4 'Hinge' Personal Values & Virtues

Manila Bulletin, October 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

4 'Hinge' Personal Values & Virtues


Traditionally, only four values and virtues have been considered as fundamental and cardinal, around which all the other personal values and virtues rivet and turn. These four virtues are like the hinge of the door that leads to a fully virtuous life. Any center for governance and leadership should consider these four personal values, therefore, as vital and necessary components of the personal values program it installs and sustains.The first is the “mother” of all personal values. It is what makes us whole as an individual person. And by keeping us whole, it gives us the moral strength to observe and practice the other values and virtues. It is that basic, and it is referred to as “integrity,” or more traditionally as “prudence.” It is not difficult to see why integrity is at the base of all the other values; it gives “form” to them. It is the consistency between our ideals and our actions, between our principles and our decisions, between our idealistic convictions and what we actually and really say and do. It makes us true to our ideals, principles, and convictions. In us, by our actions and decisions, and by what we actually say and do in our life and in our work, they became real and genuine. With integrity, we can move on and do many other good deeds; without it, we cannot do anything good. Integrity, therefore, is that basic and fundamental.The second recognizes that as persons, we absolutely need to relate with others. We enter into contact with other persons, and with some we enter into much closer, more intimate “communion.”In all our relationships with others, we need to be fair. Thus, “fairness” comes in the heels of integrity, thereby emphasizing the natural imperative we have for personal “communion” with others. We need to bring to all those personal relationships a deep sense of fairness: By paying exactly what we owe and thereby giving to others what truly belongs to them; by arranging for a redistribution of resources so that those who have less in life may be given more access to opportunity; and by gratuitously contributing to the common good, which everyone in the community can benefit from. …

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