Human dignity, what is it? Apparently it is fascinating enough for a South African philosopher/lecturer to travel to Utrecht to discuss the topic for three days at a symposium. That’s what he told us, when he unsolicited sat down at the table at Starbucks where I was drinking tea with Mark. Who I just had met when we looked into each other’s eyes.
Is it really worth it, to debate for days at the University about human dignity, whereas in reality people pass by each other without even noticing? In a world where only a few decide about the destiny of the entire human race? And who let that poor lecturer believe that his definition of human dignity truly matters?
I believed in him. Not because of his concepts as theories are not my cup of tea. But because of what he did; by showing interest and mingle unsolicited into a conversation, grabbing a chair and sitting down. Something the average Dutch person would never even think of. Which is exactly the complexity in the debate on dignity; what is polite for one person, can be quite impolite for the other.
Politeness can very well be one of the causes why people experience that the connection is lost, as I mentioned in my previous blog. There are so many rules nowadays on how we should or should not behave, that we simply no longer know how we should connect in a polite manner. But does it truly matters whether we approach someone from the left or the right or does the intention matters why you do it? Since when is it wrong to show genuine interest, just because you sit down unsolicited?
The outcome of the symposium is unknown to me, but this is in my opinion what human dignity is about. That we open up and become a bit more curious about the other person, that we do show respect and at the same time are open to the respect someone else is showing us, even if it is shown in a different way. Because it is all about someone’s intention. Does the other person, from his heart, truly wants to respect me and my esteem? If so, feel free to join. For example for a cup of tea (green please 😉 Or a Two minute connection.