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What makes a human being valuable?

jjbelle 5 Oct 29

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Humans have the ability to conceptualize something, and then create it.Conversely, we also have the power to conceptualize how to destroy something, and then bring about its destruction. Simply put, we have the power to create, or destroy. And we seem to be pretty good at both!


If a person adds value to the lives of those around them, makes the world a little bit brighter or better in some way, gives love and lives a life of passion, that's a valuable person.


I'll go with intrinsic. Either all are or none


Individuals have no value in themselves. it is always other people who make someone valuable. The downside of this view is that if others deem you to be without value - for whatever reason - you do not have any value.
What we call self-esteem is a kind of "socio-meter", it measures how much others value ourselves. Artificially inflated self-esteem may serve as a drug with some short-time effect, but on the long run social reality will prevail: if others do not value me, I do not have any value.

That's hogwash... A persons value isn't contigent on others... That's what abusers want their victims to believe...

@Cutiebeauty It raises a seriously important question about the source of value. The only source I know for the intrinsic value of human beings is our Judeo-Christian culture. Then there is the value people put on other people. But if we reject the Judeo-Christian culture, where will we say our intrinsic value lies?

@brentan intrinsic means internal yes? Value comes from within.. People have high self esteem... It comes from self.. Internally... To allow outside forces to determine your individual worth is insanity... Everyone has value in one way or another... Even a newborn... Why is this even questioned?

@Cutiebeauty I’m not at all convinced value comes within. I think people can put a value on themselves but it might not correspond with the general opinion about them.

Why do we even discuss it? I suppose because it’s interesting and we like to swap opinions.

@Cutiebeauty @brentan - - Those who claim that every human being has intrinsic value or has value in itself subscribe - whether they are aware of it or not - to the old Judeo-christian myth of God creating man in His image. Because God created you, because you are His loved child - so the myth goes - you have a special dignity and value whatever other human beings may think about you.

Nothing has any value in itself. Before humans discovered its usefulness gold had no value. Before Christians invented the idea of "we are all God's children" (free people as well as slaves, men as well as women, citizens as well as foreigners....), dignity was awarded only to those who has some value to the community. Intrinsic value is a religious notion.

@Matias for some reason I knew you were going to use some sort of commodity as an example of arbitrary value. Humans are not commodities... Self worth doesn't necessarily have to have its origins in religion. What about those people who are born into an atheist family? What about those in the field of psychology who teach self worth and self esteem. What about self help books that have no religious references?


Self awareness.


valuable to whom?



Whatever value we put into ourselves, and whatever value we take from that and put into others.


Depends what attributes you consider has value is. Empathy, intelligence, physical wealth, health, artistic flare, looks, ability to consume or D) all of the above.


If we look at what humans have done and are doing to this world and to each other then they are only valuable in a destructive sense.


The old idea was that every human was made in the image of God so that every person has a huge intrinsic value. We still have the law to carry through on this notion to some extent by protecting the rights of the human even to the detriment of justice. What makes a human valuable in the modern world? I think it is fair to say it is only the value of an asset - human resources, we might say. And most of us, sadly, are assets of little value. Even university students are ten-a-penny. I think society has reverted to the more crude expression of the survival of the fittest. Secular humanism doesn't seem to have caught up with the change in order to offer a viable substitute value system, or at least one that that society cares about. I think that what makes a human valuable now will be the value that human places on him/herself and enforces it despite the odds.


nra will say ownership and use of a gun... church will say abundance of faith... employment will say lots of education... medical establishment will say not lacking medical insurance... I can continue but you catch my drift.


Empathy and intelligence.


The eye of the beholder? Minute amounts of rare minerals? Water, on Dune. Gall stones when polished?
Companies that harvest organs and tissues get multiple thousands of dollars for human organs; the owner gets nothing, not even a free cremation (why my body goes to research).


Everything human is an invention of our mind either as a single human or a group. Value is arbitrary. We are all clinging to the edge of a void, a great unknowable question with no provable answer. You make a human valuable, I do, they do, we do. Also the same for making a human worthless. Like Trump and the caravan of people seeking aid from a humanitarian crisis down in central america. What will our 5,000 troops do, whats the plan gun them down at the border? Build another concentration camp? Are we going to give them worth? Help them? Or reinforce the idea that so many seem to have in America that they are subhuman, criminal, not worth being called human.

Quarm Level 6 Oct 29, 2018

Well our bodies are like 80% water that came have worth like 80¢ or so.

Except on Dune


Evolution made humans valuable to other humans when it made us a social species. Just the mere presence of another human being can be critical to our survival, in a case where the alternative would be total isolation.

skado Level 8 Oct 29, 2018

Valuable in what way? I'll address "valuable to society":

In principle every human has something unique to contribute to the human experience and at least that is a valuable potential. Some people of course are in practice so toxic or unreliable or chronically cruel and unempathetic that they pull themselves and everyone they have contact with down. Others are more of a low-grade problem in that regard but still represent, in my view, wasted potential. Still others are uneven and compartmentalized, like the guy I saw on an interview program recently who was moved to tears about his involvement in supporting a school in Texas for the disadvantaged, mostly Hispanics, but who was also an avid Trump supporter and supporter of "the wall".

The MVPs (most valuable persons) in my view are those who focus on what they have in common with others rather than on differences, who value kindness and openness and generosity, and make it a priority to constantly improve in those character traits. Who understand that love is not a zero sum game. Who have epistemological humility -- the understanding that they're not always right.

As to inherent worth or value, I think it's a bit like any relationship, you give people a default assumption that they are honest, respectable actors until proven otherwise. Most people are, at least in important ways. You celebrate that and let go of expectations about the rest. But there's always a short list of asshats who deserve to be avoided at all costs.


I think the total value of the chemicals in a human body is about $5.

That's not what my Pharmacist says.

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