Does Everyone “Deserve” Respect

Does Everyone “Deserve” Respect?

Dignity is not circumstantial.
Kotoda Yahei Toshisada

Have you ever noticed how, if a football team develops into a dynasty, everyone wants to see them get beat? This is because nobody likes to feel inferior to anyone else, and a team who has practiced, worked, and grabbed hold of excellence, makes those who have not, feel inferior. The same principle applies to individuals. Those who have developed their lives to the point of excellence, make others who have not, feel inferior, unless they are very careful about how they carry themselves.

Noblemen discipline themselves to be dignified at all times.
Matsura Seizen

The warrior should develop his life to the point of excellence, while at the same time living in such a way as to not make those who haven’t feel inferior. Yes, this is a tall order on both accounts. It is hard enough to live the life of the superior man who has worked to develop his character through many hours of discipline and training, but once you start to feel that you are making progress, it can be even harder not to make others feel inferior. You have to watch what you say and how you treat those who are less inclined to live a life of honor.

People hate those who make them feel their own inferiority.
Lord Chesterfield

Those who do not live by a code of honor or revere integrity and character, many times look down on those who do. They will ridicule you for your strong beliefs in the warrior lifestyle. The warrior lifestyle simply does not make any sense to them. When they hear you discuss things such as honor, respect, your code of ethics, doing right, etc., they feel as if you are talking down to them or that you feel like you are better than them. Nobody likes to feel inferior, and they despise those who make them feel that they are not living their life to their full potential.

You cannot talk to a frog in a well about the vast sea;
He is limited to his area of space.
A summer insect has no knowledge of snow;
It knows nothing beyond its own season.
Chiu Shu

How do you live a life of excellence and honor without making others feel inferior? The answer lies in respect. You have to treat them with respect, even if you don’t really respect their lifestyle choices or their actions. This is not being hypocritical. It is simply treating others as you would have them treat you. Inside, you may know that men of honor, who live the warrior lifestyle, deserve more respect and reverence than those who don’t, but this fact doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat others with respect as well. Treat everyone with a certain degree of respect.

Each action [of the warrior] is performed from a place of fundamental wisdom…
It is completely different from the ordinary behavior of a fool.
Even if it looks the same, it is different on the inside.
Takuan Soho

Moreover, you don’t have to actually respect someone in order to treat that person with respect. This is a fact that takes a little getting used to for most people. You can have very little or no respect at all for someone, and yet still treat them with respect. No, this is not being hypocritical. This is simply living according to your own standards, standards which require you to treat people in a certain way, whether they are your enemy or your best friend. You live your life by certain decorum regardless of how other people live.

The man of principle never forgets what he is, because of what others are.
Baltasar Gracian

Treating others with a certain amount of respect and manners has nothing to do with their actions; it has to do with how you have decided to live your life. Does everyone deserve respect and honor? No, not in my opinion. Should everyone be treated with respect and good manners? Absolutely. There is a difference in what someone deserves and in how the warrior should treat them. Treating someone with respect and manners says something about you, not about what they deserve. What do you want your actions to say about you?

The warrior acts first according to his heart and his sense of righteousness.
Kensho Furuya

Warrior Wisdom

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