While it may seem fairly simple to define what respect means, it really isn’t. This consideration is due to the fact that I realized that many people think they know what respect is but I got the very impression that they do not. I am also quite convinced that you agree with me because you too are convinced that you know what respect is and that this is less and less common lately.
Well the word respect, comes from a Latin word that means looking back meaning the action of looking again, looking another time. I am convinced at this point that you will be wrinkling your forehead suddenly cloaked in a veil of perplexity.
However, if you focus more closely, the meaning of this word is not surprising. If we juxtapose the meaning with the expression “to have regard for someone” it is quite simple to understand its meaning. Respect is fundamental to life in society and I often find myself reflecting on how much correlation there is between all those aspects that I call values.
At this point I will try to further clarify my ideas by dividing into groups and classes the various areas of application of this value. An example of classification could be related to the subject. Respect is a property that is received and given. So I will define active respect as that which is given to someone or something and passive respect as the object of the latter.
To give an example, I can have respect for a teacher. So I am an active subject to show respect to my master and he is a passive subject to receive it.
Another classification could be for example the purpose of respect. Like many other characteristics of behavior, I am convinced that respect arises from the need to be together with others in a more or less complex society. The higher the degree of population density, the higher the need to have respect for others.
We can therefore say that in general, from a certain point of view, respect is always an interested attitude, but it can also manifest certain noteworthy characteristics, which in my opinion can undoubtedly help to classify it according to its purpose.
At this point I define as interested respect that certain manifestation of respect that is aimed at achieving an advantage. To give an example, a person may show respect for another who holds a certain job position because he fears retaliation or desires certain advantages.
The opposite, on the other hand, is the disinterested respect that can be granted by those who out of politeness respect older people or those who respect them. As if it were an involuntary movement that is expressed as a result of a certain educational conditioning that is acquired in my opinion by example.
Another example of interested respect is the reverential one that those who hold a certain position considered by society as deserving of respect are so fond of. It is a form of submission through which, in some way, the active subject recognizes a certain status and therefore a better treatment to someone or something.
When for education or culture we give respect (sincere and disinterested) to the human being as such, regardless of skin color and nationality, we can speak of respect not interested. I believe that this diversification is important because in the case where there is a form of reverential respect, equality is lacking. In the case where the second case occurs, one can speak of equality.
I can also think of another classification of respect which is utility. In this article I have set out my thoughts on the social utility of respect in a society. You may be surprised to know that in my opinion, respect, is always useful because in one way or another it benefits someone.
I struggled a lot to metabolize this concept because we are dealing with a certain behavior to benefit a certain plurality more than the individual. It is clear, however, that this as well as other behaviors aimed at living surrounded by others, hides the undeniable advantage of fostering relationships and therefore also our survival within a group of people more or less numerous or complex.
It is not new in fact that there is a significant advantage to work in a group for the common good as ants would do. Without the value of respect, as the human soul is shaken by feelings sometimes very strong, this is not possible in my opinion.
The wisest of us therefore choose to respect everyone without expecting anything in return. In fact, they believe that it is useful to respect the human being as such, the person who excels as a model to be studied, the elderly person as a source of wisdom, the infant because it represents the future and also institutions and offices, sometimes covered by unworthy, truncated and incapable people.
Otherwise it would not be possible for humanity to live with the order necessary to ensure a certain degree of prosperity. Some of you might object at this point that the world is not a model of order and prosperity. This is true but I could still reply that the world today is very different from when we lived in caves or when slavery existed.
In some ways society has changed since then and if we have to take stock, all in all, progress, regulation and order have brought not insignificant benefits to our species and also to the quality of our lives from an individual point of view.
Although the ant farm is a model of order and prosperity, there is no glory for the individual ant. Unlike these animals, we have somehow managed to build up hope for self-determination and affirmation. We can live our lives chasing our dreams that most of the time are individual and selfish in nature while working and doing our part. More or less consciously, we make our contribution in a society that is increasingly dependent on plurality.
Each of us demands and deserves respect although each of us, at least once in our lives, has done or thought something that does not deserve it. A certain degree of wisdom is required to understand that all human beings make mistakes at some point and that everyone is entitled to a second chance. Furthermore, I want to be able to hope that during this article I have sufficiently expressed my belief that respect is an essential value in a plural, collaborative, and fruitful environment.