|The Dimensions of Value
Dr. Hartman identified three dimensions of reality, which he called the Dimensions of Value. We value everything in one of these three ways or in a combination of these dimensions. The Dimensions of Value are systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic.
The Systemic Dimension
The dimension of formal concepts. Ideas of how things should be.
This dimension is the one of definitions or ideals, goals, structured thinking, policies, procedures, rules, laws, oughts and shoulds. It is one of perfection. If a person values something or someone systemically, then that person has to fulfill the idea perfectly. In other words you either have obeyed the law (a mental idea of how we should act) or you have broken the law (the non-fulfillment of the idea). A woman is either pregnant (a mental definition of a state of being) or is not pregnant (does not perfectly fulfill all of the aspects of the definition of pregnant). Here the valuation is based on total and complete fulfillment of an idea. There is no middle ground or partial fulfillment in the systemic. You either perfectly fulfill the concept (ideal, definition, law, policy, etc.) or you do not fulfill the concept.
Another example of systemic valuing is displayed by the definition of a geometric circle:"A plane closed curve equidistant from a center point.” If an object fulfills this definition, then it is a geometric circle. If it lacks only one element of the definition, then it is not a geometric circle. Every definition is an "idea." To value something by definition is to give it systemic valuation. It is either total fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the idea. The systemic dimension is the world of Yes/No, black/white, and shoulds. There are no possible shades of maybe or partially. The concept is either fulfilled or not fulfilled.
The mathematical properties of this dimension are finite sets and finite elements (that is, a limited number of choices and a limited number of properties for the particular object in question). This dimension is the major aspect of geometry, physical science, law, dogmatics, long range planning, policies and procedures, doing things right, ideals, principles, personal attainment of one's goals, schematic thinking, order, prejudice, and perfection.
When a person pays too much attention to this dimension the resultant behavior is an overemphasis on doing thing by the book, an excessive preoccupation with planning and having things be done perfectly, a strong tendency to measure everything and everyone against a preset idea of how they should be, and an inability to be comfortable with changes and surprises.
When a person does not pay enough attention to this dimension, the resultant behavior is an unwillingness to submit to policies and rules imposed from the outside, a skepticism about the value of spending time and money planning for the future, and an uneasiness when systems are in place and running smoothly.
The Extrinsic Dimension
The dimension of abstracting properties, comparing things to each other.
This is the dimension of comparisons, relative and practical thinking. It includes the elements of the real, material world, comparisons of good/better/best, and seeing things as they compare with other things in their class. This is the dimension of seeing things and their properties as they apply in different contexts.
To say "Please go get my good shoes" is to ask a person to extrinsically value the different shoes. right now a specific pair of shoes better fulfills the meaning of "good" than any other pair of shoes. At another point in the week, a different pair of shoes can better fulfill the properties of "good". It is possible that no pair of shoes perfectly fulfills the definition of "good shoes", yet one will more closely fulfill the concept than others. To compare is to value extrinsically. So the extrinsic dimension is one of comparisons, of determining how rich in properties a particular object or person is in relation to another object or person. This dimension is not actually addressing the thing itself. It is addressing how the thing or person contains the properties of the group or class to which it belongs.
To value a person extrinsically is to compare that person in relation to other persons. A common example of this is by the setting of wages for a speaker. If the particular speaker is better than the worst speaker, who gets paid $2.00 per hour, and is not as good as the best speaker, who gets paid $50,000 per hour, then the speaker in question should be paid something between two and fifty thousand for a one hour speech. Such valuing is extrinsic.
Mathematically this dimension includes denumerable infinite sets with finite elements or properties (that is: infinite possibilities that can be specifically identified with a finite number of properties regarding the object in question). In other words, "good" shoes on Sunday morning includes three characteristics (expensive, brown, wing-tips), which are chosen from an unlimited set of specific possibilities (new, old, expensive, moderately priced, inexpensive, black, brown, gray, silver, cordovan, tie, slip-on, etc.).
This dimension is one of results and common sense thinking, tactical planning, role satisfaction, and social fulfillment. This is the primary dimension of business. When a person pays too much attention to the extrinsic dimension, the resultant behavior will be an overemphasis on getting things done NOW, a tendency to see other people as functional commodities, and a need for things to constantly be happening.
When a person does not pay enough attention to the extrinsic dimension, the resultant behavior will be a tendency to avoid unpredictable situations, a devaluing of what it takes to get something done, and an avoidance of the fulfilling of social norms and values.
"to be better is to be richer in properties"
The Intrinsic Dimension
The dimension of uniqueness and singularity. This is the dimension of uniqueness, of person or things as they exist in themselves. There is no comparing. There is no fulfilling of concepts. The fulfillment of a concept (systemic) or the containing of properties (extrinsic) are ignored because of the `essence' or `being' of the object. This is the valuing of an object or person with an eye toward its singularity, essence, uniqueness, or spiritual being.
