Virtues vs. Values

Virtues are additive.

That is, you can take ideals like patience, charity, chastity, temperance, honesty and pile them atop each other. Having one doesn't depreciate the other.

We assume they are intrinsically good, and as far as virtues are concerned there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

Values, on the other hand, you can’t just pile on.

There is something zero-sum about the concept of values. I think of it as the New York/London/Tokyo/Shanghai/Big City X shoe cabinet dilemma: “yes, I love those Louboutins, but which pair of shoes am I gonna throw out to make room?”

That pair's gotta go...

That pair's gotta go...

Values have to be configured. You can't just add values.

There is always a balancing act with values. 

First in First Out? Or Last in Last Out?

First in First Out? Or Last in Last Out?

For example, if you already value self-reliance, there will inevitably be tension with the value of deference to seniority. After all, there is a kernel of rebellion contained in the idea of self-reliance.

With values, its the configuration that matters. And when you are playing within a defined sandbox there will always be tension.