This means I respect how everyone chooses to live their lives. For all our imperfections as humans, each person has the right to be an agent of their own life.
We are deeply flawed as humans. Yes, as humans we are still on a long path to engage our higher self. Given our biology and our evolutionary brain structure, our progress will be unsteady. We have come a long way since the dominance of our “lizard brains.”
Given our flaws, where does agency reside? Allowing each person to have the autonomy to learn and grow is the best way to keep our flaws from metastasizing. If the same flawed people are managing other’s lives through political force, then our individual flaws are magnified.
Dignity is a way of respecting people, not just by allowing them to be, but by honoring them and their choices. In my current model, everyone is selecting the best choices they have on their menu. My value invites everyone to expand their personal life menu to include choices that serve them and their world better.
Integrity can be defined in an engineering sense, as in the integrity of a bridge. As a result, I will not confer on a government or political force the ability to remove an individual’s right to structure their lives the way they see fit.
This value is reciprocal, as I am of value as a human. I expect others to respect my own dignity and integrity. If they choose not to respect my value as a human being, then I will set boundaries. If they violate my clear boundaries, then they have expressed their own values. I will play the game by their rules as a way of defending myself in the safest and most minimal way possible.
What if everyone was able to live this core value? If so, most of the problems we experience psychologically, socially, culturally, and politically would largely disappear. Trying to fix the “symptoms” of human suffering without addressing the underlying philosophical, psychological, spiritual, social, and cultural context creates even more unintended consequences. The more issues that are fought on a symptomatic basis, the more the underlying problem pops up elsewhere.
Our work as humans is to continuously develop our own mindset that allows us to respect the dignity and integrity of every person.
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