lived. She had value and possessed uniqueness because her existence was an act of the living God.

Spiritual or transcendent value must be at the foundation of any ethical system having to do with how we treat others. Otherwise, people are just means to an end.

Sure, some people are more important to us living a better life than others; I'm not setting aside the outstanding contributions of great people. However, we must remember that my subjective sense of who’s important and who's not doesn't imprint upon them their value as persons.

Some people have been good in life; some have been bad. But human value has nothing to do with either.
Some people have been good in life; some have been bad. But human value has nothing to do with either. | Source

Equals and Unequals

People have value and that value is different from animals and other material objects. We may ascribe value to our pets or raise the value of certain animals because they are on the Endangered Species List. Animals and pets have value only to the degree that we feel they do. And my feelings are real, but the reality of my feelings doesn’t alter the value of animals and things.

Yes, we value animals and things, but it is a social problem if this is the limit of our sense of value. Otherwise, we live in a world where men discard women when they have sated their sexual desire, or women have discarded a fetus like an old pair of shoes, or both men and women treat their animals better than they treat their neighbor. I’ve heard people brag that they would save their pet before they would save another person.

There is a fundamental rule in ethics:

It is wrong to treat equals as unequals or to treat unequals as equals.

As for the first part, most of us affirm this because much of our society has a contempt for slavery or racism and that is founded on good ethical reasoning. In both situations, people are not being treated equally, but should be. This is also why we should be repulsed at abortion.

However, the reverse is also true: it is wrong to treat unequals as equals. It is wrong to equate the life of a person with that of an animal. A person who would sacrifice a human life, but spare an animal is depraved and should not be trusted.

I used to have a border collie, but I had to put her down when she became dangerous to small children. When the doctor put her to sleep I can still remember hugging her and sobbing like I rarely have as an adult. For months afterwards, when people would bring up my dog, I would say “I just can’t talk about it.” And I really couldn’t because I felt so wretched and emotionally distraught within.

So, the dog was important to me and the end of her life was a heart-felt emotional trauma that endured for months. But her value wasn’t intrinsic; it was subjective. That collie’s only value was the value that I and others ascribed to her.

To put it another way. If there were a fire, and your daughter and my border collie were in room engulfed in flames, and if I only had one being to save, I would save your daughter that I don’t know and allow by border collie which I love to die in the fire.

Why?

Because it’s right to save your daughter and allow my animal to die. That is, to treat unequals as unequals.

If I went on my feelings, I would have saved my collie and would have allowed your daughter to die in the fire. But I can’t do that and remain ethical. Treating unequals as equals is a social perversion. The person who is a self-styled nihilist, libertarian, existentialist, utilitarian, or postmodernist cannot possibly relate to what I have said because, at some level, their idea of human worth is predicated on the actions of persons and their subjective relationship to them.

In Conclusion...

In conclusion, your value has nothing to do with whether I or others think you're valuable. Value is not determined by the amount of physical or mental power you have. Human worth isn’t determined by how long you live. In fact, your value isn’t’ dependent on how valuable you think you are. Not only does your value have little to do with your feelings; it really has nothing to do with your feelings. You could read every self-esteem book and it would do nothing to change your actual value because value isn’t something that we gin up from within.

So, are you important? Yes, because that is your common heritage with humankind. You value and your rights are the deliverances of your Creator. And if God exists and has created you, then your life has value and it has purpose that is independent of how people see you or how you feel about yourself.

© 2019 William R Bowen Jr

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)