Where Does Value Reside?

Volume 2, Issue 23

I had the pleasure recently of attending the Summer Board meeting of MASB, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board created by Meg Blair. Top marketing people from some of the largest advertisers met with world leaders in the business of estimating value of companies and their brands, to discuss the linking of marketing with finance. One of the most fascinating aspects of this unusual gathering was the discovery that accounting people are also by training philosophers, mentally athletic in the analysis of what value means in different contexts. This gave me ample stimulus to think again about what value is, and where it actually exists in the world.

To cut to the chase, value is in the heart (feeling core) of the perceiver. It is not in the perceived object that the perceiver associates with this feeling of value. Value is a perception/feeling cluster in consciousness. Consciousness is where value actually lives.

Why care? Because value is what drives us, what makes the world go ‘round. This is not just true under capitalism but in all cultures and conceivable (and inconceivable) economic systems. All action is driven by motivation and all motivation by value. We would have nothing to do — no action we would feel like taking — unless there is something we value that leads to such movement. Everything we do is driven by value — the value perceptions/feelings in our own selves.

This also answers the question of why we should care what consciousness is. If all action is impelled by value, and value resides in consciousness, then everything that we value and do, who we ourselves are, is all about consciousness. For us to not care what consciousness is, is to admit that all of one’s life is meaningless, based on unquestioned (and even incognizant) assumptions that at their essence say: everybody else is just going along with it, who am I to stop and question it, ok I am being a victim of herd mentality but so what, so is everyone else, I can’t do anything about it, so why not just drift along with the mob?

This line of self-reasoning would make sense to a person who places low value on independence of thought, and high value on belonging. That person is at a certain place in their own evolutionary path and those values and the ignoring of the Observer state — which uses consciousness to observe consciousness — are natural to him or her at the time. My only hope is that environmental stimuli will catalyze a creative spark, waking him or her up to a world of new possibilities, a vista of depths to life that make life new again, ripe with value.

We are closer than ever now as a culture to coming to grips with the foundational questions of existence. We see books flying off the eBook servers and shelves about something beyond current materialist science, some even gravitating to the center of the sea of questions, which is consciousness itself. But the near-miss of all of these books in my view is emblemized in one of the best, by Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained. Although evidently deep into the Observer state himself, Dennett is really just still trying to explain what in the material brain is happening that is associated with consciousness. This is typical of the near-miss — itself exciting because it portends that soon we will no longer be missing the point. The point is that what is is this experiential domain — this phenomenological fact that we are consciousness — and matter and energy are merely unproven constructs that we use to label and organize the perceptions we receive within consciousness. Consciousness in fact is the only thing we can empirically prove exists. It is where we perceive and receive value, where our actions begin and perhaps end. To know what consciousness is — is to know what and who we are.

Best to all,

Bill

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