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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Status of Status

A basic motivation for human behavior is acquiring social status. When I look at my own behavior over the years I am struck by its importance. I have to literally ask is there anything at all that I have done or not done that did not relate somehow to my desire to have or acquire social status? Perhaps at base it shows a profound insecurity. I think, if only I can get it, then somehow or other I will be safe and will no longer have to fear or envy others so much.

For me, most especially status means that one has the tremendous asset of influence. As a Christian one of the first things I consider is the role of Christ on earth. Jesus has had tremendous influence on society. But the question immediately arises—if he originally did not have a group of apostles among which he had great status, would I know anything about him at all? Jesus as a complete loner with no group within which he had significant status would have been a death sentence far surpassing in importance his crucifixion. Too often, I think people like myself who were gifted with much love as a child tend to belittle the importance of status. Love, after all, is an important source of status itself and can bestow upon us an inherent and unforgettable measure of it. One of the most important insights stemming from the love of God is that each and every human being is endowed with the grace of status and its favor. God's love provides significant if notfor many of ussufficient status.

Certainly, one of my desires in doing this blog is to attain (maybe with a little sense of desperation) a following of readers among which I can hope for some status and ultimately influence. As I have said before, is there anything (including my marriage) that did not at least share somewhat in this aspect? I have three masters degrees—to what extent does this represent a search for truth and to what extent a search for status? I have “adopted” children that I love dearly—but to what extent did my original befriending of them derive for a need to achieve some measure of status? Here again I return to the thought that one of the most important of all sources of status is love which can be seen as “deep regard” or “unconditional status.”

Where does this line of thinking take us in the end, to cynicism and a yearning to free ourselves from such selfish objectives? Well, to the extent that status equates with love (special regard), the desire to escape its pursuit will be fruitless. And the ultimate catch-22 is that achieving the status that is based upon being above the need of it would take us to a sad and desperate state. We all need status (special regard) as is clear from the existence of a God of love who endows each of us with infinite amounts of it. God when devoutly believed in substantially frees us from other status races by showing us that they are races we need not run. We are all equal before God, and that's the end of it. Our role becomes through love to give status to others (and thereby to gain it through the esteem of others and through enhanced self-esteem). But that is the whole point of love—unlike withering snobbery it is mutually elevating and reinforcing. Yet no one should underestimate the skills required to effectively show love.

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