What Determines the Value of Your Life?
All the prejudicial and racist debate occurring here in America has made me dwell upon the topic of whether or not anyone's life actually matters in the scheme of things. I've asked myself many questions as it concerns how an individual, or group of individuals, could come to a conclusion as to the value of human life. Rather than keep these questions and speculations to myself, I figured I would do my best to bring my thoughts into the public light.
First and foremost, we need to be able to determine what value, life, and the value of life mean; I'm not about to shy away from being judge, jury, and executioner for the topic. So, without further ado, let's dig in and get a little dirty.
All lives matter, plain and simple; but what I want to know is whether or not you'll allow someone besides that life you're judging to dictate the value you place upon it? Are you letting the life you are judging determine its value, or are you forming a judgement without actually measuring that life through its own existence?— Kyler J. Falk
What Are the Definitions of Value and Life?
I'm the type of person who takes comfort in solid concepts; concepts like definitions and observation of natural, physical, emotional, and other sorts of laws that dictate the reality of existence as we know it. As it concerns the definitions of value and life, however, I'm not sure the definitions of these things could be any more abstract, and circumstantial. How does one determine the definition of such colloquially contentious words?
Well, when everyone wants to argue over the value of life I suppose all we can do is opt for the cold and cruel conciseness of literal definition; but you see, I'm conflicting with myself because life is a state of being often argued about when it concerns the forming of said life. Therefor I'm not sure what the definition of life could be, when the literal definition is argued on the legal grounds that, "the potential for life is not the physical definition of life."
Alas, the argument for abortion is relevant here but for the sake of being concise we will just offer something a little less vague:
The definition of life is any living being which can perform any essential functions for, within, and throughout society as a whole.
A much simpler, and less contentious word, value is something that everyone can determine quite easily when it is separated from any other topic. Take for example organized religion; I can't stand organized religion in any way, shape or form. I detest organized religion and place no value on it other than as a tool for evil manipulation, and that is what it is used for more often than not.
However, if I take into consideration the opinions of others, and the value they have found within organized religion as it concerns their own lives; I'm more than willing to say that organized religion is extremely valuable. Yet, I sit here and try to do the same thing as it concerns lives and I reach a strange, insurmountable wall.
If I were to say, objectively, most people do not matter in the scheme of my life emotionally, that is a concept that cannot be argued. Objectively, I emotionally do not place value on the lives of those around me I do not directly interact with. This becomes egregious to my own mind when I look at things objectively from a logical standpoint, because obviously every single person matters and by extension every single life in the world, human or otherwise.
So what is the definition of value? Value is the emotional and logical perceptions of importance placed upon a person, place, or thing by an outside entity or group of entities.
These two previous definitions are highly generalized, and as such I wish to combine them into the topic of discussion. That's what we are all here for, right, determining the value of your life? Yet, speculating this way as many do seems a bit cruel to me despite the necessity of doing so, but I'll keep doing my best.
The value of life is measured by a series of factors both within and throughout life itself, essentially it is the end-all be-all definition of the importance of your life as determined by a majority opinion.
I'd like to explore some influencing factors of the majority opinion, the opinion that regularly devalues life as it claims to be enriching it. Let's start with the hot topic of skin color, somehow, being a valid tool for determining the value of a life.
Does Skin Color Determine Your Life's Worth?
Seeing as it is a hot topic right now, one that has had my value determined as lesser by many individuals because of my skin color, I'd like to start with skin color as a way to determine the value of a life. Let me clarify before I break it down, I don't think skin color is valid to any other topic than discussing the color of skin and the scientific value of genetic differences; but many others seem to believe that skin color dictates the inherent value of someone's life. I can see why someone with inherently racist qualities would place so much value on race, that it could determine whether or not a life actually matters.
You see, we live in a society where controversy and sensationalism are more profitable and popular than honesty and reality itself. Under such circumstances you can get away with devaluing an entire race for your own profit, much like the Black Lives Matter movement does to push its racist agenda. Many individuals I have spoken to recently, all BLM supporters, have told me that it is not possible that I could experience racism as an individual with white skin.
This not only upset me, but scratched that part of my brain where I start to wonder where people connect and disconnect randomly, and without any logical grounds, from reality. To these individuals, I can only assume, my life is of lesser value because of my skin color; and speaking out about racism is only relevant when I do so for anti-black sentiments over any other racist behavior. To press the point a bit more, if my own stories about racism committed against me are of no value, then the black lives I stand up for must be worth more than my own if my voice only matters when standing up for them.
Conversely, let us look at the individuals who are standing up for only the black lives and receiving nothing but racism in return. The many anti-human individuals out there treating all lives as if they don't matter are dictating the worth of all people by their hatred of skin color as a whole. Though skin color isn't any deeper than the surface, people feel that it is okay to determine value and validity by such a shallow concept.
Skin color is a silly, racist, and immature concept to make a focal point for any determination of life's value. If you can't promote all lives, regardless of skin color, then obviously you don't value life very much at all. The government is one of the biggest culprits in devaluing life, not only because of skin color, but strictly for political gain.
Politicians don't have the luxury of seeing reality through people and their actions, they see it through high and low numbers. This necessary disconnect from empathy does not excuse heinous devaluing of human life, especially not when it is used for political and financial gain.— Kyler J. Falk
Can the Government Determine Your Life's Value?
No one in their right mind will sit and argue against the fact that governments regularly, both willingly and as a necessity, devalue human life while also determining whether or not a life matters. That is an important concept to dwell upon, however, that the government can, will, and does determine on a regular basis whether or not, and how much your life actually matters. Doesn't seem fair does it?
