Dignity, wikipedia version

by Aigul Aubanova on January 10, 2008

in It's All About Dignity

According to Webster’s dictionary, the word dignity means the quality of being worthy of esteem or honor; worthiness; i.e. the quality being highly valued.

As people usually acquire their qualities during their lives, the definition above suggests that, for example, a child has less dignity than adult. The difficulty in defining this word is that on the one hand, it is used as a changing value (my dignity is always either increasing or decreasing), on the other hand, it is an infinite concept, which suggests that there is the highest worth of each person, and that even an infant has an equal same highest value of a man as an adult does.

Dignity is the highest human value of a man.

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 real price?  What is my true value?  What is the truth about me?  Personality, its dignity, is at the center of attention in people’s community. The demeaning of the dignity is almost the only reason for a fight. Those who lost it will be humiliated and be outcast.

But what is genuine dignity of a man, his real price? The truth about a man is in this 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 increase 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 about their dignity: each action of a man either elevates or demeans his own dignity or other people’s dignities.

Dignity and value

People give me estimation of what they think I am worthy.  If they esteem me highly my dignity elevates and I feel good, goodness.  If, on the contrary, they underestimate me, they give me lower price than my real value, I feel bad, evil.  People evaluate what I deserve as a man and my dignity depends on that.

On the other hand, I myself have my own idea about me, I-image, about my price.  I give my estimation on my worth and what I deserve, thus my self-esteem forms.  Sometimes I value myself lower than people think I worth (I sell myself cheap), sometimes I value myself higher than people think I am.  There is lot of self-help books toward increasing self-esteem.

It seems like we are at a market place.  Everyone are subjects of sale and comparison.  But dignity has nothing to do with the trading because infinite concepts don’t act with finite concepts.  Dignity as the highest human value is an infinite goal to strive for.

Dignity and goodness

To do goodness to a man means to increase his dignity.  Why it hurts when someone disrespect me?  It is because respect elevates my value, my dignity; disrespect humiliates.  When parents ask their teenagers for respect, they actually ask their children to do goodness to their parents.  Unfortunately, when relationships are already too bad, disrespect is mutual.  Teenagers especially need their dignities to be highly appreciated.  They crave for their parents’ respect, not in return for their respect, but for the sake of their dignities as a highest value of a man.  If parents don’t understand this fact and continue to complain, to accuse, to blame, they continue to encroach upon their children’s dignities.  They continue doing the opposite to goodness, i.e. evil.  Thus, from both sides people dig the tunnels of evil.

Instead, asking for forgiveness is the first step to begin doing goodness to other person, to increase the other person’s dignity.  Thankfulness is another act of goodness.  Admiration, care, excitement about another person, these actions are parts of love, which is the greatest goodness.

The difficulty in human relationships comes from the fact that there are two related movements: from man to the world, and from the world to man.  If from childhood a man’s dignity is guarded, he forms the right image of himself, and of the world.  I am OK, and you are OK.  However, the humiliation of human dignity 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 generations to generations, as a contagious disease, human dignity continues to be encroached and desperately needs a defense.

Dignity and freedom

Society is free when it has free people.  People are free when they learned the truth about themselves, when they carry the truth with dignity, when they are internally free.  Internal freedom is freedom from fear to be judged, to be charged a low price, freedom from doubts about dignity.

The only fear internally free man does have is fear to lose his honor.  Free man is afraid to go against his conscience.

When I encroach upon another man, I receive an internal message of doing something wrong, doing evil.  This message about what is good and what is evil is called conscience.

However, when someone is encroaching upon me or other people, the same message about the violation of the justice raises in me the feeling of indignation, as if my own dignity was encroached.

Society knows freedom when its people know dignity.

