Website owner:  James Miller

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Where do our outlooks, attitudes and values come from?

   Where do the outlooks, attitudes and values that define us come 
   from?  How are they formed?  By what mechanisms do we acquire them? 
   One source is thought and reflection.  When thought and reflection 
   lead us to a particular opinion on a thing that is our opinion 
   on the subject.  That opinion, attitude or stance on the 
   subject remains unless, at some later time, more thought and 
   reflection may cause us to change our opinion.  This is one way 
   outlooks, attitudes and values are formed.  Another way in 
   which we acquire them is transference from other people.  I 
   give the following example:  I can remember, at a very young 
   age, being strongly biased against beer gardens, saloons and 
   dance halls.  Where did this very negative view of beer 
   gardens, saloons and dance halls in my childhood come from?  
   Well, it didn't come from church because this was before the 
   age when we started attending a church.  We were a family that 
   kept to ourselves and didn't socialize much.  The list of 
   people who could have influenced my outlooks on such things is 
   very short - my parents.  I have no doubt where this bias came 
   from.  It came from my mother.  It reflected her feelings on 
   the subject.  She had a very dim view of beer gardens, saloons 
   and dance halls and by some mechanism her views transferred to 
   me.  I picked up her opinions on them just by the way she spoke 
   of them, her tone of voice, etc.  She had her strong feelings 
   and her strong feelings transferred to me.  I may have 
   confirmed intellectually her opinions in my own mind, there may 
   have been some intellectual process in taking on her views, they 
   may have seemed quite reasonable and justified to me, but her 
   prejudices transferred to me by a process almost like osmosis.  
   I grew up in a home where the climate was a morally clean one 
   and the attitudes, outlooks and values of the home transfered to 
   me without a lot of examination.  I acquired these attitudes, 
   outlooks and values not because I was taught them, but just by 
   being in an environment where they were the accepted standard.  
   Some things were right and other things were wrong.  Some 
   things were wholesome and good and other things were low, bad 
   and despicable.  From the standards of my home I developed a 
   love for the wholesome, clean and good and a strong dislike for 
   the low, bad and despicable.  The same thing occurred in regard 
   to language.  I was biased against cursing and low language 
   from my early youth.  The bias came from the same source.  
   Where did these values of my home come from?  They came from 
   Christianity.  They are Christian values.  After we started 
   attending a church, the church reinforced these values (it was 
   also against all these things).  I grew up in a home that was 
   opposed to not only drinking, cursing and bad language but also 
   to dancing, gambling and card playing.  I acquired these values 
   and outlooks and carried them into adulthood.  I have since 
   examined the values of my youth and, for the most part, still 
   subscribe to them.  Not everyone who grows up in a clean, 
   Christian home with high moral standards becomes a clean, high-
   principled person.  Very often friends, the "crowd", turns 
   their minds and values and they go down a bad road.  It usually 
   starts in the teen years.  They start going with bad friends 
   and going in bad ways in the teen years.  Their morals become 
   corrupted and they become unprincipled, low people.

   People usually pick up the outlooks, attitudes and values of 
   people they want the approval of.  When I was a young boy I 
   picked up the outlooks, attitudes and values of my parents 
   because I wanted their approval.  I respected them and their 
   values.  A young gregarious teenager picks up the attitudes, 
   outlooks and values of that group that he wants the approval 
   of.  He conforms to their mind to win their acceptance.  Most 
   people want the acceptance and approval of the crowd so they 
   pick up the outlooks, attitudes and values of the crowd.  Most 
   teens want the acceptance and approval of the crowd so they 
   take on the attitudes, outlooks and values of the crowd.  The 
   vast majority of people (i.e. the "crowd") just have no 
   conception of the high moral standards of the type on which I 
   was raised.  Their language is low, their ways are low, their 
   morals are low. 

   Oct 2010

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