When describing or valuing persons or objects in this dimension, one becomes personally involved with the object/person. There is a self-giving to the object/person which is not present in valuing extrinsically or systemically. The object/person is being valued and recognized as irreplaceable because it is seen as unique. Intrinsic valuation is displayed in phrases like, "You're the ONLY girl in the world!," "I LOVE you, just as you are.", "That is an heirloom and is PRICELESS."
From the perspective of systemic and extrinsic valuing, intrinsic statements make no sense (after all everything has a price!). Mathematically this dimension includes non-denumerable infinite sets with infinite elements or properties (unlimited possibilities that cannot be individually identified with an unlimited number of elements concerning the person or object in question). When you begin to describe someone you love (value intrinsically), even after five pages of description, you are no closer to fully describing the person than when you first begun because the individual aspects that make up the unique person are all intertwined and lose their meaning when separated from each other.
This is the usually identified as the dimension of poets, artists, mystics, advertisers, chefs, theologians, and musicians. When a person pays too much attention to the intrinsic dimension the resultant behavior will be an over attention to the good in others, a tendency to avoid putting others in uncomfortable positions, and a need to have one's feelings satisfied in order to make a decision.
When a person pays too little attention to the intrinsic dimension, the resultant behavior will be basic questioning of the intentions of others, a tendency to see others functionally or as part of a system (instead of treating people as unique individuals), and a gruff or cold behavior when relating to others in comparison to those who over value this dimension. To say something is priceless is an assertion of the object's intrinsic value. Such a statement makes absolutely no sense from an extrinsic perspective!
A Hierarchy of Richness
Dr. Hartman identified a "hierarchy of richness" which positioned the intrinsic dimension as the best dimension and the systemic as the lowest. This ranking was based on the richness of qualities, the actual definition of the term "better" being richer in properties than the other.
Because the intrinsic valuation has the highest "richness of qualities" it is better than the extrinsic, which is better than the systemic. This mathematically determined ordering is consistent with philosophy, psychology, and theology (it is better to love than to serve, which is better than obeying the law ).
We see this heirarchy in the marketplace. People will pay signficantly more for a one of a kind item (like $440,000 for President Kennedy’s rocking chair) than they are willing to pay for the same item which is not unique (the same chair is available new for $1,200). We pay more for hand made rugs than machine made ones (intrinsic value is richer than extrinsic value). The market will also pay more for a person who gets things accomplished (extrinsic-a successful sales person) than a person who masters ideas (systemic-a professor, teacher, planner, or accountant).
Dimension Tensions In Daily Life
Tensions often exist between and among dimensions. An example of a tension between the intrinsic and extrinsic valuations is when an artist is asked to price her favorite painting. The artist values her painting intrinsically: viewing the painting as unique and irreplaceable, having essence that transcends its functionality, and including part of the artist's soul. For the interior decorator, the painting has extrinsic or functional value. It can serve as a wall covering, which brings a certain ambiance or mood to a room. For the decorator, the painting is one of many possibilities for a particular room and should be compared to other painting extrinsically ( what price the artist demands ). Here the artist lives in a tension, as though the two dimensions were having a tug - of - war, being compelled to place an extrinsic valuation ( price ) on a painting she values intrinsically ( loves ).
Another example of a tension between dimensions is found daily in the workplace. Often an employer will value an employee intrinsically ( genuine care for the individual ) and extrinsically ( concern about productivity ). When the employee is not performing at a level that the employer believes is productive for the company's welfare then " letting the employee go " becomes an important consideration. The tension arises when the employer knows that the employee is in a tough period in her life, recently widowed and responsible for the raising of three children. Tn one hand the employer values and cares for the individual (intrinsic Valuation ) while on the other hand has to run a business that must be more productive and valuable than its competition. ( extrinsic Valuation ). In this case, how the employer thinks ( assigns value ) will determine how he acts in this situation, how long he will wait to take action, and what he will go through in deciding.
" Proper valuing includes attentiveness to all three dimensions "
Inclusion of Dimensions by the Higher Dimension
When one values intrinsically, this does not exclude extrinsic and systemic valuation. To have a balanced intrinsic valuing the extrinsic and the systemic valuations must be present. Just because a client likes a particular vendor (intrinsic), a balanced attention also includes the vendor's performing according to the terms of the agreement (extrinsic), and performing in a legal manner (systemic).
Another example of balanced valuing is found on the New Testament. Jesus said the most important thing is to " Love and Know God " (intrinsic). Paul, in his letter to the Romans, points out that when one loves God, s/he serves God (extrinsic). John in his first letter says that true love of God includes obedience to His commands (systemic). Proper valuing includes attentiveness to all three dimensions.
When Imbalances Occur
An example of imbalanced valuing is when parents "love" their little darling (usually described by neighbors as a 'spoiled brat' ) and let him lounge around the house, not looking for a job at age 24! Here the parents have fixated on the intrinsic value, the uniqueness and feelings of their son, and have ignored the extrinsic dimension. When the intrinsic valuation is void of the extrinsic or systemic valuations, a distortion of love exists.
The Dimensions of Value