“Self-Respect” by George Carlin

Self-respect is key. The more self-respect I have, the less I am obsessed about whether other people care about me (including other people in particular or other people in general).

However, I also accept the potential value of attention, drama, and fame. I just do not need to spend today living for a funeral with thousands of hysterical worshipers there. (Plus, if I am expecting Santa Claus to reward me with a dozen horny virgins when I die, that could distract me from my actual life today, right?)

So how does self-respect grow? First, I eventually recognize that my perceptions have been immensely biased by social pressures, and then I begin to favor my own discernment over what is merely familiar or popular. I value relevance, effectiveness, and precision. Sincerity is not validity.

Will I ever be disappointed? Sure I will! But they will be my own disappointments, not the same ones that everyone else is producing (and probably whining about for a few decades).
While most people are blaming reality for violating their expectations and disappointing them, I keep updating my expectations based on my observations and experiments. While all the idealists are opposing each other’s efforts to reform reality in various ways, I continue refining my expectations and my discernment. While the loyal zealots agonize over how to protect their so-called Almighty from the latest devil, I am filming another commercial to sell them the right soda for them. (By the way, if any of us think that the Almighty needs our help to defeat the devil, we might want to review what the word “Almighty” means. Fanaticism and arrogance go together!)
So, I make new choices and learn from my choices no matter what the outcome. Simply by focusing quietly on my own discernment, I develop self-respect even before I produce much precision or self-confidence. I had to realize that I was naive before I could begin to reform my presumptions, right?

I also had to go through the phase of heroic revolutionary before I could realize that the whole thing was just a set up. In order to experience self-respect, we don’t need to save the world from anything. To experience self-respect, the big step was to stop doing things that are popular but naive. For instance, I stopped trying to convince hysterical fanatics of their hysterias. I’m no savior. I’m no saint. I’m not Mr. Huxtable but I’m also not Mr. Cosby, who is not really Mr. Huxtable either…. (But try telling that to one of his fans! Most people do not want to know the truth, so I don’t waste time.)

Some people want an idol to worship. It could be their political hero. It could be a inspiring cause. Worshiping an idol, even a comic like me, can sacrifice perceptiveness for blindness. And by the way, Bill Cosby is a very talented entertainer, but he needs to respect the law… because does not have the connections of world-class criminals like Caspar Weinberger or Marc Rich, who can get presidential pardons (so basically they can break any law that they can afford to get re-written).

slef respect- by george carlin



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