The Virtue of Degradation

Write me an Epitaph

To have and maintain standards is a call for exclusion. The higher they are – the exclusive you become. Exclusive – not in the sense of a club membership, but exclusive, in the sense of being excluded. The higher they are – they also become “your standards” as opposed to “standards.” Once considered something to strive for, today they are used as a class system

By themselves, the standards help you navigate a well-lit path through your life – they help you sleep well – they help you keep your sanity intact. But the guidance they offer is also exclusive – it is only for you – everyone else is excluded.

There is a value in degrading (as negative as it sounds) these standards occasionally, virtuous even. It enables amicable communication and social interaction, devoid of casteism. It’s like a passport for crossing the barbed-wire boundaries within the classes. It allows you to become human, even though human you may already be.

An easy life doesn’t teach you anything, I have been told, but I can tell you this – what a difficult life teaches you – is as useless as a door knob that won’t open a door.

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18 thoughts on “The Virtue of Degradation

  1. Yes, standards can be overly exclusive. A negative way of looking at standards is that they are simply limitations. At times, dropping standards is a way of expanding one’s boundaries.

    So would you say it’s better to have no standards? (Is it possible to have *no* standards?)

    Or is it simply a good idea to re-evaluate your standards frequently?

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  2. ==Imugi:
    Welcome to Gaizabonts!

    standards as values, really

    then it isn’t possible to have *no* standards. if we do re-evaluate – then what is the value of the values (read standards), and then, perhaps, they don’t limit you (maybe they limit others?)

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  3. Thanks, Gaizabonts! That’s a really cool title, btw

    I think you are right, but how would your values limit others? Unless you mean societal values, rather than personal values?

    Going back to your original post, I like what you said about “becoming human, although human you may already be”. Something about that resonated with me 🙂

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  4. ==Imugi:
    Thank you! 🙂

    Perhaps they themselves don’t limit – but others see it as a limitation? any values really – that call for interaction?

    🙂

    ==Dharma:
    Thank ye! Am waiting 😀

    *gives embarrassed smile*

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  5. whats so embarrassing, atul?

    anyways, am back, and as always, u have an interesting thougth here. i really appreciate that about u – new thoughts, new fodder for the mind 🙂

    yes, it can be exclusive at times – i guess u r talking about ‘standards of living’ when u say standards.

    could we, borrowing the term from a well known personality, set ‘standards of life’ for ourselves, i wonder? in that sense, inclusivity could well be a standard, methinks.

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  6. ==Dharma:
    No idea what is so embarrassing – I probably meant something else – and was obviously not thinking straight!

    More than just ‘standards of living’ – I guess I am referring the ‘standards’: values that we live by. Inclusiveness, I guess, comes when folks share those standards and all agree to live by them. The differences, if at all, cause the exclusivity.

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  7. “Perhaps they themselves don’t limit – but others see it as a limitation? any values really – that call for interaction?”

    Yes 🙂

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  8. Sometimes, even when the standards are known, it takes time for others to start adhering to it. While there will always be reasons (not so genuine in some cases) for not meeting standards, it is the attitude to meet and maintain virtues/standards; help bridge the gap. Here time plays an unknown variable which kills hope and gives birth to anxiety to degrade the virtue.

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  9. Excellent post you wrote there… it’s the third time i’ve read it this past hour, always coming back to rethink it over.

    It’s funny how in society, having no standards is considered a bad thing, almost lowly and cheap, yet throughout my life, people with the highest standards have quite often been the most rigid and the most boring.

    Sometimes people are forced to lower their standards due to a bad financial situation or a social situation they’ve got no control over.

    I seem to be thinking out loud here so I apologise for the ramblings, but that last line is certainly giving me food for though.

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  10. ==Andrew:
    You make, by far, one of the most interesting arguments for this post @ “…people with the highest standards have quite often been the most rigid and the most boring.”

    For two reasons: (a) read the post a fourth time from a perspective of someone who may have maintained those high standards that we are talking of, and (b) the word ‘highest’ is a degree of those standards, essentially – relative – to every time another person comes in contact. That degree of height is directly proportional to the boredom index. High, Higher, or Highest, we all keep falling in one of the three, depending on who we talk with.

    What would someone with a higher-than-highest standard say to someone one who uttered the last sentence?
    🙂

    And, you are the eighteen-thousandth visitor at Gaizabonts!

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  11. I’ve been thinking about the last line a little bit more, and I can’t decide whether someone with higher than highest standards is someone who has an easy life or not.

    On the whole I think they make life very difficult for themselves, risking having most things they do/see/come across not measure up… life for someone with high standards must be very disappointing, and more than a little lonely referring back to the exclusivity you mentioned earlier on.

    However this is just my opinion, and can only be my opinion, and it is therefore just as correct as yours or anyone else’s opinion, as it is influenced by my standards, the guidance they offer you yourself have said is only for me… everyone else is excluded.

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  12. ==Andrew:
    Well said @ last part 🙂

    I do believe too that life does become difficult for those that maintain those ‘high and exact’ standards. I guess, at the same time, it is, in a weird way satisfying for them that they live by those standards – and don’t compromise. Am sure, that they always wonder, however, if they should!

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  13. I think that it can only be satisfying to live by those standards as/if it takes effort, or involves work maintaining them. If high standards were innate to an individual, then there would really be no recognition of them, therefore no satisfaction as such of a “job well done” in upholding them.

    If it is the case that we actively decide how high our standards are going to be, or how far our standards are going to be allowed to guide us, then they are even more exclusive in that no matter what happens around you, the higher the standards you have the more difficult life is going to be, and that you can’t then look down on other people for not living up to them… they are your fault.

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  14. ==Andrew:
    I doubt if high (or any other) standards are ever innate to a person – they get developed over time based on influences, circumstances, and situations. And there is definitely some satisfaction when they are “maintained” and something good comes out of them.

    Second part – food for thought – post-worthy, I say! 🙂

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