The nature of the relationship between thoughts and feelings, or values, and actions is a curious one. It seems logical to believe that there first exists a thought or feeling, which motivates an individual to perform an action. For example, I feel hungry, I walk to the refrigerator, make a sandwich and eat it. This is a very simple feeling, followed by a simple action. The result of the action is yet another feeling- this time perhaps of satisfaction. I have eaten my sandwich; I am no longer hungry and my actions will then reflect this. If actions always reflected thoughts which in turn led to further thoughts, the relationship would be easy to define. The case is not that simple, however. Rather often, our actions do not reflect our thoughts or feelings, and our feelings and thoughts do not arise as a result of our previous actions. For example, if I am hungry, I will desire to eat, but if I am also extremely tired, I may not get up and make that sandwich. The reason actions do not reflect thoughts and feeling in every case is the almost ever-present conflict of values which exists in any given situation. If I am both hungry and tired, I must make a decision to sate my hunger or appease my fatigued body. Both cannot be accomplished.
The relationship between values and actions must be separated according to types of individuals.
Let us first look at the person who neatly orders their values and therefore has a rather clear-cut picture of their own value system; this person deals little with their circumstances and will tend to act in the same manner despite conditions. This person is predictable, is often viewed as noble or stalwart, and generally misses out on a vast amount of pleasures in life which can only be found if values are somewhat "pushed aside." Oftentimes, people will set up a system so they can quickly make decisions in any circumstance. One might say "I value fullness over rest." In which case, that person would clearly rise and make a sandwich. In cases where a person has a clear set of values that remains constant, such as fullness over rest, there essentially is no conflict of values which exists because the values have become prioritized. The only time a conflict can exist in a person who has given a certain level of importance to any value is when two values are of exactly equal level. That would certainly be a extremely rare occurrence. Now, simply because a person has prioritized his or her values, that does not mean that the result of their actions will be an entirely pleasurable one but they will ignore or be unaware of this pain because their ultimate goal has been fulfilled- that of acting in accordance with their value system. The decision as to what to do will certainly be simple, but the aftermath of having de-prioritized a value can be great-especially if that value was of high importance before it became de-prioritized for the person has forfeited a value . This person will lack something however, that being an "accuracy of perspective."
The next type of person is one who has an extremely loose value system. This person will tend to base decisions for the most part on the circumstances of the situation. This person is often seen as rash and unpredictable for their values seem to be as changing as their surroundings. Certainly a person of this type will experience many of the pleasures that a person with rigid values will not, but this person will not be able to predict how he or she will act in any given situation. This makes it difficult to maintain relations with others as people in general have a fear of the unknown and have a desire to foresee as much as possible of he future. A person who acts almost wholly dependent upon circumstance is an affront to the masses' sense of safety.
A person who has a fairly rigid set of values or a loose set of values most likely will lack what I call an "accuracy of perspective." To possess a set of rigid, ordered values is to fail, by and large, to take into account the circumstances concerning any situation and therefore miss out on many of the "once in a lifetime" opportunities that are presented to us. It also prevents us from expanding and growing to fit our changing needs and wants. To base one's decisions highly upon circumstance is to either lack, or fail to know one's motivations and drives. To not understand these things is undesirable for one will often make decisions that are indeed quite contrary to their true selves. This will ultimately lead to regret and pain for the true self has been corrupted.
Accuracy of perspective is a thing rarely found in human beings. It is a state of complete, almost divine awareness of the self and one's surroundings simultaneously so that any conflict of values in any given situation may and will be neatly analyzed and brought forth to a single point of decision which at the moment of action becomes completely void of conflict or regret. It should be noted that this ideal is of the utmost rarity, and in my limited experience, have yet to encounter a person such as this.