It isn’t enough to simply state that respect is a malicious value. It isn’t even enough to show how it contradicts something like sincerity. It must be shown how, by holding to the value of respect, life becomes worse. How respect causes people to act in such a way that they stop themselves from living the kind of life they deeply want, from living a life in which they engage with their fellow human on a deep and significant level.
Let me be explicit in my presumptions. I presume that everyone wants to be free, that everyone wants to have the kind of interaction with those that they love that is characterized by an open-ness, by an honesty of communication. I presume that one would be deeply troubled by the realization that those who they loved found being with them arduous.
So respect forces us to wear a mask when in the presence of those who we respect. This becomes evident when you compare the way you behave around your close friends to the way you behave around those who you “respect”.
In my case the way I behave with my “mates” is quite different to the way I behave around my grandma. This isn’t the result of my grandma being a cantankerous old so and so; she is actually a wonderful old lady though she is in the thrall of an abusive system of values. Rather this is the result of my conditioning. A conditioning that is so implicit in it’s action that I find it very hard to counter. It’s probably a conditioning that wasn’t picked up by an explicit disciplining on the part of my parents but rather picked up by watching how those around me behaved towards certain people.
It isn’t just me that is conditioned in this way but my whole family. As a result there is a lack of common ground between me and my grandma’s generation. Due to the lack of common ground and the value of respect socializing with that generation becomes somewhat awkward. It’s not that there is any conscious realization of this. Or rather I have come to consciously realize this but that has been as a result of treating my own experiences in the same way that I would treat a text. That is by applying the same hermeneutical techniques to it.
Because of this respect and the fact it coerces one into wearing a mask and the fact that wearing a mask is arduous it then causes people to distance themselves from those they respect in this way. Though the two parties love each other respect – in it’s insidious malevolence – has caused them to become distant. In fact respect is so subtle in it’s action that it uses love against itself. The reason I maintain an attitude of respect towards my grandma isn’t because I fear what she can do to me but that I do not want to cause her pain which I undoubtedly would if I acted as I normally do. Not that I act in a seriously bad manner it’s just her value system has conditioned her to find actions contrary to it alarming and hurtful! Such actions as swearing or talking about “obscene” things, or questioning various values.