In Search of Dignity

The article “In Search of Dignity” is a very thought-provoking column. It makes one think of what is happening in America right now, it makes one think about how our leaders, important persons, and some of us are acting and living. However, those people that are mentioned by the author should not be construed as a generalization that the code of dignity is gone. In the first place, dignity is not a code rather it is inherent in all of us, it is a way of respecting a person not because he portrays idealism and perfection but because we as human beings are ought to be respected.

The term “dignity” is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “the state of being worthy of honor or respect”. When the idea of dignity is linked to the adjective human it connotes that all human beings have inherent worth and are deserving of respect without prejudice to age, sex, health, ethnic origin, political ideas, or religion. In other words, this respect is owed to every individual for the very reason that he or she is a part of the human family. This intrinsic worthiness of the human person is widely recognized by international law as the primary source of all human rights.

When the words ‘human’ and ‘dignity’ are used in conjunction they form the term ‘human dignity. Human dignity implies the status of a human being entitles a person to respect. It is a status that is primordial and to is taken for granted. Human dignity refers to their inherent value. It refers to the fact that there is an a priori presupposition for value.

Dignity and the manner it are measured by people depends on individual perspectives. For example, a woman with an unwelcome pregnancy might with to abort the child denying it any measure of human dignity. By comparison, a couple who has been denied a child for years may be more than willing to raise that potential child. Human standards of worth are largely dependent on the internal standards of the person doing the measuring. It is not right to say that just because you lived a controversial life and the public knew about your audacity that you have no dignity at all. It is not only a matter of how other people look upon you and what they see in you that dignity should be measured. Inherent worth is intrinsic. It will not change regardless of the perspective of the observe. The substance of a person must be given more credence than his image.

The persons that are exemplified by the author are people who have dignity as well, they are also persons that are dignified in our society, but their dignity has been abused since it is only the part where they have submitted themselves to the “currents of their own passion” that are shown to us by the media and the press as well. Dignity is never lost it is within us. It is only lost by standing still amidst all the negativity and bad things that happen in our life. Dignity is enriched when you rise again when that dignity is abused.

In conclusion, humans have dignity and this is intrinsic. It is not because of their natural goodness, creativity, capabilities, or any other human measures of worth. The ultimate measure of human worth is an external grant of dignity that every human being enjoys. Our badge of human dignity is neither controlled by us nor does it need to be earned. Human dignity is given to us from birth, it is intrinsic to us and does not come from what we do or produce.


David Brooks. OP-ED Columnist. In Search of Dignity.  2009. Web.

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