Do you think we need a 'value North Star'?

Do you think we need a ‘value North Star’?

It appears to me that we sapiens need a ‘value North Star’ upon which to fix our voyage. We need a reference point upon which we can focus our attention when trying to determine what of value we can and should do in life.

Religion, or God, serves as the ‘value North Star’ for some people; for others it is nationalism; for others, that fix is to own as much good stuff as possible; to others it is power; for some it is family; and I guess there are many other such ultimate values.

I have tried to examine my inner voices to determine just what my value North Star is and does it need to be changed. I have determined that, by some turn of events, perhaps completely willy-nilly, my value North Star is life on this planet. My guidance for fixing value is ultimately dependent upon its aiding or hindering life on this planet.

I often speculate that human life is a hindrance to maximizing the ‘good life’, of all life, on this planet. I often speculate that if all life on this planet were given a vote in this matter that they would throw sapiens overboard.

What do you think?

Chuck, my “north star” is “the ideal reaction to the void”. Now, I know it doesn’t have a hard cover, you don’t need a library card to access it and it is not written by a dead guy but if you would only click on the link to “The Last Why” in my signature and read for 10 minutes, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t realize the congruence of our views.

Do you not at all believe that humanity is capable of doing justice to life on this planet?


Thanks for the heads up. I have copied your poem and will read it this afternoon. Thanks again. I will reply a little later.

I have seen no evidence that makes me optimistic. Perhaps you have knowledge that I do not have.

Coberst, I was discussing this on another forum a while ago, though in a slightly different context.

I was basically questioning whether people in general find the need, or want, for set goals or noteworthy occurences in their life to work towards. What I mean is, is it more motivational or even just easier to go through life working towards something rather than aimlessly wandering. Almost as if one is breaking up their life into discrete sections of time to get through before moving on to the next.

For example, “I’ve just got to work another month or so before it’s Christmas,” then once Christmas has gone, “Only another six weeks before the family goes away on vacation,” and so on. Though this is a little more short-term in the sense of time and scale than what you’re talking about, I believe it’s a similar kind of thing.

I came to the conclusion that personally I find it easier to think of things in that manner, be it for motivational purposes, or comfort ones if going through a bad time. However, to consider things on the much grander level you’re talking about, I’ve no idea. Trying to think about my whole life at once, and find a guiding force or reason, for want of a better word, seems well out of my mental scope. To sit down and think of things like that seriously would consume far too much time. :laughing:

But then, isn’t the question you’re asking almost the same as “What’s the meaning of life?” Looking for an overriding reasoning for your being or purpose for your life and what you should do with it, and therefor how to lead it? Or have I completely misunderstood what you were saying?

B. D. Brown

B. D. Brown

During the thousand years between the fall of Rome and the seventeenth century the Catholic Church was supreme throughout Europe. Everyone, more or less, had a unified set of values dictated by the Church. This disappeared during the seventeenth century with the Enlightenment. From that period on there was pretty much everyone for him or her self as far as deciding what was right and what was wrong. There was no unifying standard or ideal by which people could evaluate their moral positions.

It seems to me that humans are excellent at developing technology and lousy at developing a moral underpinning that can equal our technology. As a result we are heading into the dustbin of history very rapidly. I have been studying the books by Ernest Becker and it is his opinion and I agree that we need some form of commonly accepted unifying secular ideal about which we can rally. We need badly to restructure our society and to develop a Moral Philosophy that can help us prevent the disaster we are rapidly approaching.

Your own life, for instance, or that of friends and relatives? Do you not consider these worthy of life on this planet?

Jakob, one day last week the scientists ‘running’ the “doomsday clock” moved the hands three minutes, I think, closer to midnight. They now read 2 minutes to midnight. For the first time the scientists factored environmental degradation into the equation. Surely this is not the kind of evidence that makes one optimistic, notwithstanding the value you place on “your own life…or that of friends and relatives”.

Rose-tinted glasses are being donned there coberst, as well as having shades of the nonsense view that religion gave us morality, rather than the actual truth that religions corrupt our ‘natural’ social morality (e.g. make it ok to murder somone as long as they are not of the same faith or have been blasphemous, or just because they might be worshjipping the devil because I’ve got a gullible priest to believe my statement is motivated by goodness rather than jealousy).

I’m pretty certain the Vatican wasn’t running round to every small village throughout Europe and saying to villages ‘today you must repair that bridge, in 3 weeks time you need to marry these two people, in 9 months time Bob and Pete must start to build a boat’.

The normal common man doesn’t need a fairy-tale ‘God’ looking over his shoulder today, or in the past, in order to gather the harvest. I’m sure the need to feed his family was his only motivation.

You seem to have have mixed up morality and the focus of your original post which was drive and motivation.

It would seem to me that it is natural for man to focus on an objective, stemming from our hunting days, but a trait which allowed us to build, foster and acheive civilization.

As I’m sure all sheep would vote to get rid of wolves, all small birds to get rid of hawks, all grass to get rid of cows. Dogs terrorize cats, the fiends, lets get rid of dogs too. You seek an impossible paradise.

Cockroaches would probably vote in our favour though.

I have always thought everyone’s “North Star” would be Truth of cause and effect, which is reality, what else is there? Isn’t the actual North Star that is used in ancient navigation true and fixed without change?

I think that cause and effect works fine for natural sciences but is difficult to apply in matters of morality.

I don’t see any problem with that. The Golden rule comes to mind and it is continually proven through cause and effect.


One problem is that we are reflexive creatures. We do not hold still. We change with each event even while we think about what you said or what I said. Cause and effect is a useful means for determining the future when we deal with patterns. We are reflexive and without pattern.

Of having a ‘value north star’, I would say we all (anything that is aware of itself) automatically has that as a value north star. Being aware, on the most basic level ensures, us asking questions or even going as far as declining to ask questions. As for external to ourselves, I would say we need a unfiying set of principals, however we seemingly wont agree on anything. That of course leads to problems in itself. We have a ‘value north star’ (our awareness) regardless if we need it or want it. Which for me I would view it as being necessary.