Dignity is a two-faceted concept. On the one hand, it is used as an infinite concept, the highest human value, which suggests that both infant and adult have equal values. On the other hand, it is finite, always changing value (my dignity is always either increasing or decreasing), which we call “human price.”
Dignity and the truth
Each person has a sense of worth or value, sense of the price of his personality, his dignity. Who am I? Am I worthy? What is my value? How much do I cost? What is my true value? What is the truth about me? Personality, dignity, is the center of attention in people’s relationships. Demeaning of dignity is almost the only reason for conflict. Those who lost it are humiliated.
But what is the genuine dignity of a man, his real price?
Nothing is more significant than dignity for adults and children. Everything is related to dignity. The important thing is that there is the highest price for each man and for all men together. This price is – the truth. Therefore all people crave it. People need others to appreciate them by the very highest dignity, by the truth.
The genuine price of a man is the truth about him.
The truth about a man is that man is created for goodness, for infinitely increasing dignity. Everything that increases a man’s dignity is goodness, everything that decreases it – evil. The line between goodness and evil is the truth. The truth is that this line exists. That is why people are sensitive when it comes to their dignity: each action of a man either elevates or diminishes his dignity or other people’s dignities.
Dignity in a human market
Human relationship, communication, and businesses are all about selling and buying things of value. If I buy a product, how much value does it add to my life? If I buy information, how much value does it add to improve my life? If I get respect, which other people pay me, how much does it add to my human value? It seems as though we are at a market place. Everyone are subjects of sale and comparison in this human market.
We “buy” someone (we persuade someone to trust us), and sell someone (we persuade others to trust that someone). People give me an estimation of what they think I am worthy of. If they hold me in high esteem my dignity elevates and I feel good, goodness. If, on the contrary, they underestimate me, they give me a lower price than my real value, I feel bad, evil. People appraise me, what I deserve as a man, and my dignity depends on them.
On the other hand, I myself have my own idea about me, I-image, about my price. I give my own estimation of my worth and what I deserve, thus my self-esteem forms. Sometimes I value myself lower than people think I am worth (I sell myself cheap), sometimes I value myself higher than what people think I am.
Dignity is a finite approximation of an infinite human value. Dignity is a human value and a human price together.
Dignity and goodness
To do goodness to a man means to increase his dignity. Why does it hurt when someone disrespects me? It is because respect elevates my value, my dignity; disrespect brings it down.
Instead, asking for forgiveness is the first step to begin doing goodness to another person, to increase another person’s dignity. Thankfulness is another act of goodness. Admiration, care, and excitement about another person are parts of love, which is the greatest goodness, the greatest increase of dignity.
If from childhood a man’s dignity is protected, he forms the right image of himself, and of the world. I am OK, and you are OK. However, if humiliation begins in childhood and people get used to it, they acquire low self-esteem and learn to not value other people as well. Thus, from generation to generation, like a contagious disease, human dignity continues to be encroached upon and desperately needs protection.
Dignity and freedom
A society is free when it has internally free people. People are free when they learn the truth about themselves and others. The truth is that each man has the highest human value. And everyone strives to prove it in their actions and endeavors.
Internal freedom is freedom from fear of being judged, of being charged a low price, and freedom from doubts about dignity.
The only fear an internally free man has is fear of going against his conscience.
Society knows freedom when its people know dignity.
By A.Aubanova, second edition.
Developing ideas from Parenting For Everyone, by Simon Soloveychik
Dignity What’s That, Sam? – a new self-help fiction by Aigul Aubanova and Victor Dull explores the definition of dignity in a deeper and entertaining way.