By A.Aubanova, 2006

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug M. February 7, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Dignity — Developing ideas of the book Parenting For Everyone *** Well, you’ve gone to great lengths to write a nice article on your webpage with the above title, to explain your concepts. All I can say is it’s really too bad you used the word “price” throughout your thesis. Over and over — wrongly. Try as you may, you are not making any sense. None of what you’re writing here makes any sense to English-speaking people. The word “price” refers to something…an assigned, literal amount which you “pay” to receive something. Either it’s $$ cash, or some other thing you “give up” in exchange for something else. In the context of your writings, your use of this concept of “giving up something in exchange for something else” — i.e. the “price” assigned to an object — it just doesn’t make any sense the way you’ve used the word. All you’ve done is given me a headache from trying to make sense of something that makes no sense to anyone. If you really mean the concept of “value”, i.e., a person’s intrinsic “value” — this is fine. But don’t call it “price”. People don’t have a “price”. They aren’t cheeseburgers. They’re not cars. Don’t you know this? And then you’ve got the problem that you’ve also used the word “value” repeatedly, in your essay already — and my headache I have over the misuse of “price” is so great, I couldn’t bring myself to attempt to understand how you might have twisted the real definition of “value”. My head hurts too much already. You need to pull this article down and rewrite it. Before you do, however, I suggest you go out and get yourself some really good English language dictionaries and a Roget’s Thesauraus. You don’t understand the meaning of the words you’re using — and look at how many times the word “price” appears in your essay! It doesn’t make any sense. Maybe English isn’t your first language. You could try writing out the same thing in your native language and hand it to some compatriots and see what they say about it.

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UpParent February 7, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Dear Doug, thank you for your time and your valuable comment to the article Dignity. You are right – English is not my first language and I understand your indignation for the possible improper use of the English words by foreigners. Naturally, people for whom English is a second language are looking at the English dictionaries more often than those for whom English is their native language. The word “price” (at Webster’s New World) have more than one meaning, and the second to what you mean (the amount of money asked or paid for something) stands for “value or worth”, which isn’t measured by $$.
Studying thoroughly the definition of dignity I do realize that the word price would sound contradictory or even shocking (your comment proves my point), but I do it on purpose. The first reason of using this word is that the concept of dignity is contradictory itself as it includes in itself the two contradictory concepts – the value (infinite) and the price (finite). I must emphasize that there is no just simply one intrinsic value in the concept of dignity. There are two things to take into account. On the one hand dignity is the value – meaning the intrinsic highest human value; on the other hand, “in ordinary thought dignity is something some people have more than others” (philosophy dictionary, Oxford Press). Dignity is something some people have more than others, something that is comparable and perhaps measurable. In real life people do it always – compare each other, judge each other, give people and themselves their evaluation/estimation/appraisal/appreciation or, another word, people give each other their price to measure people’s worth, or dignity.

The two sides of dignity are contradictory. One, the highest human value, suggests that people are equal as human beings, as souls. Many people argue about this. But they came to the idea of the intrinsic value of every person, which is supposed to be highly valued. So the term intrinsic value belongs to the first part of my definition. The second part of the concept of dignity people discuss very seldom. However people feel that second part every second! It, the price part of dignity, is in the mind of everyone, who thinks of oneself and of others. People’s dignity (price part of it) can be higher or lower than people think of themselves. They find out of what other people think of them. When the given price is lower (or higher) than what a person is worthy then the person somehow feels that. It feels unfair, not true. Most grown up people know the truth about themselves.

The root of this word takes its meaning from the word equivalent. Equivalent of what? You may say – of respect and honor – but, to exaggerate my point, it is often a dollar amount. Say, your salary, for example. This is how much your employer gives you for your efforts, how much he or she “values” you as an employee. Or, if you buy an insurance policy for one million dollars, you must have been feeling as “a million dollar” man! (The topic is so huge, we can go on and on about the dollar value to prove that very often people may not use the word price, but they mean it.)

