What is your intrinsic value?
I have a sister-in-law whose mentally handicapped. She doesn't work, she can only live for herself. What purpose does her life serve? She can't be what we consider productive, so does she have any intrinsic value as a human being?
I certainly believe so!
She has been the object of her mother's affection for decades. She has given other people purpose. She has offered other people love. She has been loved. Perhaps she's even given various people in her life, a perspective that has enhanced their life experience.
What about you?
Do you work? Is your career what makes you productive? Would you be worth anything if you didn't have a job?
Of course you would! And intellectually, you know it. But do you live your life that way? Do you feel it?
Every passing day, you live out a schedule, or try to. You have short term goals all meant to satisfy long term goals. Or maybe not. Maybe you live moment to moment. Regardless, each day, you have some kind of purpose. But maybe that's not your value. Your intrinsic value is simply in your actual, physical existence.
Each daily interaction, more than happenstance. Conversations, thoughts, feelings, relationships with others wound around something substantial and not mere coincidence.
There is an element of "being" that means something in and of itself. Like a painting that exists and 'says' something, but has no practical function.
Could our whole lives be a culmination of this essence we call ourselves, like a collection of artwork in a museum, rolled into one being that is you? Your body, mind, psyche a thumbprint on time, an addition to some collective expression?
When we lable ourselves this, or we label ourselves that, aren't we really just summing up a vast array of human-ness in a short syllabic, anecdotal peice of our entire selves? We are just skimming the waves of an ocean that runs leagues deep, neglecting that we are more than just a projection of what others see us as in perhaps a breif, fluctuating moment.
So you are not doctor, nurse, insurance salesperson, customer service rep, lab technician, bank teller, school teacher, car mechanic, geologist, engineer, school bus driver, receptionist. You are that person who someone loves, who gives love, who creates, who shares, who helps, who cares for.
Instead of asking children "what do you want to be when you grow up" we should instead ask them, "Who are you now?"
And we could answer, "You are somebody I love."
Perhaps love is inherently productive. Perhaps our intrinsic value is love.
Your intrinsic value, you can't earn. You can't buy it. You can't work for it. You don't produce it.
It just comes with you, you're born with it. It is you.
Where do you stand on this philosophical argument? Do you have intrinsic value ? Or are you only worth what works you can accomplish within your lifetime?