A forgotten mini essay I had written
Value in the contemporary society
The word „value”may be defined as „relative worth, utlility or importance; degree of excellence” or as „something (as a principle, quality or entity) intrinsically valuable or desirable. Both definitions state that „value” is of signifcant importance and it stands for high goals and impressive achievements. The contemporary society seems to be determined in demonstrating the contrary. Nowadays, we consider of value only things like bank accounts, media coverage, designer’s shoes and the list goes on. But are these the real criteria on which value can be appreciated? My oppinion is that society today has little knowledge of true values and is living in a mixture of hypocrisy and ridicule. Our fellow citizens lack of values – wether moral or material.
In order to find proof of what I have stated, it’s enough to turn on the television. The tv programs are filled with pathetic shows, melodramatic movies (the so called Romanian soap-operas) and valueless talk-shows. Cultural or educational programs are almost out of the picture, valuable presentators are not promoted and when we find an exquisite program….it’s already after midnight (for example The Professionals with Eugenia Voda).
This chronic disease, of fostering falsity and encouraging non-values, is not only the prerogative of television. I am a loyal theatre viewer and I can say that, nowadays, theatre rooms are always full. On many occasions, I take my time to watch people around me. They’re not worried for not knowing the actors, for not turning off the cellphones and understanding the director’s artistic view is even less important. The essence is being there, no matter what. Because, the next day, they’ll have what to tell their friends, while having coffee in a fancy restaurant.
The world we live in is changing, the society, the persons around us are moving about, but I’m afraid the direction is wrong. They misunderstood the message of the modern era and they transformed it into superficial actions. We lost the notion of value and we are trying to find it in the least meaningful things. If I were to be an optimist, I would say that this is a reminiscence of Baudelaire’s aesthetic of the evil (?). Unfortunately I am a realistic person and I realize that we are swimming in a sea of mediocrity. I also have the hope that we will recover and gain conscience of true and everlasting value. We should judge value upon qualitative criteria, such as intrinsec importance of things, the effort made to accomplish them, the cultural patrimony of someone or something, the resistance in time. Value is, maybe, the only resort left to become a better society, to improve our cultural background and to adjust our image. It’s time we named valuable the truly valuable things and stopped giving value to inferior creations of much too spontaneous judgements.