Thoughts on the need for respecting our ‘place’ in society

Typically, in the U.S., we try to change our ‘place’, role, or position in society.  This idea seems instilled into us as children. Usually, it is said in the context of ‘improving’ our ‘place’ by getting a better job (that is, making more money or being Mr. Success).  I’ve seen this point of view taken so much that it seems that whatever we do isn’t good enough or is horrible.  If we don’t change our ‘place’ we will live a miserable life.  It’s like some sort of cause to change our ‘place’.  In fact, it seems we usually degrade the very idea of ‘place’ as if it were something horrible.  It’s as if the prospect of changing our ‘place’ is the only hope there is in life. 

What this has done is destroy a sense of the importance or respect of our ‘place’ in society.  There is no respect or consideration for what people really do.  We devalue things that are very important in life . . . and necessary.  We degrade the acts millions of people do every day.  How many times have I spoken of the importance of the cashier, the guy who stalks the shelfs, the janitor, the guy who mows the school lawns, and such?  What do you think these are . . . stupid things to do?  No!  They are critical things in life.  We need them.  They are necessary.  All these things we need . . . and deserve our respect. 

For the fact is that a society is made up of a large number of people.  In order for that society to function well everyone must take their ‘place’ in that society.  Each person has a position, a role, and a purpose they perform to help that society run.  When these ‘places’ are not taken the society falters.  In reality, our ‘place’, our position, our role in society is a very important part of society and us as individuals.  It is nothing to look at lightly.

In many cultures (and in Europe before the Enlightenment) this point has always been made.  In fact, it is often associated with religious belief, such is its importance.  Quite a few cultures believed the ‘social order’ reflected the order of heaven and god and that its disruption would have serious ramifications.  This shows that, for centuries, many people all over the world emphasized and saw the sacredness in ‘social order’ and how we all need to keep our ‘place’ in the world.

But, yet, in the modern world we don’t even know what a ‘social order’ is.  All our efforts have been in destroying it, something millions of people since the beginning of time saw as critical.  The destruction of ‘place’ is no doubt one of the causes of the deterioration of American society.  Look at this place:  no authority, no god, no religion, no male identity, no female identity, father image gone, mother image gone, contempt is rampant, immorality, no examples, no one to look up to, etc.  Is it any wonder? 

Our ‘place’ is critical for ‘social order’.  By holding our ‘place’ society is strengthened and, in turn, we are strengthenedHolding our ‘place’ makes society strong.  Undermining it, unappreciating it, not respecting it, persistent attempts at changing it, all destroy the strength of our society, as the U.S. has shown.

A human being must respect their ‘place’ in society.  This may mean little money and little or no prestige or status.  It may mean nothing glamorous (which is usually the case).  The fact is that most of us are living in this condition anyways.  The majority of the ‘places’ in life are mundane, boring, menial, and unglamorous.  Chances are we’re going to be there anyways.  But we like to think we’re not.  Many people don’t realize it because they like to think they’re not. 

Since we’re here we might as well accept it.  Stand as a human being and see ones value and take ones ‘place’.  Take a look around and see what one does.  In general, we all have many ‘places’ we take in society.  These vary with what we do, our situation, and where we are. These include things like:

  • Our occupation.
  • Being a parent.
  • An example to children and the younger generation.
  • A consumer.
  • A lawabiding person.
  • A responsible person.
  • A friend.

If you look at these, you can see there is nothing particuarly special about them.  In general, all of our ‘places’ are ‘mundane’, common, almost boring.  Everyone does it!  It’s everyday stuff.  We all do the same thing, we just do it in different ways.  And so, from the beginning, its best not to expect ‘glamour’ from ones ‘place’.  That’s the way it is. 

There is also very little money in most ‘places’, typically.  Look around you, how many people make a fortune by holding their ‘place’?  Very few.  I, personally, don’t know any.  Everyone I know is pretty much ‘average’.  This is the normal scenario.  Its the common scenario.  Don’t expect to be a millionaire by holding your ‘place’.  That’s more rare than not.

All this shows that its up to us, as people, to make our ‘place’ important and worthwhile.  We make it important and valuable, not someone else.  There’s no real prestige in it, no real glamour, no real fortune.  It’s all everyday stuff.  We have to make it something . . . that’s you and me.

A ‘place’ requires two aspects of our selves:

  • The social aspect.  This is how we behave in society.
  • Our individual aspect.  This is how we behave as individual people.

Our ‘place’ consists of both these aspects.  Typically, a persons ‘place’ is only looked at from a social perspective.  We tend to look at society to give us the validity and value of our ‘place’ (as if its supposed to hand it to us on a silver plate).  But, in reality, it is rooted in our individual aspect.  Our individual behavour and beliefs end up determining how we react and behave in our ‘place’.  It basically determines how we behave in the social aspect.  What does this mean?  Even though our ‘place’ is socially based we cannot expect society to give it its value and ways of behaving.  That is left to us.

As I said above, ‘place’ is usually ridiculed and condemned-like, at least from my experience, as if it were something bad.  There are a number of reasons why ‘place’ is treated this way.  These include:

  • The ’cause of money’.  A common point of view is that the only good ‘place’ is where a lot of money is made, it seems.  Really, as a human being, that is a poor way at looking at things.  That’s like scaling life down to money:  what a way to live . . .
  • The ’cause of prestige’.  In this point of view the higher our social ‘prestige’ or status the happier we become or so some of us think.  But ‘prestige’ and status are things that make you feel good.  They really have no other use to anyone else. 
  • The ’cause of oppression’.  This goes by the principle that any ‘place’ is a form of oppression.  I’ve seen it compared to a prison, slavery, and serfdom.  These are extreme and ridiculous viewpoints for a common human reality, I think
  • ‘Place’ is often boring and dull.  We look around and see other people who seem to better off than us and, naturally, we get resentful.  As I said above, most ‘places’ are not at all glamorous. 
  • Many ‘places’ are thankless.  Often, there is no appreciation or even a recognition.  Many people do difficult things and play difficult roles that get nothing in return.
  • There are some ‘places’ that can become almost like an abuse to a person.  In some cases, this is true.  But, in other cases, it depends on the person and how they react to it. 
  • The lack of self respect.  Not having self respect makes it so we don’t respect our ‘place’ in society.  This is because our ‘place’ is a reflection of our selves.
  • Lack of consideration.  Some of us just don’t think about it . . . or care.

The respecting of ones ‘place’ can be difficult.  In fact, I think it is for most.  It’s almost like a person has to earn their own respect from themselves, to respect their role and ‘place’ in society.

This entry was posted in Life in general, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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