Social status

Social status

Do you often wonder how we socially position ourselves? I find that most of us, especially when we are young, nurture some form of status to give us a place in the hierarchy of society. Some, of course, are ill-conceived — bordering on amusing. Here, I am thinking of the individuals who constantly boast of their sexual exploits or their money. Usually, when we blatantly state something so intimate, it is probably a concocted lie.  

How then does one comfortably place oneself in the community of men, so to speak? Diogenes the Cynic (1) had no respect for status and was, supposedly, rude to everyone — both commoner and king alike were not spared his insults. When Alexander the Great visited him, (2) the sage was not impressed. The great king asked if there was anything he could do for the philosopher. Diogenes responded by asking Alexander to move slightly to the right so that his face could get more sunlight — such is the power of wisdom. 

For more mortal people, however, the dilemma still exists. How can we integrate into the community without feeling uncomfortable and yet clearly expressing what we are about? The very beginning of me, I believe, is the realization that I am a necessary being. (3) I am here not by an accident of chance or biology. I am one of God’s children and I have a purpose — I was born for a reason. It is then up to me to uncover my assigned mission in life. This can only be achieved through meditation, prayer, and practice — in short, trial and error. Though initially hidden, the answer is there.   

Numerous figures in history come to mind. One of the most enduring is Einstein himself. Many of his ideas and theorems were created when he was relatively young. (4) But these took time to come to the foreground. He was noted for his modesty. How can I be unpretentious and still powerful? Attempt this novel way: once you decide on your reason to live, try to enunciate it in a refreshing and attractive way. I do not firstly say that I am an educator, for example. I state that I promote critical thinking and time. If you learn to think, you will take hold of your time and how to use it. In that same vein, you do not have to say that “I am a salesman.” You could say, “I present innovative ideas to curious minds” — and so it goes. Finally, place your private insecurities about the way you look, your private relationships, or your surfeit of money where they belong — in the closet. These should not be your raison d’etre. Thus in this way, you may feel comfortable positioning yourself in the world.  

A closing thought: It is important to feel as if your life has value and vitality. Anthony De Mello (5) is noted for telling us that the exterior world is not who I am. When I awake in the morning and I am in a bad mood, simply comment that “it” is having a bad day. To paraphrase, the inner me is fine. His is an interesting approach to function in the community. 

To sum up: This week, we spoke about how to feel at ease in the world.  

To be noted: From Thomas Mann (6) — Beauty can pierce one like a pain. 

Just for fun:  

For reflection:  

This week, on your dynamic walk, please ponder on how to present yourself in the world — your own personal style. 

Every day look for something magical and beautiful. 

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great! 

Quote:  I must know who I am. 

Footnotes: 

1)Introduction to Diogenes the Cynic 
2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_and_Alexander
3)God and Other Necessary Beings
4) The Secret Life of Albert Einstein
5) Nothing Has the Power to Upset You by Anthony De Mello
6) Thomas Mann

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