Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Perhaps what everyone wants is respect, but nothing comes free!

The cost-benefit rule of thumb: anything may be possible, but nothing comes free. New cars, money, power, prestige, titles; the American dream to have; all of this has its cost, and the cost is not only monetary. These things come at a cost of our priorities, our perspectives of life, and the meaning that we give to our world. “Sometimes, we get lost, and try to live at any cost, but get nothing back for what we paid.” goes an old song lyric. What it expresses is that sometimes we search for meaning, for reason, for respect, love, and admiration in external things, in how others perceive us. These things: the new cars, money, or the aesthetic lifestyle, the spiritual, intellectual quest etc… are suppose to somehow guarantee us others respect and admiration. We work hard at acquiring these things, and are so surprised when others simply respond haphazardly or indifferently. To respect is one thing; to expect is another.

On the other hand, so often we are asked to respect someone, or something, but we cannot seem to see a reason for it. We are simply required to give our respect to everything, to everyone because they exist, or they have achieved something, or perhaps nothing at all; they are merely present; they are there in front of us. We are expected to respect because we have a relationship to or with it, or them. It seems to the world that each of us has a born right to be respected regardless of what, why, or how we are. Many times money seems to be a ground for admiration and respect. If you have it, you are to be respected and revered. Position seems to require that everyone under the certain title is a minion to its every whim, wish, need, and want without question. The powerful are to be respected for their power, and the needy are to be respected for their need. We see people with money, power, position, and fame and we see the attention, and the “respect” they achieve for the things that they have, or have accomplished, and we want that for ourselves: all that they have, and the respect as well. We want the things to give us the respect that we believe we deserve. Many times the act of being poor, a victim of circumstance, or society; self-inflicted lifestyles, belief systems, or lack of, demands respect from us without question, or comment. We are victims of evils beyond our control, or of society; we belong to an accepted group with a long lineage of altruistic ideals. To make matters worse, all of this, and more, is bought and sold; taught as well, to be the ultimate goal in life. But to be respected, one must deserve respect.

Everything has a cost, but the cost is not always what we think it is. To be respected is to have respect for yourself not for what you have, who you think that you are, or whom you know. To be admired is to admire yourself for who you are not for what you have achieved, where you have been, how much you have. Many times the material things that we surround ourselves with are only a fa├žade that attracts people, like honey attracts flies. They may not care for you, but they see you for what they perceive themselves to want: the things that you have acquired. To decide upon a lifestyle for yourself is to take the responsibilities of that lifestyle for your own, but be sure to understand what those are, and what they mean. The truth is very often something extremely different than what we perceive it to be at first glance. So be sure to know what is being paid for before you lay your payment down, and be assured that there will be a payment, due upon receipt.

8 comments:

  1. You have to be careful what you wish for for sure.

    The young here go on about respect or more likely disrespect as in: Youre dissing me. Bullshit of course as they have done nothing to earn respect and don't really understand the meaning of it. Like you say, respect has to be deserved, or earnt, and people are respected because of the example they set to others, not because they are rich or for what they have. The people who think they deserve automatic respect have an ego problem.

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  2. When those of us that have attained certain status, either by way of "education" or through accumulation of wealth and the power that comes with it, use this position to do nothing more than act to reinforce the notion that they "know" something, the respect should not be expected.

    "I don't know" becomes pretty tough to say when you have a bunch of papers that show you have "earned" something.

    I love your last paragraph as it is at the heart of what is being shown to me to be the most important truth right now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. I don't need to see your credentials or a bank statement, and you have my genuine respect regardless.

    Z

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  3. Ah yes John, they certainly do have ego problems! People like that also take positions in "high" places such as the medical profession, law enforcement, legal and/or as polititians. People who go into any of those fields believe that they can demand respect, but do they really deserve it? Unfortunately in my opinion, a large majority do not! By the way, young people around here are the exact same way, do you think there's an epidemic for wanting undeserved respect?

    Welcome to the philisophical half of my blog Zoner! Well, if you were to take a look at my credentials or to my bank statement and base your respect on that, there'd be none, so thank you very much for your respect! :) I am nothing more than a lowly cook/prep cook in a restaurant with no other credentials for anything more than being an office assistant. Having said that, I do tend to wax philisophic on occassion and let my fingers wander over the keyboard. If what comes out looks like it makes some semblance of sense I post it, if not I trash it and try again. As it is though, I thank you very much for your comments, just what you said alone has given me some respect for you as well. Now I'm off to check out your blog to see what types of things you say there :) Cheers!

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  4. I have a differing opinion :-)

    I've always taken the Buddhist/Zen approach that "we are all one." Therefore I do not respect others because they earn it- but because by respecting them I am essentially respecting myself. By disrespecting them- I am disrespecting myself.

    Of course if you don't believe this- then the philosophy doesn't work for you. Although I will say that modern physics is proving that in fact- all life forms are physically one mass of energy. There's many studies you can look up on Google.

    Thoughts?

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  5. I like differing thoughts Brazen, it's how discussions get started and how people learn :)

    You make a very valid point here, and you're absolutely right with it. It's a thought that I've never had, a way of life that I've never considered, but one that looks like if everyone lived that way, what a wonderful world this would be!

    On the flip side, I don't disrespect people per se, I just don't respect those that have either shown me that they don't "deserve" respect, or those that I haven't formed an opinion about as of yet. It takes me a while to build up a rapport with people at which time I usually come to respect them. I have to admit that not everyone gets the same respect from me, but everyone is different in personality and therefore get's treated differently.

    I also have to admit that there are a few people who I just can't respect due to who they are and what they do as people. (I don't mean work related, but in how they treat others, the environment, and other creatures).

    Out of curiousity Brazen, do you have anyone in your life that you just can't dig up any respect for? Most people are respectable in some aspect or another, but I've found a select few that just don't warrant any respect at all. I'm really interested in finding out if you've come across anyone like that!

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  6. Hello Skye: How the heck are ya!!!
    I saw this one a couple of weeks ago, and then got side tracked, what with President BlackBush getting the Peace Prize, now ya wanna talk about someone who does NOT deserve respect, but garnering it anyway? How sad is that?

    ONe of my parents is an Italian immigrant, respect is very big in their culture.
    You grow up being taught, you are to respect people by virtue of who they are.

    And of course, males always garner more respect then females, and that is what comes out of ww2 society of Europe. I have an older brother who thinks I must 'respect' him because he is older and male.
    Phooey to that!
    Respect is to be earned, it is not a given right, through maleness or office, or priesthood or because "god says" your chosen, whatever,

    You don't earn respect, you don't get any.

    I respect whom I choose to and people respect me if they so choose to.And, that is the way all that goes, IMO.
    Take care Skye, glad to see you still around!!!!

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  7. Hi Penny, I'm doing not to badly thanks :) Just dealing with a lack of a computer is all.

    I'm glad to hear your views on respect and that you don't let your brother run you over with his opinion. I know I've lived far too many years thinking that women were to be nothing more than slaves to their menfolk. It took me a long time to learn how wrong my upbringing was!

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  8. Nice article, thanks for the information.

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