In today’s video, I hiked for about an hour while expounding on the philosophical theme of dignity. This is the continuation of my previous two presentations (each of which is ~1 hour long):
- About “sorry for being a burden”: https://protesilaos.com/books/2022-10-31-sorry-for-being-burden/.
- On the meaning and purpose of life: https://protesilaos.com/books/2022-11-02-meaning-purpose-life/.
It is not necessary to watch the previous two, as I summarise the points relevant to dignity. Though you may still want to watch or listen to them as they contain lots of ideas.
Overview of what I talked about today:
- I made a mistake for saying that “today is Thursday”. It is Friday, 4 November 2022.
- Explanation of the underpinnings of “sorry for being a burden”. In short, it consists of (i) selfcentredness, (ii) obsession that turns into a bias that reduces others into the opposite of what the object of obsession is, and (iii) a rationalisation that self-loathing or self-hatred is a virtue because the person only does it for the good of others.
- Self-loathing masquerading as altruism is not really altruistic because it still contains misanthropy (misanthropy==hatred of humans) for someone: the self.
- Note what “meaning” in life is. Basically, it is a subjective evaluation of experiences in one’s life that keeps them going. When we find meaning in things we do, we continue doing them.
- I decouple “purpose” for meaning for reasons that I explain at length in the aforementioned presentation. The gist is that we can have meaning without it.
- Dignity is the inherent worth of someone. Loss of dignity is a subjective affair. A state of mind where the person assess their worth and concludes that their life’s experiences no longer have meaning.
- I don’t think we can say anything about the subjectivity as such. If a person thinks they have no dignity, that is for them to say (this point is revisited and explained further in the video). Though we can still comment on matters surrounding the subjective evaluation as such.
- Consideration of examples that cover matters of tunnel vision, the balance in one’s life experiences when seen holistically, and the dynamism of the case (basically, the lack of a person’s omniscience and how that relates to hope). I essentially ask the person to set a high bar and not take this issue lightly.
- Comment on matters of euthanasia and suicide in reference to the movie “Mar adentro”. In short: there comes a point where the person is stating in full conscience that their life has no meaning to them. We should acknowledge their agency, the dignity inherent therein, and accept their decision.
- There cannot be an objective, one-size-fits-all criterion because that contradicts subjectivity. What a person thinks of their own self is no longer relevant if some committee/authority decides on their behalf. Generalising this means that dignity cannot exist, as each individual’s inherent worth would be cancelled through the denial of their agency and capacity to know what they feel.
- More comments on suicide and how it is narrow-minded (i.e. wrong) to dismiss concerns for dignity as merely one seeking attention.
At several points in the video I show some breathtaking vistas and use them as metaphors for our life. We may be walking on a dirt road, thinking that it is like all other dirt roads we have traversed before. But we do not know what we might find at the next turn.