I'd say it is actually very fair, and without considering the lack of any real choice but to adhere to some form of government and authority, it is also a valid source of determining whether or not someone's life matters by societal standard. Like we see with protests now and long past, the government will go out of its own way to value those who support it and prove how little life matters if it doesn't cast its support. Does that mean they are always right, though?
This is where the government's opinion thrives or dies, with the majority of those they govern. If the majority does not agree, then like any good long-term power holder would, the government will shift its views in favor of majority opinion. To such a concept I pose this further important question:
If the majority of the people that a government is set to rule over agree that a life does not matter, isn't that the community determining the value of the life and not the government?
Is the Importance of Your Life Measured by Those in Your Immediate Community?
All too often I see people taking part in these silly arguments that divide the entire world on topics that rarely rear their heads, and they do so willingly at the behest of those who hold the power to sway the masses. I can't blame the ones in power for using a tool so readily available, but I can blame those who allow themselves to be made into a tool. That is what I am doing here, casting blame, but also stating that this might actually be one of the most important facets in determining the value of life and whether or not a life matters.
You see, I don't—and probably never will—get the chance to sit down with any of our political leaders and have a meaningful, in-depth conversation about the issues facing the common man they are so far separated from. In fact, I wouldn't want to because they'd just feed me nonsense to protect their own political standing. I can, however, be treated poorly by my immediate community and I regularly choose to open myself up to such treatment.
Take for example my many conversations with BLM supporters about the racism I have suffered, and before even listening to my story they had formed opinions based on the color of my skin. My value, and whether or not my life mattered, is regularly and readily determined by the communities in which I partake willingly. These communities, arguably, have more power in determining my life's value than any other entity in the world.
Aside from racism being directed toward me by self-proclaimed anti-racists, the immediate communities in which I am a part determining my life's value, my visible level of wealth often plays a part in their decision making. So, let's play with the final idea of money determining the value of one's life, whether or not it matters, because I feel like it is the root of most of the world's problems.
There isn't a problem that I've come across in life that wasn't easily solvable by obtaining or spending money, but that won't stop people from trying to devalue that notion with flowery ideas of noble idealism. Fact of the matter is, how much my life matters has more often been determined by my financial generosity than any other factor; and the same goes for those whom society seems to value most.— Kyler J. Falk
Does Money Dictate Life and Its Measurable Importance?
All too often I find myself checking my bank account as it skyrockets and falls like some sort of flat-earther trying to prove the world is flat in a homemade space vessel, and can't help but feel like my life would matter more if I had the power to reach more individuals. Those with money pay companies that exist solely to silence those they disagree with or propel the voices of those who pay them, and often times those of a higher financial standing are viewed as mattering more. I won't argue this fact, they do matter more than me financially, but should my life be measured in financial value?
Societal standard, especially for males, values a man who has intrinsic value. Many of the men who run the world make up for their lack of any redeeming qualities with the ability to pay PR firms for their entire personality, which I'd argue is money dictating how important their life is. Let's take a low blow at the POTUS here, because I think he is a pompous ass, and say he is a great example for money determining your life's value.
If Trump were not the successful businessman he is, able to boast a fortune, I don't think a single person in his life would be associated with him. His friends, business partners, ex wives, current wife, children's marital partners... not a single one would be around in the capacity they are today. Trump has used his money and power to bring all these individuals together, hold them together through the fires of controversy, and if that money were to disappear then, I daresay, his life would not matter as much as it does now.
For an example a little closer to home, let's look at Tekashi 6ix9ine, a rapper widely accused of being a terrible person in every facet of his life but still revered as a saint by many. I'd argue that the only reason this man's life matters is because he has enough money to keep his PR firm working hard at maintaining his relevancy, but if we look at his past he has been accused and convicted of so many heinous acts that the world may be a better place without him. Money, his dastardly shield, is the only thing keeping his life from being deemed valueless, as not mattering in the slightest.
Despite money and all these other factors, I'm still resting easy on the fact that everyone matters, the fact that all lives matter.
On a scale of 1-10, how important would you rate your life to be?
No Matter What, You Matter!
It is a rough world we live in where you can't exist knowing without some level of questioning that you are important, and that you matter simply because you exist as a human being on this rock we call Earth. I'm sad that I even have to think of such topics where I'm made to question whether or not other people's lives matter. I want to live in a world where it is a given that all lives matter regardless of any circumstance that may deem the conclusion otherwise.
Wanting to live in such a world where we are all considered to matter isn't going to change the fact that we are all devalued for unreasonable perceptions, but that doesn't mean I have to be swayed by others. No, I can sit here strong in my opinions and know what it is that's true simply by observing the way I want to be treated in life. How is it I want to be treated, regardless of any misconceptions directed toward my value?
Each and every day I want to wake up and know that the majority of people around me value my existence, my story, and my life. There isn't a time where I want to feel as if I am alone, against a world that is shifting to ideals in favor of evil rather than constructive progress. Yet, I am made to feel the exact way I am battling against.
So today I ask you, wholeheartedly and with a yearning that I've felt for far too long, to support the idea that all lives matter and stand up against the forces that are driving us into divided corners of existence. Skin color, political party, religious idealism, romantic choices, cultural practices... these are all things we can immerse in with one another, and celebrate how much we all matter.
If I could stand on a mountaintop overlooking the world and reach the ears of every human on Earth, I would scream out loud that I love you all and I want you to know that you matter to me.
Won't you be the change that proves your life matters, that all lives matter?