Soph wants to talk principles... and really so do I.
I've been persuaded after many long arguments that I don't like the word "values." Values seems to always be something that the other person demands, and I have to just live with. So for example, one value" is never having to hear about evolution. Another "value" is that women can't control their own fertility. A "value" that seems to be widely adhered to is that the rich have a god given right to get richer. Values because they are emotional are off limits to argue about, or to criticize. "Those are my values."
Instead I've come to agree that what are important are principles. Inter-subjective statements of where we begin from. If it can't be explained in a way that other people can begin from that beginning and deduce conclusions which make sense, it isn't a principle.
One problem with principles is, of course, something that has been pointed out before, by others, better than I can hope to do: it is easy enough to create post hoc principles which come out to the already desired conclusions. This is why principles almost always point forward. The test of a principle is whether you are willing to live with the results when it goes against you. Democracy isn't a value, it's not something we can dispense with if we want something else more. It is an organic principle, from which other things spring.
So that is one of the principles that I live by: face forward. Trusting someone because of the past is a very good bet I'm told. But it has a tendency to go badly in the worst possible way. Instead, I trust forward. People who have every reason to stay in the game, stay in the game. People who have a reason to get out, do.
My second principle can be called, karma. It's something that often cuts against me. I have a huuuuge karmic debt piled up for the things I've done here, which is why I try and help people, especially people who seem like they are likely to stay. What is karma? It is simple: you become what you do. Negative karma is paid for, not necessarily by the ways that other people might want it to be paid, but in the only way it can be paid: you have to live inside the life, or lives, you make.
Do I have others? Yes, in fact i do. But that's enough to chew on for the moment: principles not values, trust forward, be what you want to become.