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Reputation, selfishness, and self-worth

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posted on May, 22 2012 @ 04:34 AM
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I was reading Marcus Aurelius' meditations and most of it is absolutely profound, though hard to understand.
One particular section that struck a chord with me is this:


I have often wondered how it should come to pass, that every man loving himself best, should more regard other men's opinions concerning himself than his own. For if any God or grave master standing by, should command any of us to think nothing by himself but what he should presently speak out; no man were able to endure it, though but for one day. Thus do we fear more what our neighbours will think of us, than what we ourselves.

Book 12
(If you want to read more of his meditations but it's hard for you to understand his writing style, I suggest listening to an audio version.)

This made me wonder why it is that, as selfish as we are, we are so concerned with how others perceive us; is it an evolutionary development? Perhaps in our primeval state one's reputation/honor within his or her tribe was essential to survival and reproduction, and so self-consciousness was valued over self-expression and selfishness, but we don't live in tribes/villages anymore.

While it can be argued that reputation is still important in contemporary society, I think that it is much less of a driving force than it once was in terms of survival. If reputation and how others perceive us does not attribute much to our survival anymore, should we be concerned with it?




posted on May, 22 2012 @ 04:58 AM
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hi op

i was like that a few years ago
worried about what others think of me
then events happend that changed me
and i realised that i was paranoid and thought "wtf wasted a few years cos i was para"
it was situations that forced me to meet complete strangers, and realised after a couple of minutes
i make people laugh and feel comfortable to talk to me
and i could have done this years ago..
its not so hard once you break an atmosphere..
E.G
i cant shut my mouth in a lift (elevator) wen there is a few people
and that gets a good laugh
sorry going on now, i think its this lovely bit of sunshine in britain today
edit on 22-5-2012 by davesmart because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 05:49 AM
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reply to post by DestroyDestroyDestroy
 





I have often wondered how it should come to pass, that every man loving himself best, should more regard other men's opinions concerning himself than his own. For if any God or grave master standing by, should command any of us to think nothing by himself but what he should presently speak out; no man were able to endure it, though but for one day. Thus do we fear more what our neighbours will think of us, than what we ourselves.


I took this to mean that basically we compare our value by judging our self worth by how we perceive other people. Its not that we value our reputation, but that through our own lack of self worth we need to look for ways to "measure up" to others peoples standards. A good example of that is our value on material possessions so that we have just as much as our neighbor so we don't feel inferior. Religion is another example: how many of us exactly believe what we are told? Instead we put on the show of taking our children to Sunday school and maybe attending high holiday church events so that our peers don't judge us as being lacking in values.

Thats not reputation/honor but a need to put on false hoods to not feel lacking in our own worth. Ego?



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 06:22 AM
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reply to post by itsallmaya
 


It is ego to an extent, but there seems to be, in just about every person, a desire to be liked by peers, which doesn't make sense considering we're such selfish animals. Furthermore, in addition to this desire to be liked, many people wish misfortune on their peers, which is kind of ironic. I suppose then that it's not a desire to be liked but a desire to be envied, which isn't very healthy. Personally I care little for showing off material things; if anything, people who do so are trying to mask a lack of self-acceptance.

There is a difference, however, between a person who complies with his/her ego by drowning in materialism and a person who purchases an object for him/herself without considering how he/she will be perceived by others; for example, some guy who has been a fan of cars his entire life will buy a car because he actually wants it for himself, whereas a pretentious guy who has an insatiable desire for acceptance and envy will purchase a car to show off and incite envy in others.



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 06:27 AM
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reply to post by davesmart
 


I was paranoid about how my peers perceived me as well a few years ago, then I got into self-actualization and philosophy and realized the paranoia was all unfounded and served me no purpose.

I think a major reason why many people suffer from social anxiety is because we have these ideas in our minds of what is acceptable social behavior; once we start pushing the boundaries, as you did, we realize that reality is not as we had perceived it, and thus our identity and perception of the world changes.



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 07:15 AM
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reply to post by DestroyDestroyDestroy
 


Yes, I know where your coming from and agree to a point, especially with the car example. I drive a luxary car and it is my first nice vehicle and well deserved. On one hand I love the comfort, speed, and sleekness and yet I am at times uncomfortable by the looks I get from people I know in a reverse way from what we are discussing. I actually feel embarrassed by driving something very pricey and statusy.

Getting back to the quote though, I still feel that primarily in our Western culture, too much emphasis is put on our value as a human being on how we are preceived as opposed to our core values and individuality. How we market ourselves and view others still dominates in our culture more then ever, IMO.




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