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Chameleon In The Mirror. On The Values of Life - Society
Chameleon In The Mirror. On The Values of Life - Society

Video: Chameleon In The Mirror. On The Values of Life - Society

Video: Chameleon In The Mirror. On The Values of Life - Society
Video: Chameleon mirror attack 2023, March

We humans are contradictory creatures. Sometimes our values come into conflict with each other and generate internal tension. Which one will win? And is it possible to win in an internal conflict, in a battle with oneself?

There are so-called "external" values, and there are "internal"

External values

easier to assess: they are obvious and objective. These are money and other material goods, as well as fame, prestige, social status, fashion and trends … They are obvious to other people, to society. Moreover, they are addressed specifically to the outside world: they are aimed at proving something to someone. Change your position in society.

Agree, how can a piece of metal really matter to a person, no matter if it is gold or something else? Only if he, like Scrooge McDuck, likes to swim in gold coins. Remember the heroes of Jack London - gold diggers who found the coveted gold, and then died of hunger and cold with gold nuggets in their pockets. But the possession of the "golden treasury" changes social life, its owner begins to occupy a completely different position in society.

External values are important for our social "I" - that part of the personality that is actively involved in society. They cannot be neglected or denied. But they should not subjugate the whole personality.

Of course, it is important for us what other people think of us. But by adjusting too much to the expectations of others, we lose ourselves. A girl who is too fond of fashion no longer feels what she really likes. As in the joke: "What color is a chameleon when he looks in the mirror?"

Internal values

are not visible, subjective and not measurable. These are spiritual values: honesty, decency, mercy, kindness, friendship, love. The spiritual "I" lives according to these laws. These values are also important to follow, but not excessively. Otherwise, you can reach enlightenment ahead of time and dissolve in the vastness of the Universe. But seriously, excessive adherence to internal values leads to social maladjustment.

Take, for example, the value of “honesty,” which is certainly important. Now imagine a person who has become completely honest and sincere. And he always says what he thinks. This plot, by the way, is sometimes used in comedies - precisely because the consequences will be comic … and sad.

- You have a terrible hairstyle …

- You got very fat during the vacation …

- But I'm not happy to see you at all …

An overly honest person from the point of view of society … boor!

It is important to find a balance between external and internal values: after all, we live both social and spiritual lives. The social "I" and the spiritual "I" need to learn to negotiate with each other. But this does not always work out. Sometimes an insoluble contradiction arises between them, and it is important to make the right choice. Yes, it is important to share the values of society, but at the same time not to lose yourself.

Not only people are changing, society is changing too. And gradually in our society there is a shift from internal values to external ones. Openly narcissistic, external values are encouraged: career, fame, prestige, fame.

Chameleon in the mirror. On the values of life
Chameleon in the mirror. On the values of life

When a mutually exclusive choice arises in life, it has to be made, no matter how difficult it may be. Moreover, it is impossible to postpone it indefinitely.


In the films Showgirls (USA, 1995) and Plato (Russia, 2008), the main characters have a conflict of external and internal values. When making a choice, they make diametrically opposite decisions.

The hero of Pavel Volya in the film "Plato" is an elite pimp who faces a choice: to get money or keep love. He chooses the former, although he later regrets it. Realizes that neither money nor power can compensate for the loss of true love.

Showgirls' heroine, Nomi, comes to Las Vegas and makes a career as a dancer. But her friend gets into trouble: the singer from the show is brutally abusing her. And Nomi has a choice: to seek justice and lose a place on the show, or stay a star and betray her friend. She chooses the first.

We offer you a psychological exercise on "hierarchization of values":
  • Write a list: what is most important to you in life? You can write whatever you want: the items "health of loved ones" and "mountain bike" can be mixed. Write until you run out of inspiration.
  • Now re-read the resulting list and select the ten most important points for you.
  • Rank them according to their importance to you: what comes first, second, etc.
  • Each of the points refers to either external values ("mountain bike") or internal ("health of loved ones"). Make appropriate notes.
  • What type of values prevails on your list, external or internal? Which of them occupy the "top" places in your "hit parade"?

Ideally, there should be a balance between external and internal values. Signs of its violation:

  1. In terms of quantity, one type of value clearly prevails.
  2. And (or) he is assigned the leading places in your list.

Think about it: why did this happen? What caused the imbalance? Messages from childhood (“Don't be such a dreamer”, “Don't be so down to earth”)? Stereotypes ("Money is evil", "Money rules the world")? Your own experience?.. What price do you pay then, how does this value system affect your life? Try to restore balance: to regain values of the opposite type, already consciously. For example, someone needs to learn to put family first, sometimes not work. And for someone - to get out of the small world of the family and start self-realization.



This system of values, in my opinion, is a laconic, easily understandable version of the classical hierarchy, or "pyramid of needs", by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow. Remember? To realize the highest spiritual ideals, a person must first satisfy the lowest, basic, elementary needs, primarily physiological - hunger, sexual desire, then - the need for a "roof over his head", through success and self-respect to come to spiritual self-knowledge and creative disclosure. In this case, it is not so much about the struggle or balance of needs, but about their consistent satisfaction. For the reader who is interested in the article, I would recommend further referring to the works of the American psychologist, especially since the "game technique" described by him also, of course, leads to the main life "gain" - finding oneself.

Igor Yurov,

psychiatrist, psychotherapist, psychologist-psychoanalyst, candidate of medical sciences, associate professor of the Tver State Medical Academy

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