”Knowledge will get you power, but character respect”
Respectable Figures Through History
The justest man in history dies out of respect.
Respect to the laws of Athens.
Respect to Democracy.
Respect towards his own self and his beliefs.
Throughout history, respect is seen as an attribute of prestigious people. Being very close to courage and confidence, respect is a characteristic that through time people of high caliber exhibited.
A few examples are:
- Nelson Mandela
- Muhammed Ali
- Albert Einstein
Here we can recognize a repeating pattern that was followed by all these men. They have our utmost respect but at their time in one form or another they didn’t acknowledge respect to certain circumstances or people. Socrates was disrespectful to the judges of his trial feeling that a person who aided the City Of Athens like himself should not only be free but be paid for all his service. Nelson Mandela showed his disrespect towards the cruelties of Apartheid and racial segregation. Muhammed Ali was disrespectful when he denied been indicted in the US Military Force in the War against Vietnam because of his religious beliefs. Achilles was disrespectful to gods and kings. Albert Einstein was disrespectful to his professors while skipping classes one too many times.
Before delving into why respect is so common among great figures we must ask ourselves, why do we need respect, and how did it come to be such an important matter. From an early age, we are taught by our parents and teachers that we need to show respect to our family, to our elders, to the rule of law, respect for our wife/husband. When people are conditioned from an early age to a standard behavior, generally they do not take the time to really question the reasons why our society does things in a particular manner. So in order to understand respect, we must learn how mankind came to grips with it.
As Aristotle said : ”Humans are social beings”.
In conjunction with the previous, in the beginning of our existence, human beings faced great dangers against the ferocity of other animals while we had to make best of our abilities in order to find food and shelter. After the passage of many years and having attained logic we realized the benefit of gathering in a large community for our survival and well-being. And so the first communities were created. This state didn’t last for long as people lacked the basic ethics and communication skills to live with each other.
When the time came, and they’ve reached an intellectual level that allowed to live and work together, the first civilizations were established. But in order for them to flourish, expand in size and magnitude people we had to learn to communicate, understand and ultimately respect each other.
Perfection may never be achieved but through time, we learned either by force (law enforcement, violence, wars) in connection with the use of our logical tools to respect another man’s life, their privacy, their family, their property, their rights and freedom as long as they didn’t act as forms of disrespect towards us.
For this reason, respect was established as one of the most critical human attributes, one that should always be present in order to show our civilized state.
The Value of Acquiring Respect
Acquiring respect does not only mean gaining respect by others but also showing respect to others. It also means disrespecting others, circumstances or authorities when deemed right based on your character, by the situation at hand and by the general law of being true to our values and our beliefs. While healthy disrespect is advised it should never be done without a second thought. As we mentioned in the beginning of the article great figures disrespect only when they deem necessary based on their personal choices. They find something being unjust or unreal. Most of the times being authentic to your beliefs will get you respect.
A person who is respected commonly is viewed highly and almost always displays the following qualities:
- They are true to themselves: In a world full of people trying to copy what others are doing, being authentic to yourself, to your character and your goals may not make you the most popular person but it will lead you towards your real path and will make people around you, respect you for who you are.
- They help others: Respect is not an ego driven attitude. Remember, that helping people who have less than you, offering your services to somebody or just being there for someone, makes you a greater person, and a person worth of respect.
- They are hard workers: Nothing breeds more respect than people who are willing to go through trial and error towards their achievements. The people who work hard and won’t give up even through hardships are equal of our utmost respect.
- They have self-respect: One can never gain respect from others or towards others if he doesn’t respect his own self. Somebody who doesn’t take care of himself, his mind and body, who doesn’t have goals and dreams, experiences and beliefs, a man who basically doesn’t respect himself and that way the people who are around him could never be a subject of respect.
- Their word matters: People who respect themselves and others recognize that they are as good as their word. It’s important to understand that a person’s word, the act of doing what you say when you say, reveals a lot about your personality. A person who is always late, who quits on his endeavors and can never be trustworthy will never earn close to maximum respect.
- They are worthy: People worthy of respect are themselves worthy. Their worth of our time, of our company, of our help and friendship. When we find worth, value in someone, studies shows we tend to almost instantly respect them. While there are many examples of people who swayed away from their initial path we still respect them because we know they are worthy.
- They know when to draw a line: People who have self-respect and respect others know when enough is enough. When actions need to be taken and things need to change. While people who get into fights often times lose respect, people who know when to protect themselves, their family and their beliefs first by words and if needed through the use of violence are worthy of respect.
- They have values: Last but not least if you want to understand the fundamental way of gaining and showing respect, acquire values. People who value peace and freedom, respect all lives, those who aspire to something greater in this world, and are following an ethic way of living will always be regarded by society as more respectable human beings.
Respect is an essential quality for all mankind. Without respect to one another, to the law, to our lives, chaos will rule. Without respect, we lose our civilized state and go back to being savages. Without respect, no great person can arise and without respect, no great person can be molded.
Respect and healthy disrespect, are crucial for the existence of our societies and the furthering expansion and development of our lives.
To close this article in the proper manner, it is fitting to pay my respect to the dead of The Nice Attack that occurred last week. As I was in France at the end of May the second attack at one of the country’s most important cities affected me deeply. Extending my respect to the dead of Turkey’s Attempted Coup as well as all the dead that die every day in hopes for a better world.