Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

Currently at Making Good Mondays

Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Basic American Values

Today on this Fourth of July, 2008, I am posting an article from 38 years ago, taken from Robin M. Williams, Jr., American Society: A Sociological Interpretation 3rd ed. (New York, Knopf, 1970). It offers an interesting comparison with the values we perceive today. To quote:

Basic American Values

Within this diverse American society of many different racial, ethnic, and religious groups with their distinctive set of values exists a common core of mainstream values. Sociologist Robin Williams, after decades of study, has identified fifteen value orientations, the foundation of our beliefs, behaviors, definitions of social goals and life expectations. Some are contradictory -- freedom, individualism, and external conformity; equality and group superiority; nationalism and freedom -- and thus spark divisions among people. Still widely held by powerful groups, these values continue to have enormous impact in shaping our society.

  1. Achievement and Success. Competition oriented, our society places much value on gaining power, prestige and wealth.
  2. Activity and work. We firmly believe in everyone working and we condemn as lazy those who do not work.
  3. Moral orientation. We tend to moralize, seeing the world in absolutes of right and wrong.
  4. Humanitarian mores. Through charitable and crisis aid we lean toward helping the less fortunate and the underdog.
  5. Efficiency and practicality. We seek problem solutions through the quickest and least costly means.
  6. Progress. We think technology can solve all problems and hold an optimistic future outlook.
  7. Material Comfort. We share the American Dream of a high standard of living and owning many material goods.
  8. Equality. We believe in this abstract ideal, relating to each other informally as equals.
  9. Freedom. Individual freedom from domination of others is a highly cherished value.
  10. External conformity. Despite our professed belief in individualism, we join, conform, or go along, suspicious of those who do not.
  11. Science and rationality. We believe through science we can gain mastery over our environment and secure a better life-style.
  12. Nationalism. We think the American way of life is the best, and distrust "un-American" behavior.
  13. Democracy. We believe everyone has the right of political participation, that our government is highly democratic.
  14. Individualism. We emphasize personal rights and responsibilities, giving the individual priority over the group.
  15. Racism and Group-Superiority Themes. We place higher value on some racial, religious, or ethnic groups than others through our attitudes and actions.

I close with this question. What has changed in 38 years, if anything?

My topical post today at South by Southwest and The Reaction is about politics.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.