The Universal Symbol for the Intrinsic Human Value and Self-Worth

Intrinsic human value and self-worth definition

Intrinsic human value is innate and equal for every human being. It is something that every individual can choose to have.

"I'm valuable just because I exist" - this value is based on the subjective decision each individual can make.

Objectively speaking, the universe is meaningless. That is why we are free to choose what we value and don't.

Intrinsic human value is the basis for the true self-worth, the type of self-worth that no one has the power to take away. Even under the most extreme conditions, a human being can decide to be inherently valuable.

The other type of value is the extrinsic human value. It is often out of our control.

Extrinsic human value is created by others. For example, a physically fit, attractive young human being receives a lot of extrinsic value from others.

Our societies operate mostly based on the extrinsic value, but because it is out of our control, and is a result of luck, it is also never constant and never feels complete.

On the other hand, intrinsic human value, the true self-worth, is something that is always there. It is the foundational moral ground and the basis for human dignity.

It can complement and complete the extrinsic value when the extrinsic value is available, and when it's not, the intrinsic human value alone empowers and provides the basis for the right to be, to have self-worth, and to act with confidence.

Symbol for the Intrinsic Human Value and self-worth

The symbol for the Intrinsic Human Value and Self-Worth

Above is presented the symbol for the intrinsic human value which is the source of true self-worth.

In general, to create meaning in life, humans develop storylines and often believe them as the only true reality. Actually, these storylines are different interpretations of reality and there can be many such interpretations, like there are many gods and many truths.

In such constructed reality, people are rated according to their social status, wealth, looks, race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, different kinds of skills and other personal external and internal characteristics.

Because of these storylines, many people are deprived of vital things – freedom, self-worth, a right to exist, things that inherently belong to every individual.

To promote the true nature of human beings, we have created the symbol for the idea of intrinsic human value and self-worth.

In this symbol, the upper space is the constructed reality, the grand illusion. In this space, people have roles, different statuses, and similarly, their extrinsic value is different.

In this upper space, we differ a lot and according to our characteristics, we have different functions and perform differently. This is the modern human game that each of us play on a day-to-day basis. It can be fun and it helps us to evolve. The problem is that most of people don’t see it as a game or a storyline. For them, it is the only reality they known. That is why they are not playing, but fighting, discriminating, killing, stealing – it is the mainstream philosophy of life, actions and reactions, a vicious cycle with self-destructing tendencies.

It is possible to escape this narrow mindset. It can be done by understanding and accepting the true human nature. Look at the lower part of the symbol. We are all humans. We are all equal on a fundamental basis. Maybe our functions differ in the human game but that has nothing to do with who we really are.

Achievement does not, except by arbitrary definition, augment your intrinsic worth. If you see yourself as a “better” or “greater” person because you succeed at something, you may temporarily feel “worthier.” But your successes actually do not raise your intrinsic worth one bit; nor do your failures lower your human value. You may achieve greater happiness or more efficiency by achieving this or that goal. But feeling “better off” does not make you a “better person.” You are “good”, “worthwhile,” or “deserving,” if you want to use these poor terms, simply because you exist, because you are alive. To raise your “ego” by achievements actually is a false pride: the Belief that you are worthless unless you have accomplished, and the accompanying Belief that because you have accomplished you have “real” value.
— Albert Ellis

There is a need to understand our intrinsic worth and stop mindlessly judging ourselves and others according to external appearances, achievements and narrow cultural norms.

This is an “open source” symbol that can be used by anyone in order to spread the message. The symbol can be used in different ways and in different media. It can also be interpreted creatively.

Symbol files for download: jpg | pdf | png
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The symbol for the intrinsic human value and self-worth was created in 2011-2012, as a part of the Radical Course project's research and design process.