Jessica Bibbee

Posts Tagged ‘concept’

20100111

In question, rumination on 20100111 at 17:47

Over the years, I have pondered much the notion of respect –what it does mean and what it does not mean. While it may be foolish to try to define it rigidly or simplistically, I find value in pursuing a truer understanding of it. To disregard the exploration of the abstraction or ambiguity surrounding respect, is to simply default to a superficial definition of respect.

a question

How do the terms ‘survivalism’ and ‘selfishness’ pertain to ‘respect’?

Survivalism may encompass an act or a choice made, cognitively or otherwise, that without being made would lead to the destruction of the self, and by exaggerated extension, the human race. Literally, to survive is to simply to continue [the] existence [of an entity, being.]

Selfishness may describe those actions or choices made, on matters that do not endanger the continuation of one’s existence, and in fact, may create frivolous benefits at the expense of another’s survival. Literally, to be selfish is simply to lack consideration of others.

intersection

I believe these two concepts intersect at [or diverge from] a common point, namely respect. I summarize ‘respect’ as “the cognizant compromise of the superfluous desires of the self for the preservation of the basic needs of another.”

When I directly devalue the needs of another at the mere gratification of myself, do I disrespect another. When I value another’s intrinsic rights by relinquishing my desires unessential, do I respect another. Without an intrinsic understanding of this, one is even incapable of respecting the self, and by extension, another.

Disrespect is born via the cognitive acknowledgment, or ignorance of, the sometimes subtle and highly relative distinction of ‘need’ vs. ‘want’.

defining by opposite

Defining what is a ‘need’  or what is ‘essential’ is no abecedarian task. Similarly, defining what is ‘superfluous’ or what is merely a ‘desire’ is better left to the omniscient.

But reality defies the ideality of accurately distinguishing between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, and so demands otherwise; the one left to practice respect is, ultimately, the common person –you and I.

Perhaps a need is but something we have, if even without wanting it; a desire is but something we want, if only without having it. In quantitative terms, a ‘need’ might have a negative value; a ‘want’ might have a positive value, with survival hovering only at a neutral value between, zero.

Looking at the meanings opposite of ‘survival’ and ‘selfless’, only then, may it be possible to gain a better understanding of where or how these concepts truly intersect to better realize respect, as not only a relative abstraction, but as a tangible reality.

That which speaks not of survival speaks not of life. It speaks of peril and all that perishes.

That which speaks not of the selfish speaks of all that is selfless. It speaks not only of generosity and all that is altruistic, but also of applied philanthropic action.

what it is

Respect is a choice; it is not a simple definition carved out of infallible stone. It is a choice made by the fallible, by the common person, which speaks of a regard for life, of a concern for others.

Respect speaks of sought-out understanding –both of the self, as well as a willed understanding of others.

And living mindfully in the balance between.

Note: Access to WordPress is still blocked within China. Without access to a much appreciated VPN (proxy), I would be unable to publish to my blog from within mainland China. Thus, I am blessed and grateful to be sharing. With every post, I hereby protest the oppressive nature of the Chinese government blocking access to any part of the web.

20071014

In question, rumination on 20071014 at 13:52

With every utterance of control, there is an ego born of pride, of false knowing and incomplete understanding.

For as much as we control, so are we controlled by that which is around us. As much as we analyze this process, even more so do we become a part of it.

It is sheer ignorance, if the naiveté of humanity, that permits even us to step outside of that which consumes us, that which is a part of the whole, and is the whole itself. That we might suggest that our will is not its will, that our error is not its error.

It is another arrogance to say that our error is but its error, to deny our actions on its behalf.

For all that began with nature will again end with nature – that is, entertaining the contrived concept of a beginning and an end. All that meets the eye is but a piece of the whole, the whole being a cycle of which there is no witness of a beginning and without certainty of an ending.

Our eyes see with limited sight. Our minds breathe with limited life. It is this inability to conceive of that which endures all, that which is all – that defines our being a part of the process – and not outside of, beyond, or above all.

How closely tied is our instinct to our adeptness. For it is our instinct to learn, to grow, to adapt. And so, mankind has, and will, continue in a way that always will.

Why does the sun differ from the moon? For the same reason, or lack thereof, that we are not mere beasts. We are no different, though our tongue speaks not the same.

However superb we elevate our humanity about the robin, still we know not its thoughts.

Might we entertain that its thought leaves ours behind, that it lives in a world to which we are but a busy simplicity, ever concerned with fabrications of an imagination cultivated? But we do not know what the robin thinks or even wills.

If there comes a day when we do see eye to eye with the skirting robin – will we be prepared for such complexity, as we now understand not?

Is it possible that we, too, may evolve in a parallel way, and as such, these two days may never coincide as one? So the robin and man, ever in watch, ever to question, never to know.

It is this longing and lacking that drives the cycle and leads us only to tomorrow.

We are never a farther step from today.

Note: Access to WordPress  is still blocked within China. Without access to a much appreciated VPN (proxy), I would be unable to publish to my blog from within mainland China. Thus, I am blessed and grateful to be sharing. With every post, I hereby protest the oppressive nature of the Chinese government blocking access to any part of the web.