The Truly Respectful One
October 27, 2007 2:48am CST
To respect is a virtue worth cultivating. Like any other virtue, it should be manifested return or gain. If it does, such a virtue becomes a vice. When one respects another because of fear, it is no longer respect but awe. When one respects another because he can gain a favor, it is no longer respect but an art of ingratiating. When one respects another because he is powerful or strong, it is no longer respect but fear. The same degree of respect should be bestowed to a beggar, to a stranger, to a friend, to an old woman and to a baby girl. Once respect is differentiated, then it becomes discrimination or prejudice. But when equated for all, it becomes a virtue. Respect becomes most virtous when it is accompanied with love, empathy and compassion. It can be the most vicious when reduce to nothing and is at once supplanted by wrath, rage or rancor. When one's heart is filled to over-flowing with respect, there is peace and good. When it is blighted into vacuity, there is vengeance and vindictiveness. The greatest form of respect is respect for oneself. The source of all respect is one's being; if that being is not respected, it can't be expected to respect others. Since self-respect is the greatest form, it is naturally the greatest virtue. Morality and decency become supreme. There is self-respect when there is self-restraint, self-discipline or self-control. When fear is overwhelmed by desire and such desire becomes uncontrollable for lack of discipline, then there will be tension and nervousness wrecking over fiber of goddness. Undisciplined fear of an idol gives way to fanaticism and devilry. Fear and desire, like awe and lust, when unrestrained are diabolical and destructive. From self-respect, respect itself hover all occasions. The scavenger and the garbage collector are respected. The government and the criminal who themselves are without self-respect are and automatically disrespectful are respected just as the bus conductor and sweeptakes ticket vendor are. One is truly respectful when he respects himself and all the rest without necessarily accounting for their birth, blood or bankbook.