Personal Values Development Current Value Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

After I entered Kohlberg's Post-Conventional Moral stage, I began to realize that: (1) homosexuality probably is not a voluntary choice; (2) homosexuals can have meaningful, committed, and stable loving relationship or superficial, casual, and unstable relationships exactly the same way heterosexuals can (and often do) experience both types of relationships at different times of their lives; (3) homosexuality is not a moral issue at all; and (4) gay people have the same moral right to any of the benefits that our society and government makes available to heterosexual couples who choose to share their lives in a meaningful way.

Materialism and Conformity

During Kohlberg's Conventional Moral stage of my development I admired material possessions and wealth about as much as everybody else. I assumed that anybody who drove an expensive car or owned a big house must necessarily be very smart to be so successful and must be happy in life. At that time, I apparently absorbed and internalized everything on television and in other media that presented material wealth and extravagance as the ultimate measure of a person's success in life. It never occurred to me that there might be something truly ridiculous about any of the things that are universally promoted in my social culture as being extremely positive. I also remember that during the period of my life that corresponded to the Conventional Moral stage I was as susceptible to groupthink and to following trends as everybody else, largely without question.

During the current stage of my life that corresponds to Kohlberg's Post-Conventional Moral stage, I began to realize that the pursuit of wealth, social status, and material possessions is most often a substitute (rather than an expression) for self-esteem and self-confidence. Events such as the earthquake in Haiti, the Pan-Asian Tsunami, and the New Orleans disaster in the wake of Hurricane Katrina helped me recognize how incredibly fortunate even ordinary so-called "middle class" Americans are. We live lives of sheer luxury compared to the vast majority of human beings alive, or for that matter, compared the all of the human beings who have ever lived on earth. That perspective has made it impossible to admire anybody who spends thousands of dollars on a handbag because it bears the name of a particular "designer." I now feel the same way about many ordinary social trends because even the most benign seem to rely on a certain type of mindless conformity or fear of being different.

Supporting My Values through Criteria and Decision-Making

I am completely comfortable with my moral views because of the way that I derived them. During the Kohlberg's Conventional Moral stage of my development, I blindly accepted much of what authority figures and society in general told me. I did not change my mind arbitrarily or because I had some specific reason to dislike gods, respect homosexuals, or reject material wealth and conformity. If anything, my current views on gods, materialism, and conformity cause more conflict in my life and alienate me from more people than my original beliefs.

In fact, my change is a belief about these issues was directly attributable to trying to thinks about them logically and without any preconceived beliefs at all. I realized that people who shared my religion had no logical justification for rejecting other similar religions and that my parents were wrong abut something very important and that also was an unnatural and difficult thing to realize that had no immediate "benefit" to me for accepting it. Similarly, my original response to homosexuality felt very natural to me and I only overcame it because I could not help but process the objective evidence of homosexuals I knew and I began to genuinely understand why there is no justifiable moral objection to same-sex marriage. Finally, my realizations about materialism and conformity have also alienated me from people more than connected me to people. For that reason, I believe if anything, it is a sign of integrity that I cannot mirror attitudes that I disagree with just to bland in with everybody else and avoid conflict.

Sources Consulted

Gerrig R. And Zimbardo P. (2007). Psychology and Life. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Pinker S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York:


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