Monday, 17 June 2013

Day 175 - Respect your elders!



When I was a kid I was taught to respect my elders. I never asked why, but I had to respect my elders. Whenever I meet the parents of my friends I had to greet them “Tannie” and “Oom”. That’s Afrikaans. Directly translated it means Aunt and Uncle, but it is used even though you are not related. In English terms it is equivalent to Mister or Miss, Mrs.

This was considered good manners and showing respect. If I did not greet this way I would get into trouble, so the only reason I did this was to not get into trouble – out of fear.  All kids greeted this way. What it showed me is that my elders are more than me – I had to respect them, but they did not have to respect me, because I am just a kid. For me that is when I learned that people older than me has more value than me.  Superiority and Inferiority. 

Like so many things in my life back then I did not question this. I did not ask or wonder why I must respect my elders. I only accepted the answer “ It’s good manners” – Why is it good manners? “ It’s the way it is”. That is not an answer.  The better answer was that older people went through life longer than I did and thus they need to be respected for that, but that is still not a valid reason.  Calling an elder by their name was very disrespectful.

If someone actually did something – like save a puppy from a burning building – Respect. Or someone rescuing a person that was busy drowning – Respect.  A group of people finding practical solutions to end suffering – Respect. Respecting people that are older than you just because they lived longer and it’s good manners is not real respect. It is actually Inequality. It promotes the idea that elders and children are not  Equals.

I am not saying we all should be mean to our elders – no. Simply that using fear to enforce superiority is not the way forward. A change in starting point is required.

Children, parents – older people: we all come from the same ‘physical substance’ and are all equal/one in terms of physicality and so are All other beings on this earth also unified within physicality/physical substance. No one has more ‘life’ / ‘physicality’ than another.  Respect is that we respect life, the physical – this physical existence. We consider our actions and the consequences thereof and how it will influence another life. Respect that we are in fact equals and none are more than another. The only “problem” we as humanity have that is promoting inequality/separation is the Mind/Consciousness and how we “perceive” ourselves and others through it that we do not consider our “physical equality and oneness” and how there are more important things in life/living (like getting the human mind and life on earth sorted out) than placing value into how you “greet someone”.

This way there is no fear needed. No superiority and inferiority. No senseless manners that promotes inequality. I would have liked this – it’s common sense.

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