“Our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.” – Marcus Aurelius
Representatives from all around the world powwow in order to address the major issues pertaining to Global Change but seated at the round table resides an individual without any pertinent expertise. How the guy actually landed himself there is anyone’s guess. His turn comes to speak on a particular topic and so he gabs on about something that has neither bearing nor relevance. As an invested member of this committee it would be rather difficult to respect this person for wasting precious time, resources and funds, as well as detracting from the objectives of the group.
The same can be said of one who starts forest fires or loudly passes wind during the exchange of wedding vows or punches a pedestrian in the face for failing to stop at a red light. Such actions merit disapproval and are quite frankly disrespectful by and large. Mind you there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to respecting our neighbour. Cultures foster different expressions of respect as families praise certain careers over and above that of others.
One of the things to keep in mind when it comes to honour or showing respect resides in the context of the situation and/or environment in which we find ourselves. For example, if you are committed to performing a role within an organization that serves the needs of a community, then you will have to respect the other parts of the system so as to work more effectively and avoid redundancy. The nature of the company will determine to a large extent the sort of respect one ought to demonstrate.
Unfortunately, the more wealthy the business, the greater the conflict of interest, which can have dire consequences and lead to the destabilization of the community at large. Corporate corruption didn’t appear out of nowhere; greed has plagued humanity for centuries. Should you find yourself at the tail end of this machine or at the head of this economic beast, you can stab it all you like in hopes of making the system comply with your wishful thinking, but there are synergistic forces at play that undermine our ability to be respectful in view to the common good.
No matter how advanced or sophisticated or cyborg we become, once we sever that fine line between good and evil, we may discover an endless slew of things far worse than death. And like the reveries of grandiosity and vain-glory that sweeps mankind off its feet, honour and respect dwindle under the superfluous tides that render our earth deplete.
I agree with your observations, Jason. Three terms come to mind: hypocrisy, psychopathy, and evil. We know it’s never everybody or all who exhibit these symptoms, but these types are drawn to powerful leadership positions. Even St. Paul, in the bowels of a Roman prison, knew that not everyone had the law of good and evil written on their hearts. Or rather perhaps they did but delighted in cauterizing their consciences. And yes, there are some things worse than death. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, was of great consolation to me this weekend. Best regards to you!
Well put! The desire for control and/or power, once it has grown out of proportion through obsession and compulsion, can take on divers faces so to speak, such as avarice; but if greed is to become greed per say, acts of a vicious nature are to become habitual, as in a routinized form of behaviour that brings about a myopic vision that diminishes conscience; i.e., it closes us off to the wellbeing of others and compels us to overtax them so as to feed our own insatiable appetite or addiction. This self-serving ‘bent’ cuts off the veins of compassion necessary to sustain the community at large; i.e., it goes contrary to eudaimonia or human flourishing. So on a very basic level, when we reverse the word ‘live’ we end up with ‘evil’. In other words, so as to keep things simple and grounded, it may be a good starting point to consider whether or not a particular ideal or action will allow us to have life in abundance or if it will lead to our demise. ‘Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death.’
Oh, the dignity and responsibility of such freedom!
Indeed, if dignity is the form and responsibility the longbow, then freedom is the end goal.