TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    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.
      • thumb
        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!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.