Dignity

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Dignity is an interesting concept. It's constituted by our humanity, the simple fact that we are human. It's the right to be respected, valued, for our own sake. To be treated ethically.

One interesting observation I recently encountered talks about how 'group dignity' is a much more fragile concept than 'individual dignity'.

Individual dignity is granted by the fact that we are human. A fact no one can undermine. Group dignity, on the other hand, is granted by social importance. Different social groups are perceived as less/more important, less/more valuable, less/more fragile. Doctors are more respected than street cleaners. Teachers get more credit than store clerks.

This results in under-appreciated groups feeling side-lined, left out. That lack of perceived dignity shows up in unionizing efforts, protests, disobedience etc. If you're a politician, and you want your opponent to loose, all you have to do is portray them as someone who is degrading a key part of their electorate. Trick number one in every populist's handbook.

As an individual, it's important to separate these two. Group identity is not equal to your individual identity. Both are important, both need to be respected, but they are not the same thing.

You => Group. Not the other way around.


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