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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 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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