Dignity is the space we presume impenetrable. We decide not only our dignity but also that of people surrounded by us. For example here a person doing manual labour is not treated as dignified. Until few years or decade they would not be offered chair to sit on. It would be same at many places. But my mother has grown out of it. Similarly at places colour of skin determines the dignity. Ancestorship is another factor to judge dignity. Method of worship. Our fellow worshipper is equal rest are Kafirs. Dignity also comes into play as regards our expectation of others. ‘This is beneath your dignity.’ Is the usual response which indicate the s/he did not meet the expectation.
What is this dignity?
We live in the word of images. While I am punching on the keyboard of iPhone, often I do not have to look down to see the layout of the keyboard. Why? Because it’s image is in the mind and thumbs typing is need not have a fresh look every time I type. Same is with dignity. We make an image. First about self. I am nobody. Just like every one. I was born and one day I will be gone rather dead. Nothing can be done about it. It is certain. So what to do about it? Sensible thing is to do nothing. There is no greater wisdom than acceptance of truth. But that is not how the mind works. It is trained to find solutions. Even when none exist. So what does it do?
Mind game and dignity
Mind starts with self. It creates a persona. It fills it with everything that can be found. If surrounded by wealth, it will fill the persona with wealth. Expensive phones, jewellery, apparel, jet, yacht, cars and luxury condo. May not be in that order. I still remember a dialogue with a friend, a decade back.
At that time also I used to do lot of things with smart phone. Nokia Communicator was the leader. I was having 9300 model with wifi. A friend had two phones. One Communicator 9500 and one another model which was also smart phone and top end model from Nokia but in candy bar shape. I suggested him to use some feature but he told me point blank that he did not know how to install new app. I asked him, why you buy such phones. His reply was honest but enlightening. He said:
“You are a lawyer. Wherever you go every one will treat you with respect. Even if some one does not, he will after you have spoken but we have to be somebody. Looking rich is next best thing. Hence this gold bracelet and expensive phones.”
Such a candid confession. I was stunned. It was honest relationship and I regret that I lost it by ill-adviced mixing of business with pleasure.
So this is self. And this is how we get hurt when this huge self is hurt. How people kill each other in road rage just over a few dents to a car. Because the car is me. My every possession is me. But who are you?
Who are you?
You are my memory of you. I may not have seen you or I may see you everyday. I will not look at you to see what you are. I know who are you. I accumulate everything you say and do. I have a record of you. I will compare you with everyone I know. I will judge you action at every step of the way and record the verdict. It does not matter whether I know it or not but I am doing it. With this vast analysis and database I decide what is your dignity. I decide whether you could worshipped or sworn at or to be kept at arms length. Of course my need and greed also has a play.
Life, reel life and Facebook
Dignity motivate our actions in real life all the time. But the reality gets carried away. Worst example is some of the actors who keep on trying another remake of there successful movie but in vain. Frequently actors have struggles with drugs or alcohol not knowing what bugged them. It was the conflict of realities. It was conflict of the world they thought they were living in and they were actually living. The conflict between the dignity they thought they had and their fans that they deserved and the dignity which was actually bestowed upon them by each individual who actually mattered. To many kinds of dignities at work.
Facebook appears to be another place where persona is created and managed. Facebook now officially recognises succession. One can nominate a nominee to take over after the death of person behind persona. Another dignity to maintain. As if we had any less problems of maintaining different dignities already. Here is a place where some thing is said in Hollywood movies but I can not write because it will be beneath my dignity’ but you can guess that it starts with sixth letter in English alphabet. And it ends at you.
Forgive me if it hurts you dignity because I am not good at managing it. And thanks Lewis for inspiring me to be careful about my persona. I am always careful when it comes to earning a living but other than that, I do not have that much processing resources.
The entire post is typed and posted in one sitting and therefore E&OE.
You have delved into the human heart here. I’ve always ventured there myself but now I’m really into its depths and it is scary, scary because I increasingly how I have been enslaved to my persona and significant dimension of which as included “spirituality.”
Living is scary with so much to protect. But once we see through all the litter, it is just moments put together on a string which would not go too far. Relish the moment not the string. This is what I try to do.
That is really a rich notion. And I’m very “aware” of this but am still struggling to experience it. But, I’m gonna write that down–“Relish the moment, not the string.”