Status Worship

She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College,
That’s where I
Caught her eye.

“Common People” by Pulp

Material world status belongs to the set of conditioned things, and to an extent status is worshipped.  People seek to climb the status ladder, only that ladder isn’t a stairway to heaven. Status brings material benefit, respect just because you have status and some kind of rank or importance in life. Beings tend to only listen to or respect beings of similar or higher status. There is tendency to look down on beings of lower status and status has snobbery running through its veins. In the UK research excellence is “quantified” by measures of esteem.

Even though I don’t earn much cash, I have some residual measure of status because of my educational background and my accent. Thanks to Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines I went to prep school in the UK. So, I have a slightly posh voice. But even when I am working I do not earn enough to trouble the tax man. I earn significantly less that the UK national average. On one scale I have status, on the other I do not. This causes a mismatch with expectations.

People attribute status to all kinds of things, a premier league footballer is a high status being, as are TV personalities and Stephen Hawking. Anyone with a gong from the Queen is high status, there is at least some esteem for them. Though gongs have been given out to some dodgy geezers. If you have blue blood, then you have inherited status.

There is a glamour associated with status, but it can be a double-edged sword. In that, because it is transitory, it can require maintenance and propping up. I am not convinced that status brings freedom. It may bring material power. It can attract the watchful eye of the gossip columns. The adage “be careful what you wish for”; has been shown, many times, to apply.

In my experience people can get all hoity toity if you don’t worship their status or their perceptions thereof. For high status beings much is beneath them. It is hard to imagine them running some rods through a blocked sewerage pipe, for example.

Even in “spiritual” circles there is status. My guru is better than your guru, he has a higher degree of enlightenment. Bishop X has a bigger congregation than Bishop Y. The retreat at Shangri la has a better write up in the good retreat guide. Humans are more than a little obsessed with material plane status. The kudos-ometer must be high, it seems.

There is some small correlation between status and ability, though it is by no means exact. Because status can confer power, those who have it are challenged by the power they have and often fail. Many high-status beings go on to make a right dick of themselves. Status can go to their heads. There can be an inverted snobbery as well. Status is a funny old thing.

As an exercise

What status do I have?

Do I go all starry-eyed about status?

Am I keen to enhance my own status?

If so, why?