Monday, August 17, 2009


Is it likely, or even possible, that people in society can disregard status and rank? Can they not be status-seekers, inclined in one way or another to improve or upgrade their standing, step by step?

Perhaps in more rigidly caste-based and static societies, now or in the past, the motive of social mobility was an unthinkable meme, and people didn’t consider “advancing” in rank any more than pugs think to become greyhounds. One’s lot was one’s lot, God given.

But then, even Eve and Adam, as the old story goes, aspired above their appointed station, envying God and the angels their superior knowledge. And Cain was emulous of Able’s status in their father’s eyes.

Thus it is unlikely we’ll ever not be status conscious, and we’ll always yearn to become more Somebody and less Nobody in the eyes of others and by our own reckoning.

Thus is born one-upsmanship and all the “games people play” to prove their own superiority and others’ inferiority.

How likely, then, is the prospect of a “dignitarian” society’s evolving, a post-Nobody society in which all people are deemed equally worthy of recognition and respect, concern and care?

To be hopeful, if not optimistic, I’ll answer that progress in that direction can indeed be made, even though a fully dignitarian society seems utopian: nowhere to be found or made but in our dreams.