Jessica Bibbee

Posts Tagged ‘ultimate’

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.