Friday, October 12, 2012

Respect


I believe in the power of respect.  

If asked what were the three greatest inventions that improved the human condition, students might answer, “the Iphone!” or another product designed by Steve Jobs, and produced by Apple. I love Apple products but I am thinking bigger. 

If you study history, undoubtedly one of the three greatest inventions that improved the human condition was the discovery of antibiotics. Antibiotics fight infection, antibiotics relieve suffering, antibiotics save lives, and antibiotics have dramatically improved human health. So how does this relate to respect?

I believe that respect is the ultimate moral antibiotic. Respect fights the moral infections of arrogance, selfishness, and a wide array of self-defeating syndromes. 

Arrogance is the feeling of being superior to others and is the enemy of empathy, sustainability, and compassion. It is blinding and it is debilitating. Respect for others, for our shared future, and the environment crowds out arrogance and stops it in its tracks.

Selfishness destroys our ability to see the power of cooperation, sharing, and collaboration. Selfishness denies us the great breakthroughs and innovations that come with the synergy of great minds working together. Respect is the great foe of selfishness. Respect is open and outward looking, not closed and inward focused. Respect shuts down selfishness.

Self-defeating syndromes are various and universal. Most of us have inner demons of one sort or another. They can include self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and various dependencies. Humans are social animals which means comparing ourselves to others is endemic. There will always be someone smarter, more popular, or more talented with whom you spend time every day. This can lead to thinking less of oneself.

All respect starts with respecting oneself. Respecting your body, respecting your mind, and always respecting the very complicated assortment of factors that when blended together in a perfect proportion, make you.

 I believe in the power of respect to inoculate and immunize us from the evils of arrogance, selfishness, and self-defeating syndromes.

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