The Status Trip

A lot of people are on this status trip. And this notion of status can be “measured” by a whole bunch of indicators. Nowadays there are a lot of “millionaires”, all you have to do is own a house in London. One of the ones, a regular three bedroomed house, which I used to co-own in London, is now priced above this magical figure of one million. We might attribute status to class and this whole snobbery thing is a very common subject in British comedy. We might have “brainy” status and we might have status due to our associations. I guess there is some small residual status on this dimension for me. I was once associated with “brainy” places. We might defer to status as a font of knowledge. And this status thing can go to our heads, we may swell. We have expert status, we have blue-blood and we have this celebrity status. We have VIP status. Status is linked to importance and of course self-importance.

But should cancer strike, it doesn’t care what our status is. Nor would a hungry leopard should we find ourselves alone in the jungle at night.

We can have inverted snobbery. We can have lust for attention and if I understand it correctly on social media we can even make status updates. Status is largely a social thing conferred by other human beings. I doubt God is overly fussed about our mundane status. People of high status will only listen to others of high status. Which suggests that status can be incestuous.

Having cued this up:

How important is this whole status trip to me?

Am I seeking status?

When will I have enough status to be happy?

Are You Important?

This is an interesting question and the nature of the answer will depend very much on where you find yourself in life, your self-esteem level and your notion of what reality entails. You may deem yourself important, a big cheese, a big deal, but how you see yourself may differ from the views of others. There are many who have an inflated opinion and others who go to the opposite pole, worthlessness. Having said this an entire machine can stop working at the failing of a cog, or an “o” ring. Some things which do not at first seem important can be vital.

Perhaps the related question; “do you consider yourself to be important?” is easier to answer. For it stands to reason that on the cosmic scale each of us is very unimportant, we are ~ 2 meters tall, after all. The universe is quite a big bigger than we are.

If we deem ourselves to be important we expect to be treated like a VIP, to get preferential treatment and to have our will be done. We may even have a sense of entitlement, somehow it is our right. Everything should fall into place according to our plans, not for us waiting in line. With our importance we may assume a level of knowledge and understanding which is not warranted. It is a strange thing this importance. There are many things which we are too important to countenance. We would not run some rods through a blocked drain or speak to a “pleb”.

So here is the question repeated:

Do you consider yourself important?

If so, why, what are your criteria of importance?

If not, why not?

Is Humility Hard?

This question is very open. I suspect that genuine humility is scarce, what do you think?

One may assume that one has some humility, but one never knows until tested. There are many things which we cannot bring ourselves to either admit or do, because we lack sufficient humility. And humility may be in our minds, only for the little people. “I don’t have to do that”. It is a strange thing this humility.

There is a lot of arrogance and know-it-all in our modern times. Each of us has that very important opinion that must be heard and taken account of, even when that opinion is not a considered one. Because of the internet there are now hundreds of millions of soap-boxes. This is mine. Many fancy themselves arbiters of knowledge and wisdom, they may even make a living therefrom.

A part of humility must be knowing when and where your knowledge stops.

A part of humility is being responsible for your own actions and thoughts.

To understand humility, one has to look at its opposite “pole” self-importance, this is less scarce so there is plenty of it to see. It is probably easier to work at eradication of self-importance than it is to try to cultivate humility. One has to weed the flower bed, so to speak. And in focusing on this reduction of self-importance humility quite naturally starts to grow. Given space it just evolves. But whilst we are full of self-righteous indignation, pompous self-importance and vanity, there is no space.

Many would choke on this notion of humility. You can see public relations humility, say when a corrupt official pretends, goes on gardening leave, for strategic purposes. All the while they are spitting nails quietly. It is a humbling experience through which they do not gain humility, only resentment.

When we are brought face to face with our own ego, we do not like it overmuch. And even when we think we have it done, we are wrong. There are many false summits. Our vanity and arrogance can quickly flair up again.

Having cued this up:

Do I have humility?

Is it hard?

Is there any point in cultivating this humility thing?

Being Offended

In our times, being offended by something or someone, is a common state. People are all uppity and offended about a whole bunch of stuff and now because of social media, all those huffs, all that indignation and self-important “hurt” can be shared globally. Many join in with the latest rant, the latest sense of outrage and offence. It is possible to be in a huff pretty much all of the time. Never before have there been so many “offended” people. The number density of these corelates well with the global self-importance epidemic. Life simply isn’t fair, and many seem to feel the need to share their indignation with how the world, the universe, does not comply with how they deem it should be.

One might have to walk on eggshells so as not to offend some precious being or other. Because there is a tendency for offended beings to seek revenge, to blame others for their lack of self-control at being offended. Selfie-culture has caused this proliferation of cranio-rectal disease, across the planet.

“Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.”

― Carlos Castañeda

If a few words can send you off into high drama indignation and offence, then you are not centred, grounded, nor do you have equanimity or balance. Caught up in drama-queen-land one is at the mercy of a few syllables uttered into the wind.

At the merest hint, there is an apparent need to utter a rejoinder, a denial or strike back. And of course, we have self-important escalation where one offended person seeks to offend back and the stakes are raised in some bizarre tit-for-tat squabble. If you take a step back it is all a bit silly.

 

As a little exercise:

Keep a tally of each time you feel offended during a given week.

Make a short note to accompany it, giving the circumstances and subsequent behaviour.

At the end of the week sit down and figure out if being offended serves any purpose whatsoever.