I think the most valuable thing in the WORLD.... is humility.
and the most worthless thing in the world is...? you guessed it. arrogance and self-worth.
I see or hear in the news about a country president who is attempting to change his country's constitution in order to be eligible for re-election for an indefinite number of terms. And I cringe at that person's arrogance and self-worth. I hear someone screaming down at a worker or a maid just because they gave them a task which they didn't do to perfection (a perfection that only exists vaguely in that person's mind, and is not consistent, and can change after a day or two).
I literally cringe with disgust when I see such belittlement of others. and the scary part is, if I had done it, I probably wouldn't have noticed anything wrong. I would probably feel I am worthy of being superior than those around me, and I'm showing them what's right for their own good. Even though my real motive would be to show them how superior I am to them, and that they should know it in their cores never to challenge me.
Self-worth is purely a lie. that is the main source of it's evil. It is simply misleading and drives you to do some things that are out of your capabilities, yet you'll think they are within them. We think we know all the ins and outs of a problem, it's limits, it's variables, we think we have total control over something. Therefor we know what's best.
But we don't know everything, and the more we believe that we do, the more we think that what seems risky behavior in the eyes of others, is totally safe. So we do risky behavior and lead others towards destructive outcomes.
On the other hand...
I haven't seen anything in this world more beautiful than humility.
And what sort of humility do we mean really? how many kinds of it are there? A person can never show real and genuine humility to another except when they feel that they are truly and unquestionably inferior to them.
If I walk to my office and pass by the teaboy, and he accidentally stumbles and spills coffee over my clean white dishdasha first thing in the morning. What would stop me from cursing him for his clumsiness and low education. Clearly thinking that it was his fault and his parents' fault for not educating him enough to get a better job than this one. For not knowing exactly how many cups of coffee he can carry safely without spilling them. For not judging properly how many cups his tray can carry.
In my arrogance I could go on for hours listing all the flaws in this poor man's life that led him to this simple unfortunate event of spilt coffee.
And also in my arrogance I would forget to list all the necessities and forces that made it impossible for his life to have taken any other course. Choosing to skip college in india and work as a tea boy right in his early teen years wasn't much of a real choice for him. Choosing not to start a small farm with modern high-yield farming practices, in order to increase his family's prosperity and freedom wasn't much of a real choice since he didn't know how to do all that, and without someone teaching him how to do it, it would have been very unwise for him to risk what little assets his family had with such a project that could fail.
In reality... if I had infinite knowledge about all the factors that controlled this teaboy's life up to this point... if I had known how he had no REAL control over his life in order to land this lowly job, and no control over the genes he was born with to have such muscles which would falter at this particular moment and cause him to spill coffee all over me..
If I had all that knowledge, I would understand FULLY that it wasn't really his fault. so I would do my utmost to calm his fears about my wrath or backlash.
But do we really have to be SOooo full of knowledge and foresight in order to be compassionate? for one thing we're NOT full of knowledge. Our information about things around us chronically limited and incomplete. But what we CAN be sure of is that we don't know everything. And that IF we knew then we might have lots of reasons to forgive and to understand.
That's why humility is the most valuable thing in the world. It's because it's the most truthful. it puts us in exactly our rightful place. and from there we can act accordingly, and properly.