the Basica

  There are two ways of looking at the value of a human being. One is to say we create it ourselves, each one of us, out of our own work. In this view, we earn the right to a place amongst humanity by measuring up to societal standards. For example, we can do it by supporting ourselves in either or both of two ways. We can obtain our own means of survival directly by hunting, gathering, growing, and building for ourselves. We can also make the kinds of contributions our society acknowledges as worthy of some kind of payment that gives us the means by which we live. This is accomplished by doing any of the above for others as well as by doing a wide range of other things society wants or needs. By this way of thinking, someone who does not, for any reason, either engage in direct self-support or make a payment earning contribution is a burden to society who has not justified being either granted the rights and privileges or allowed the responsibilities of other members. The only reasons, therefore, for letting such a person remain with society rather than being allowed or caused to die are pity, personal liking on the part of one or more members who have enough clout and resources to make accepting and sustaining the individual possible, and the hope that such an individual might, at least eventually, perform some task the accepted members feel is necessary but that they do not want to either do themselves or openly pay someone else to do. This arrangement brands such people as less than adults at best and dead weight or slaves at worst, grudgingly tolerated even as they may also sometimes be appreciated. It also opens the door for judging relative value of a self-sufficient or income-earning individual based on that person's level of various kinds of power and possessions.

  The other way of viewing a person's value is by looking at the whole of the person - the whole of any person. This includes acknowledging someone's value to Ultimate Divine Spirit, even if that person is valued for reasons human beings do not see. From this perspective, what matters about someone accomplishing a task is not just that it is done but that it is that individual who does it. From a practical standpoint, this may not seem to matter ...until one considers dealing with a coworker with whom no one seems able to get along. The ability to work together must be balanced with the capabilities of each worker. This approach also honors friendship, acquaintanceship, and chance encounters with strangers in any environment, not only the workplace. It even finds worth in hidden or poorly understood contributions, including ones that may be made by those who are disliked or who seem particularly dependent. Trust is given that every person offers something - many things - that may be well beyond the scope of what society formally acknowledges as a member's share and that the loss of each person deprives the whole in a significant way. For this reason, without foolishly wishing immortality for anyone, each individual is wanted while they live. In the event that a means of self-support is somehow not possible or reasonable for someone, whatever aid is necessary must be offered in order for that person to go on. In such cases, death due to neglect or abuse is unacceptable, pity and resentment are not appropriate, debt is not incurred, and no dignity is lost on anyone's part.

  If yours is to be the latter view, in accordance with the statement in the Basican Guide that everyone has an equal and innate worth and purpose, consider: It is obvious that treating yourself well and others harshly shows selfishness and conceit. But to treat others well and yourself harshly reveals a hidden cruelty. In order for someone to trust that you are a genuinely kind and compassionate person, you must demonstrate kindness and compassion towards yourself. If you value others, you must know that you are not less than they, and you must seek to discover your own worth in the whole of who you are. You must learn that those who truly value you do so for all of who you are and not only for your labors or best moments. That not every person holds to this view takes nothing from those who do. You are cherished by those who know you well, a little, and not at all, each for what they actually know of you as well as for what they trust may be within you without their knowing. If you were to be lost, an entire world of humanity would be lost with you: pleasures and pains, joys and sorrows, actualities and potentials, wonders and imperfections. Your life is a gift not only to you but to all of us. You are wanted.

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