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People are valuable. But are certain people more valuable than others? If yes; can we measure this?

Questions I raised when I asked myself this question:
- Do people know what is best for themselves?
- Is there really such a thing as universal worth of a person?
- What, really, are credentials?
- Are people really good and/or bad?
- Are Myers Briggs personality type differences causing me (or you) to believe another person is worth less than me (or you)?
- Is it possible to measure the worth of a person retrospectively?
- Does answering the first question with a yes make me (or you) pretentious?
- Am I going to answer this question by generalizing and placing people into categories and become a statistician; labeling everyone possessing a certain characteristic as less valuable?
- Is it possible to spend "too much" time thinking about questions like these? Less think, more do?
- Breadth of a person or depth of a person?
- Best way to test a person's value is to test their ability to lead?
- A great follower is better than an average leader?
- Why does linguistic ability play such a large role in determining the value of a person? Is it overvalued?
- Does most of society not realize it's answering this question in the affirmative with most of its actions, and by extension raising a lot of unanswered, difficult questions? eg, job interviews, exams, tests, college applications, credit.
- Do xNTP's not realize that the rest of the world doesn't believe that intelligence is the main factor to contribute to a person's worth?
- Is the person reading this going to realize that this is my first TED question?

Please don't bother answering all of the additional questions unless you truly have nothing better to do with your time. :P


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    Apr 10 2012: Well, this is a very intricate question with a very broad variety of aspects to take into consideration. In my personal opinion, you can measure the value of an individual based in the impact of his actions in society. In fact, we do this all the time, people with great impact (at any level -politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, religious), are admired, protected and followed in our society. This meaning that rest of us consciously or unconsciously price them over rest of common people, and this is because of the amount of people their actions can reach. So, the value of a person (speaking not only in the material sense, but also spiritually) can be measured; if in any given circumstance, society should decide who to protect or who to keep alive between someone who's actions impact many people or someone who's actions impact a small amount, the first one would be the only viable choice due to collectivism. The good thing is that we all have the potential to become valuable and therefore a viable choice to society.
    • Apr 10 2012: Yes, it's not something that can be answered in one go. I raised this question thinking perhaps someone may have something very good to add to my chain of thought; something I'm missing. I think this is the only answer that actually understands what I was trying to ask.

      I'll try asking the question again:
      People in recent times have come to the conclusion that racism, sexism, or any form of judging people based on a characteristic not chosen by the people being judged is COMPLETELY WRONG.
      Everyone's happy.
      A few years later, we start to get confused. Society is scared to acknowledge that it is judging people (for very valid reasons) - but it is judging people (not by race/gender/class, but by, for example, testing their "scholastic aptitude" via the SAT and judging their scholastic aptitude by this) - and that's why society is confused.
      It is considered plain wrong to judge people - and even though society does it all the time, we don't like to discuss how we do it. There is nothing wrong with judging people - if I see a teen swear at his parents, and another teen treat their parents with respect, I *will* judge the former as being less valuable to society than the latter. I am not going to spend a month stalking both of the teenagers to make sure my judgement was justified, and I am not going to completely ignore what happened because I'm scared of judging the two teens. If I spend a month stalking both of the teenagers, I'll spend a whole lot of my time worrying about things that don't concern me. If I completely ignore what just happened; I lose part of my humanity - I lose empathy.
      Empathy is more than feeling pity - empathy is also to dislike a person who is doing something you consider hurtful to society - but not an ironclad hate, that never goes away, and not a hidden hate that nobody ever knows about. Rather, an empathetic person would walk up to a member of society doing something the empathetic person does not agree with, and advise said member.
    • Apr 10 2012: ^ I hope whoever reads that gains some insight from it, because I don't really have a conclusion or answer to the question, and most of that is just musing >_
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        Apr 10 2012: I really liked reading through your muses......I think that perhaps your using the word valuable might not be good vocabulary Shariq.

        Look, a long time ago, I read an interview from an author. She had hosted a dinner party for friends. During the dinner party, someone said a racist joke. Immediately, she told the person to leave her home.

        She then said in the interview...."when people show you who they are, believe them".

        In my opinion, it isn't that the person is not valuable......the author "chose" to not be around a racist person. To another racist person, the remark would have elicited a laugh.....but to a person who views everyone alike, the remark showed a lack of love and so she made the person leave.

        I think that we know what we stand for, and then choose to be around people with the same morale, goals, lifestyles as us. Not because they are more or less valuable, but because they make us more comfortable.

        And, of course, members of society who want to cause harm to others have to be dealt with.

        And, I don't lose empathy. I feel saddened when someone chooses to act in a way that has serious repercussions......my desire is for people to notice their bad ways.......but unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we have free will. So, I can only be responsible for MY actions, and words. Isn't that a good thing?

        Here's to you......
        • Apr 11 2012: I used the word "valuable" because I feel that it's the next stage of my argument - certain people (should) have intrinsic value, from the point of view of a government or other seemingly objective entity.

          Remember, I did not ask why a certain person is less valuable than another - I asked why a certain person is more valuable than another. There is a huge difference - one question would appear in court, and the other would appear on TED.

          I'm trying to look at this from the point of view of (as above) a seemingly objective entity, be it a government or corporation.
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        Apr 12 2012: Aah, from the point of view of a government, or corporation.

        Well, since I do not represent a government or corporation...........I politely bow out.

        And, I did not know governments and corporations were objective entities. Hmm
        • Apr 12 2012: "seemingly objective"
          Because I like the idea of a meritocracy :)

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