Antivalues — Concept, examples, and characteristics


This article will look at the concept, types, and characteristics of anti-values. We will also look at value and anti-value systems.

Table of contents

Anti-values are attitudes or attributes that are properly human or attributed to objects, which are opposed to the harmonious growth of the personality and, ultimately, of society itself.

Anti-values examples

I. The concept of anti-values

Contrary to values, they are understood as human behaviors that are harmful to others. If values are in themselves moral and ethical principles of coexistence, which allow a harmonious psychosocial development, anti-values will subvert the real possibilities of coexistence.

At the global level, there is the Charter of Human Rights, a series of universal values that enjoy international acceptance: justice, solidarity, freedom, tolerance, equality, among others. Values are the principles that constitute the identity of an individual.

Human behavior is based on this set of values. That is, they have a practical purpose in everyday life. For example, in the face of injustice, the subject can react proactively or remain inactive.

II. The importance of values

In any case, values are beliefs that can vary depending on the culture. However, this relativism has tended to diminish with the evolution of humanity, finding a set of common values, which cross-cultural and ideological barriers.

In fact, it happens that love, respect and honesty, qualities that are highly valued, oppose hatred, discrimination and immorality respectively.

Life in society would fail if anti-values prevailed. If lack of respect, intolerance, dishonesty, dishonesty, disloyalty, lack of solidarity and empathy dominated, the project of social coexistence, expressed in universal human rights, would not be achievable.

The project of social coexistence, expressed in universal human rights, would not be achievable.

III. Characteristics of anti-values

The common denominator of the anti-values attributed to objects and persons is therefore their negative (bad by definition), useless or undesirable character.

Antivalues are the antithesis of moral and ethical values. This reminds us that ethics deals with reason, and morality defines the behavior that structures human life.

In their etymological sense, ethics and morality have the same meaning: ‘Moral’, it has its origin in ‘mos’; and ‘ethics’, it derives from the Greek word ‘ethos’, which defines habit or custom.

In summary, we can say that anti-values are negative, bad and destabilizing attributes or qualities of community life. Each anti-value is contrasted with a value. Antivalues achieve the opposite of what values achieve socially.

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IV. Types of anti-values

The classification of anti-values is given by the field in which they develop, be it social, economic, political, ideological, aesthetic, work, psychological, religious and cultural. Namely:

  • For socio-economic reasons, subjects can discriminate against each other.
  • For ideological and political reasons, citizens are treated negatively, undermining their political rights.
  • For reasons of aesthetic values or physical appearance, those who do not respect the system of aesthetic values recognized or imposed by society are ignored.
  • In a work or business environment, negative behavior towards others because of their professional skills.
  • On a personal or psychological level, contempt is given to those who show emotional or psychological alterations.
  • In the field of spiritual beliefs, intolerance towards others because of their religious manifestations and feelings.
  • In the field of cultural traditions, differentiated and negative treatment of those who belong to another culture. It can be grouped with the previous type.

As you can see, the issue of anti-values can be complex. Therefore, the time has come to cite examples to make them clearer.

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V. Examples of anti-values

Regardless of where the subject is in his or her social life – at the level at which he or she is, as a member of a family, a social, economic or working group, etc. – it happens that anti-values can manifest themselves and endanger the harmony of social life.

For example, one of the most dear human values these days is freedom. His antithesis is slavery.

