The Tao of Roark

by Peter Saint-Andre

Chapter 16: Respect

Previous: Chapter 15: Responsibility

Respect is the essence of responsibility in a social context.

Respect is my recognition that you too are a choosing being, that you too must make your own decisions and select your own values and achieve your own happiness, that you too have the same desire that I do to succeed in living a fully human life.

If I am a good and worthy person, the prospect of earning my respect challenges you to become more responsible and to live up to your highest standards. If you are a good and worthy person, you inspire greater responsibility and moral ambition in me. Earning respect is not living second-hand, as long as I choose to interact with those I can honestly respect and admire. Calling each other to responsibility is one of the great values of friendship; yet here too my actions can also influence the broader culture of interactions I have with all people, not only those who are dear to me.

There is a beautiful Sanskrit word that captures the essence of such respect: namaste. It means: "the divine in me honors the divine in you".

Next: Chapter 17: Self-Trust

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