Google+ Badge

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Twisted "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"

As children you are taught to respect your parents, your teachers, and your elders. You are also encouraged to respect rules, laws, traditions, and the feelings of other people. As you mature, you inevitably develop great respect for people whom you consider to exhibit exemplary character, and, at the same time, you lose respect for those you discover to have erred in some manner which is repulsive to you.

Our English word respect is derived directly from the Latin word respectus meaning "regard, a looking at." As you "look at" someone and discover who they are and what they do, you must thoroughly investigate them to accurately judge them worthy of your respect.

Judging someone at first sight or upon first meeting is fraught with potential misinterpretations. And, you are often prone to judge those you don't even know. You may even give respect to celebrities and popular people without regard for their true characters.

In truth, human beings are complex creations that are not easily judged from afar or from casual meetings. You should carefully examine a person whom you deem worthy of respect. While you may perceive qualities deserving of respect differently from others, true character depends upon truth, integrity, and consistency.

Thus, respect is acknowledged as an epistemic virtue: a virtue relating to knowledge and cognition and to its degree of validation. Still, respect is both subjective and objective. You tend to gravitate toward others with similar views as you assign those people respect.

American author, critic, and scholar William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943) once said: "The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him." When you degrade or disrespect others for lack of reason, you dehumanize them, and this may escalate and cause serious social conflict.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), a central figure in modern philosophy, was "the first major Western philosopher to put respect for persons, including oneself as a person, at the very center of moral theory, and his insistence that persons are ends in themselves with an absolute dignity who must always be respected has become a core ideal of modern humanism and political liberalism."

("Respect." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. February 04, 2014)

Your Right to Respect

I believe we live in a time where any right to respect you believe you have -- being treated with dignity, with courtesy, with honor, with love -- is most often viewed in terms of your power, your money, and your position. This twisted judgment denies admiration and even tolerance to those less fortunate.

Denying respect to "those other people" because of their low social class effectively prevents their active participation in the community and thwarts individual development so crucial to guaranteeing integration into their cultural advancement. Strong division is certain without common respect and the simple acknowledgment of absolute equality.

Perhaps, as a human being, the respect you assume others hold for you is merely a figment of your imagination. It seems so many now respect qualities associated with roughness and domination. They practice intimidation of others as they seek to gain a higher place in the pecking order. To me, it is apparent that being "bad" is the new "being good."

If you believe you are respected by someone, I assure you, you can lose that standing in a heartbeat. Make a mistake or disagree with a view and you are no longer respected. Understand that a person tends to see his respect for you in terms of what he can derive from the mutual association. When that dwindles, for any reason, then he begins to think of you as defective and unworthy of common dignity. Without respect, you become refuse in the dump of disregard.

Post a Comment