• Modhayan

The Rationale Behind Looking Down on People

“It is okay for people to look up to a person while it’s not okay for that same person to look down on people.”


What’s the rationale behind this double standard?


Looking up to a person occurs when:


  1. We appreciate certain qualities in a person.

  2. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities this person possesses.


It takes a lot of time to (1) appreciate the qualities, and it takes a lot of effort to (2) acknowledge the inventory differences in qualities between the self and others.


One of the efforts required to acknowledge that others can possess better qualities than self-possessed qualities is to accept inequality. Leading to say “this person is better than me” which can also translate into “this person and I are not equal”. Needless to say, that ego can be one of the dominant barriers between accepting inequality and rejecting it. Therefore, it is also required for a person to put ego aside to be able to acknowledge that others can possess better qualities.


Following the rational above, we can say that “It is okay for people to look up to a person and it’s also okay for that same person to look down on people.”


However, for most people, it is NOT okay for that same person to look down on people.


Why?


Because the quality of humbleness is popular, and it drives us to be irrational.


How?


When humbleness is an appreciated quality, the ego becomes dynamic with a touch of contradictory: For people who appreciate humbleness and believe that they possess fewer qualities, the suppression of ego leads to acceptance of inequality, with expectations from those who they look up to suppress ego, leading to rejection of inequality.


In other words. If I value humbleness, I look up to a person and believe that a person is better than me (i.e. we are not equal), and I expect this person to also be humble and not believe that he or she is better than me (i.e. we are equals), otherwise, this person isn’t humble, therefore he or she won’t be better than me and I will not look up to this person.


Humbleness here creates a double standard. The rule of accepting inequality does not apply to everyone and only applies to the self.


Therefore, looking up to a person irrationally occurs when:


  1. We appreciate humbleness among other qualities in a person.

  2. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities this person possesses.


Simultaneously, looking up to a person rationally occurs when:


  1. We appreciate other qualities in a person.

  2. We don’t appreciate humbleness.

  3. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities this person possesses.


Do people ever rationally look up to people?

I bet it they do. Think of a scenario of a student that isn’t humble who looks up to a scholar that is also not humble. The Academy Award-winning American drama film Whiplash could give a good insight on how this relationship looks like.







 

©2020 by Modhayan.