A four-tier hierarchy ranking values from highest to lowest provides the core of Scheler’s work on the subject. The hierarchy, edited slightly, is as follows:
- Values of the Holy (the Divine; Creation; Reality)
- Spiritual, Psychic, and Mental Values (Truth, Beauty, Goodness; Morality, Ethics)
- Sensual Values (Health; Vitality, Pleasure; the Agreeable and Disagreeable)
- Values of Utility (Economics; Government; Politics)
For example, Scheler was a devout Roman Catholic when he came up with the hierarchy of values, but later in his life, he abandoned Catholic metaphysical assumptions altogether, including belief in an omnipotent Creator God in favor of pantheism. Needless to say, this shift in assumptions had a profound effect on his previously held values!
I resist delving into Scheler’s finer points concerning the hierarchy because I am using it here as an illustrative framework rather than an authoritative model, but I will go over the basics.
None of the values in Scheler’s hierarchy exist in isolation. Instead, they work together and influence each other according to their ranking. Thus, the Values of the Holy represent the peak that should guide and inform all other values, in descending order. Likewise, the Values of Utility at the bottom must accommodate the Sensual Values and the Spiritual Values, but like all other values, must be inspired by the Values of the Holy.
The positive values above, ordered in the way they are, ultimately reflect a distinct set of metaphysical assumptions. Since the Divine takes precedence over and guides all other values, the Values of the Holy provide the basis for all Spiritual, Psychic, and Mental Values, including things like philosophy, education, and art. These Spiritual Values then cascade down and govern the Sensual Values, which include defining the significance of pleasure, health, security, and safety. Finally, all Spiritual and Sensual values – inspired above all by the Values of the Holy – would culminate in the Values of Utility in things like the ordering and governing of society.
According to Scheler, the hierarchy of values remains positive if it retains the ranking noted above and stays on the positive side of the value range, i.e., the worship of the Divine rather than idols, art that aimed for beauty rather than ugliness, philosophy that was motivated to seek truth rather than prove falsehoods, and so forth.
However, any shift in the range from positive to negative would eventually trigger tier displacement or rearrangement, thereby shifting some or all the values into the realm of negative values, leading to what Scheler refers to as metaphysical confusion.
Metaphysical confusion causes value inversion – first as a shift from positive to negative, and then from lower to higher. For example, if the negative value of fearing disease usurps the positive value of maintaining healthfulness within the Sensual Values, the usurpation immediately impacts ethical and moral considerations at the level of Spiritual Values. If other Sensual Values follow suit – shift from positive to negative – then the tier of Sensual Values could move upward on the hierarchy and knock Spiritual Values down a level.
Scheler argues that such movements indicate metaphysical confusion. Instead of the Spiritual informing the Sensual, the Sensual now informs the Spiritual. And since Spiritual values have fallen in ranking, the first order of business for the Values of the Holy would be to attend to the Values of the Senses and vice versa.
The Values of Utility might then tackle the negative values directly via governmental dictates aimed at fighting disease via bureaucratic control. Such a shift would then relegate Spiritual values to the bottom of the hierarchy, where they would be informed rather than serving to inform. And so on.
Scheler’s used the term value delusion to refer to these negative shifts in the hierarchy and noted that such delusions immediately entailed metaphysical confusion, leading to value inversion.
Why am I bringing all of this up?
To draw attention to values and demonstrate how these reflect metaphysical assumptions.
The point I want to argue here is that values do not create metaphysical assumptions; metaphysical assumptions create values.
To illustrate, I offer the following tacked-together hierarchy of inverted values as representative of our current time and place, once again, ranked from higher to lower:
- Values of Utility (totalitarian control via the Science, experts, and media; dishonest politics, exploitative voodoo economics, climate change hysteria, anti-racism, mass migration, vilification of native populations in the West, self-destructive altruism, the birdemic and the peck, etc.)
- Sensual Values (the homo and trans agendas, hedonism, feminism, plague fear, no one is safe until everyone is safe, etc.)
- Spiritual Values (corrupt churches and institutions, right is wrong, vulgar non-art or anti-art, falsehoods as philosophy, corrupted education, media and social media, materialism, mindfulness, etc.)
- Values of the Holy (hypocrisy, a concept of the divine modelled upon the Values of Utility)
To demonstrate how these metaphysical assumptions manifest in the world, I will turn to Dr. Charlton, who described the Church of England’s actions during the birdemic in the following way:
In April of 2020 during the birdemic lockdowns; The Church of England's churches were allowed (by the Bishops' instructions!) to open and be used for use as food banks and "peck" centres, while all sacramental activity in the same buildings was forbidden. Analogous actions were taken by all major "Christian" churches - revealing their true priorities were almost exclusively material, expedient, and totalitarian-compatible.
Let’s break that down according to the slapdash value-inversion hierarchy I put together above:
- At the behest of the secular government and its globalist rulers, which occupy the peak the of the heirarchy, the Church of England, which now officially sits near the bottom of the hierarchy of inverted values, closed its doors and offered no religious services. This action demonstrates that the Values of Utility guide and inform all other values, including the Values of the Holy.
- The Church of England closed its doors because it bowed not only to Values of Utility but also to Sensual Values. Keeping everyone safe physically was infinitely more important than providing religious services or communing with the Divine.
- When the Church of England finally did open its doors, it used its buildings and churches as food banks and peck centers rather than for religious reasons proving that it was adhering to the modern Spiritual Values of placing the material over the spiritual, health over soul, physical nourishment over spiritual nourishment, etc.
- The above shows that the Church of England believes in a god that endorses the values of Utility above all else. Put another way, the Church of God believes in a god who does not believe in himself.
Re-read the value chain I have sketched above and ask yourself this: What metaphysical assumptions do the Church of England hold?
What do the people who lead the Church of England believe about the fundamental nature of reality? How do these assumptions motivate them? How do they create and inform their values?
The Church of England is certainly not alone in this. Virtually every church, government, institution, organization, and association in the West loyally adheres to this hierarchy of value inversions and gross metaphysical confusion, as do most individuals comprising Western societies, implying that the West is currently under the sway of a particularly abhorrent set of metaphysical assumptions.
Metaphysical assumptions matter. Values matter.
That is why sorting out assumptions and values is the most meaningful and vital task individual Christians can take on in this time and place.
Taking personal responsibility for those assumptions and their subsequent values must follow.
I would even dare to say that this falls into the category of "non-negotiable."
As Dr. Charlton notes in the linked post above:
The only way out and forward from burial beneath the vast complex of wrong motivations and false priorities and confused intentions that led to such appalling practices (in so many churches): is a clean break.
Only from a Ground Zero position of complete spiritual freedom from the currently suffocating network of worldly-entanglements and social-responsibilities; can properly Christian motivations be rediscovered and renewed.
Only after we have solidly established the priority of the spiritual, may we then choose to rebuild a selective and effective concern with the material.