In elementary and secondary school, and even at the university level, there are certain types of questions that show up on exams, like: “What do you value as much or more?”
But what’s behind these questions? Generally the evaluation has already been made (the teacher dictated it in previous classes), so what they’re wanting is for it to be regurgitated.
Do you remember the evaluations we made of historical figures? “Evaluate Antonio Maceo,” they would demand; and we would respond, “He was brave, determined and… capable.” In this way they prostituted the verb “to value,” which came to be the same as thinking.
In Cuba, at least people don’t usually associate the words “values” and “to value.” Values are the children of evaluation, but these are children who are stiff, dead and stripped of the least semblance of the thought that gave birth to them, which is to say evaluation.
Values are like diamonds that dazzle but fail to engender life; they’re both sterile and sterilizers.
Values are of course a magnificent tool for dominating from “within,” and thus exercising total power. After instilling them (that’s to say installing them), the manipulation of people is quite easy. It’s as if they were marionettes.
The effort —if the aim is to develop free-thinking people— should not be in instilling values, but in promoting in each person the ability to value the best way possible for them – which is to say thinking for themself.