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Riches vis-a-vis respect.

I do not envy people who are rich. They must be terribly distressed by the idea of ever losing their riches. Second, they never know who their friends are, since "a friend in NEED is a friend indeed".
However I do envy people who are widely respected. It sort of humiliates me that I am insignificant. Hence I draw the conclusion that - in our heart of hearts - we are not craving for money, but we are all craving for respect, clout, sense of importance. The desire for respect stems directly from our basic instinct. Respectable status enjoyed by ourselves gives our genes a better chance to be passed on to offspring, and our offspring better chance to survive while under our parental custody. Those who try to accumulate a lot of wealth only do so, because they think they will be able to BUY other people's respect. They are bound to find out to their frustration that RESPECT CANNOT BE BOUGHT. Conversly you do not need riches to earn other people's respect. The obvious lesson from this analysis is that we should all concentrate our efforts, thoughts, attention on getting the real thing - the respect. The very first step in the process is to begin to respect yourself. Do not proceed to step 2, before step 1 is really and truly accomplished :-)
A word of caution. Respect is a dangerous possession. The more widely respected you are, the more limelight you are in. Make one false step and your ruin will be in proportion to the amount of respect you have enjoyed, and you stand to end up worse off that you would if you were a nobody. So if you are unsure of your own morality or integrity if you like, think twice before you embark on a journey in quest of too much respect from other people. In other words maintain the respect from other people at levels commensurate to the respect you have for yourself.

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    Jan 17 2013: I've lived long enough to know that I do not seek out other's respect. I also do not seek riches. The only thing I care about in this line of thinking is if I respect myself. That and making sure I stay on my path and don't let others try and push me off it.

    If you behave in a way that respects yourself, the rest is irrelevant.
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      Jan 18 2013: I share your sentiments. This statement is also applicable to those who do seek respect from others; I find it nearly impossible to respect an individual who lacks respect for himself or herself, and I know many others feel the same way.
    • Jan 18 2013: Linda, you may not seek respect actively, but it still is what you need more than anything. _Provided that someone were to violate the respect that you currently enjoy or that is for one reason or another due to you, I bet you would not put up with the situation. You do not seek riches? That may be, but were your talents or abilities suddenly discovered by some people who wanted to handsomely remunarate you for doing something you really enjoyed, would you resist the temptation of gradually accumulating some wealth in the process of doing it? Money does not secure respect of other people, but surely it does not stand in the way or even preclude it?

      I have to admit that I have had my hands full trying to respect myself, let alone trying to win the respect of others - particularly when in company of very assertive, successful people or at school reunions (as is so wonderfully depicted in Alain de Botton's videos).

      I wish you luck in not letting others push you off your path :-)
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        Jan 18 2013: I disagree. I do not see external validation either from people or from money. I know you probably don't think so but I really don't. I couldn't care less. They can go jump as far as I am concerned.

        I do what I love to do and enjoy it. I make enough to meet my family needs and that's all I care about.
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    Jan 18 2013: I generally don't see getting respect and wealth as contradictory. The things you do to get wealth, work hard, create, contribute, take risks, are the same things that get you respect. I'll choose Bill Gates. A very wealthy man. Do you think people don't respect him? I certainly do.
  • Jan 17 2013: I just have one distinction in your post, and that is that limelight != respect. I do not respect many of the people in the limelight, especially actors.

    Respect is an concept that is slowly being lost, due to the procession of 'me' first attitudes. Many people who are among the most respected in communities, give others respect and consideration. We have to revitalize the importance of respect in our culture.
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    Jan 18 2013: You make some interesting points, but overall, I find that I disagree with your generalizations. I believe some of your conclusions are being drawn from the following inaccurate assumptions:

    * Everyone who has money chooses to advertise it. Naturally, the most ostentatious members of any group will attract the most attention and will color the public's impression of the entire group. However, having a single commonality (in this case, financial wealth) does not necessarily imply additional commonalities. There are wealthy individuals who are quite fundamentally different from their more attention-seeking counterparts. In reference to Mr. Koenraadt's statement below, I am not particularly fond of actors either and I am quite certain that some wealthy individuals would absolutely abhor being associated with them simply on the basis of having personal wealth.

