The Rationale Behind Looking Up & Down to People

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

What’s the rationale behind this double standard?

Will start by assuming that looking up to a person occurs when:

  1. We appreciate certain qualities.
  2. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities another 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 than self-possessed qualities.

Following the rationale above, we can say that…

“It is okay for people to look up to a person and it is 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, but it also drives people 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, to suppress ego and to reject inequality.

In other words. If I value humbleness, I look up to a person and believe that this person is better than me (i.e. we are not equal), and I also expect this person to be humble and not believe that he or she is better than me (i.e. we are equals), otherwise this person is not 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.
  2. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities another person possesses.

Keep in mind, when humbleness is not an appreciated value, a person must have a motive to suppress ego and accept inequality. There are various motives that one can think of, perhaps opportunity would be an obvious motive. For instance, a person believes that by looking up to another person he or she now has a clear visual representation of what “being better” looks like, which could ease this person’s mission to become a better person.

Therefore, looking up to a person rationally occurs when:

  1. We appreciate certain qualities.
  2. We don’t appreciate humbleness as a quality.
  3. There’s an opportunity or other motives that could suppress our ego.
  4. We acknowledge that we do not possess the same qualities another person possesses.

Here’s another question: Do people ever rationally look up to people?
I bet they do. Think of a scenario of a student that is not 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.

 

Looking up and down to people irrationally can be perfected by empathy while looking up and down to people rationally can be disrespectful, so why do people attach themselves to such relationships? Could these relationships make people excel in what they do? Can these relationships make people better? Are they healthy relationships?

You tell me. Feel free to share your thoughts down in the comments section.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer