chapter  Chapter 11
19 Pages

Through the life course

WithChris Steed

This chapter describes a starting point for a theorisation of value as the foundation for human action, not as an aspiration but as a dimension of the human operating system. Perhaps a sense of value in which humans can flourish and do their best work provides a link between self-respect and respect for others that goes beyond self-esteem. “Value-in-oneself” is a nebulous concept, but the results become part of psychodynamic structure and human action. The really interesting aspect of human value is that often there is the anger of indignation in narratives of distress, even where there has been little positive input into someone’s life and the emotional geography is barren. The curious aspect of narratives of distress is the resilience of the human spirit in the face of enormous adversity. The lens of human value discloses to us that the place of possible devaluation is a site of resistance, a site of ambiguity.