    * Everyone who seeks wealth seeks it for the purpose of attaining respect. There are plenty of individuals who are not strongly motivated by how others view them and have other priorities. Even so, there is a distinction between buying respect and doing respectable things with one's resources. I acknowledge that nearly everyone is affected by the opinion of others to a certain degree, but I don't believe it is accurate to posit that other motivations for financial success do no exist.

    I do agree somewhat with the warning in your last paragraph. Respect (like other things, such as trust) is not always easily earned. It sometimes seems as though it is harder to gain than to lose, and once lost, it can be a difficult thing to re-acquire. However, I do not believe that there is always a correlation between respect and being in the limelight. Wanting to be respected is universal to humans, while the attention that the limelight brings is something that many fiercely avoid. Thank you for the interesting post.
    • Jan 18 2013: Thank you for taking time to read my post and comment on it. As a result of your remarks I realized that this discussion will not get us anywhere before we define very precisely what is meant by... respect. I suppose it meant many different things over the course of human history, but I wonder what it means and how it is demonstrated in today's democratic society. Perhaps no such thing as respect even exists anymore?
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    Jan 18 2013: Mr. Steliga, is your post a question or a sermon? Are you seeking, or dispensing, information?
    Wealth = monetary value. Respect = honor or esteem. Critical Thinking and persistent rejection of materialistic moral paradigms will show that wealth and respect do not go hand-in-hand. Many non-wealthy people are highly respected, and many highly wealthy people are not respected. Any connection between the two is the result of muddled thinking.
    • Jan 18 2013: I daresay I am long past that age at which I felt like knowing everyting. Therefore I would not dare to dispense information, certainly not in matters which to many are subject to debate. If what I wrote sounds like a sermon it is because I thought it to be a good way to provoke a conversation, but unlike priests delivering their sermons I am quite ready to learn from comments.
      Lofty, clear cut statements like, "Any connection between the two is the resusult of muddled thinking" though commendable in themselves, are very difficult of practical implementation. It is the implementation or "muddled thinking" if you like, that I am curious to observe and talk about.
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        Jan 18 2013: I asked because I was not sure after reading your post if you were informing or asking. I understand by your response that you are asking. I struggle for clarity in conversation and often miss the mark, sorry. I believe those who are impressed with someone's wealth and know nothing more about the person are muddled in their assessment. Even worse are those who dismiss anyone who is not wealthy. A person's net worth shouild not be the driving statistic, if even considered at all, in determining who deserves a place of honor and respect. Thank you!
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    Jan 17 2013: Jarek, I notice you have no bio ... I always look so I can be able to reply apples to apples and use examples based on your occupation and hobbies etc ... I find this helpful.

    I am not quite sure of what your idea is and therefore unsure of what type of response you are seeking.

    I would appreciate clairafication please.

    • Jan 18 2013: My bio? Well, you asked for it and after all ego trips are everyone's favourie form of travel :-)
      I am 50. I chucked my regular employment 3 years ago, after 20 yars of faithful, dedicated service, when it eventually (way too late) dawned on me that it was nothing but that proverbial rat race in that nothing mattered except the amount of money that I was able to generate for the company. I have a wife, but no children and being practically unemployed try to eek out a hand to mouth existence doing things which, for a change, do make sense to me.
      What response to my post am I seeking? I just want to know what your thoughts are if any after reaing it.

      Why am I curious to know? Because I see the world around me again sliding into the abyss of war. I would like to form some idea why this is.
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        Jan 18 2013: Jarek, Thanks for being so open. I have only my name and location in my bio which allows people to know when I say "here" where "here" is. Many people say our system is better than yours but will not say where they are from. To bad I would love to see the facts on their ideal world LOL.

        I have been very luck and know some rich and famous people. Some are jerks and some are really good people. I do not respect anyone for what they are .... they earn respect by being who they are.

        Is this war in the US? Is it the administrations war on the 1%? If not where so I can better understand and research a answer.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    Jan 17 2013: .
    Being respected ---- Symbiosis.
    Being rich ---- Anti-symbiosis.

    Symbiosis ---- Indispensable for human survival.

    (For SYMBIOSIS, see the 1st article, points 4-8, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)