The topic of the dignity is “hurting” because it touches our deepest beliefs and strivings for lofty concepts. We are indignant when we hear that one treats people as subjects to be traded, bought or sold in the human market. Of course, people are not traded directly in terms of dollar amount (They are not cheeseburgers or cars! I understand.) But we must dig deep inside of the concept of dignity to find out what people mean when they look for the truth about themselves and others. It is an endless journey for the truth. It takes life sometimes for one to find out who he or she is and what he or she deserves in this life. What is their genuine dignity. There are not many articles on the subject of dignity, which would grasp the whole meaning of it. So I had to try my best to write one. I will also ponder some more on how to explain better the “price” part of dignity, and perhaps, may reduce the number of this word usage in this article or will write the new one. One again, thank you for your comment. It gives me some food for thought.

A.Aubanova

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Doug M. February 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm

I’ve read what you’ve said here and you defend your use of the concept of ‘price’ of a human being in your thesis. I continue to think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

In 1840 in the U.S., a ‘price’ attached to a human being was an obscene concept which ultimately cost the lives of millions of people in the fight against slavery.

The English language is replete with fine words to describe just about anything…and they cost you nothing, other than a bit of effort to find the correct ones. Once done, people will be able to understand your main argument.

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Barb February 14, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Thanks – I’m teaching a Catholic high school class on dignity, and this helps spell it out to students.

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Deborah C. May 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Doug M: From my point of view, A.Aubanova was completely understandable. As there are many ways to view, interpret and understand a mountain depending on which side you are standing. there is a clear point of view for the price of human dignity. As an Earth Scientist, I am convinced that it is best to conclude after touring the whole mountain (rather than from only one vantage point); still, particular understandings and conclusions can be rational and helpful to the whole. I appreciate A.Aubanova’s writing and hope any revisions chosen would only help readers better understand the concept of price with respect to dignity.

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Mcbride 123 December 9, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I am searching for symbol of dignity. What do we use to signify that which we desire? There are symbols of grace but what is the symbol we use for the highest value humans have?

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UpParent December 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm

I was pondering on the most appropriate association, the image, related to the concept of dignity and described it in my book, which has not yet published. Maybe this would relate to, as you say, a symbol for the highest value humans have?
In order to find an answer to the question “what is dignity?” I was looking for the most relevant image. One day an image of a diamond came to my mind. People value diamonds for the beauty of the hardest natural substance known. I imagined hills of stones containing uncut diamonds in a diamond mine. They are diamonds in the rough. Each of the stones is raw and unfinished. Yet, each of them has a potential value. But in a raw rock the value of the diamond is inside. It needs to be worked on, chipped, cut and polished before it becomes a precious gem of great brilliance, which will be appreciated for its true value, or priced. People too, have their potential precious value. Though it may happen slower people’s great brilliance shows up eventually, after a hard work of “polishing” their best qualities. And yes, people are appreciated for their true value as well. In reality people constantly evaluate each other and give each other higher or lower opinion (price) of who is worthy and how much. (Extract from “The Dignity” by A.Aubanova)

A.Aubanova

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AMY FIELDING January 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm

well i found your article rather boring. it rambled on for quite some time. and left me feeling tired and rather depressed. thankyou for this. one of the many lines did help me with my dentistry but you should shorten it and repost it for others too look!

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UpParent January 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Amy, thank you for your comment. I agree this article isn’t entertaining, and, perhaps, it isn’t even an article. It is sort of a list of statements or thought expressions, which need polishing. I must explain: it was written as is in the attempt to add to the content of wikipedia’s “dignity.” So, in a way, I expected it to be edited and improved. But when I noticed that the whole article was simply deleted for several times I decided to publish it in my website, so that interested readers can still find some of the ideas and definitions useful. I do continue working on the whole concept of dignity but it’s not yet the right time for it.
Amy, I didn’t understand from your comment what relation this all had to “dentistry?”
A.Aubanova

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Ms Flo July 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What is genuine dignity of a man, he is priceless!

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