In a society where slavery is paradoxically an economical means, other anti-values like injustice stand out negatively. In summary, ten anti-values are presented below:

  1. Hate: It manifests itself at various stages of social life. It is usually a feeling of animosity towards another subject or group and can have various origins. There is mutual hatred among people, one-way and widespread. The latter is the one that manifests itself towards social groups because of their homosexual, religious and political ideology.
  2. Injustice goes hand in hand with discrimination: Imbalance in the application of the law is one of the most common acts of injustice in societies where the rule of law is weak or non-existent. Unfair situations are those that work against the common good.
  3. Although it has less social importance than injustice, arrogance is considered another anti-value: It is the lack of humility or the exaggerated feeling of superiority and contempt that a person shows towards his fellow human beings.
  4. Irresponsibility is unfortunately a very common anti-value: People do not feel obliged to perform the tasks previously performed. Driving a car and at the same time sending text messages is considered an act of irresponsibility, because it could compromise not only one's own lives, but also that of others.
  5. Envy is a very common anti-value among groups of various kinds: It is a feeling that approaches hatred; in fact, hatred can be born from envy. Many people are troubled by the success of others, including family and friends. Envy is accompanied by a lack of altruism and empathy.
  6. Dishonesty is linked to moral and ethical deficiencies: Thieves and scammers are dishonest by nature. Any behavior that harms a human being is considered dishonest. Honesty is a value much appreciated by contemporary societies.
  7. In a special section, inequality appears due to the negative weight it has in today's society: The world statute seeks to subvert inequalities at all levels. For example, gender inequality is one of the anti-values that are still being tried to eliminate today.
  8. One of the most exacerbated anti-values in the world today is selfishness: People run their lives according to their "nevel". That is, they express excessive love for themselves and base their personal relationships on what is or is not right for them, without thinking about the other person. Selfish behavior is very common in large cities, where people tend to shut themselves away, often as a self-defense mechanism.
  9. One of the most common negative qualities among young people is the lack of respect: If we understand it as a social phenomenon, it is a manifestation of intolerance among individuals. Bullying is an extreme manifestation of disrespect among school-aged children. Although unjustifiable, disrespect stems from intolerance and lack of empathy for others.
  10. Modern slavery exists, although it can be a contradiction in terms in a globalized and rights-based world: In itself, any lack of freedom implies a condition of slavery. We are all equal before the law. Slavery is another form of discrimination, in which the subject does not have the same rights as others. For example, the Mexican day laborer who works from dawn to dusk, without a labor contract and without social rights, is subjected to a form of slavery.

As you can see, in order to fully understand the meaning of anti-values, it is essential to know their values. Values are all those positive attitudes and actions that have been considered ethically correct by society, in its broadest sense.

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Acceptance of values and anti-values

The way in which values are validated, recognized and applied by a given social group will depend, for better or for worse, on their becoming.

Moral and ethical values systematize and regulate the human behavior that takes place in society. They are the opposite of anti-values.

Without human values, without their profound exercise, positive coexistence between people would be impossible. Values allow human coexistence in the same environment, even if individuals do not think the same way.

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There are value and anti-value systems

Value systems are rooted in the various manifestations of philosophical, ideological and religious thought. For example, there are clear links between the Ten Commandments of the Catholic religion and universally accepted human values.

The Catholic Church promotes most of the human values in the Western world, and its faithful find an even stronger pedagogical support. In a context of intolerance, sometimes increasingly accentuated by political and religious ideals, the role of its leaders is fundamental.

VI. The danger of increasing anti-values

Antivalues can be completely self-destructive. Human beings, driven by drugs, can cause their own death. Another of the most damaging anti-values is that of inequality.

Social injustice, expressed in unequal rights, leads to the disintegration of the structures that maintain social coexistence.

In the socio-economic network of the great post-industrial metropolises, individualism is overly recognized. Professional competition, the search for individual well-being in any area and at any cost are, paradoxically, anti-values that find a positive evaluation.

Although even individualism and competition between capital and entrepreneurs, it has led to altruism in millionaires, as a form of compensation.

Anti-values are also destructive on a global scale. The destruction of the environment is a phenomenon that is occurring progressively as humans have needed more and better sources of energy to sustain themselves.

Today's debate is an ethical and moral one - the very survival of human beings is at stake - about the urgency of reducing environmental pollution and, consequently, the greenhouse effect. There are many economic interests at stake, but irresponsibility has so far won out.

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