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Distance In Honour

Updated: May 8

Throughout my life, I have received much respect for my craft and the role I have given myself, but I have rarely experienced love that is not from my parents or family. I have never been in a relationship, and all the women who were in my life are now gone, except for a very distant friend.

Some I have liked, some were only friends, but in the end, they have all abandoned me, for who I am. Those who choose the path of philosophy must take into account the possibility that, like me, they may be more respected than they will be loved.

In respect, there is admiration, but there is also distance. Respect is for what you do, while love is for who you are. Honor is about accomplishment, while love is about being. This is why respect and love are not necessarily the same thing, and they are not mutually exclusive.

As I have written before, there is the role of the sage in conventional stories; the one who is wise and offers counsel to the heroes. Many may respect Gandalf or Yoda, but how many of you can say that you love them as much as you love the heroes? Even I can admit that, when I used to have a meditation teacher, I highly respected him, as I do now, but I felt little love for him. It was not because I hated him or was jealous of him, but because I was seeking his wisdom, not his being.

And that is why I assume that many of you who read me constantly are those who might respect me, but to be completely sincere, how many of you truly love me, like you would love a friend, a partner, and so on? You seek what I have to offer not because of who I am, but because of what I have to offer you. This is not necessarily egotistical of you; this is simply to show that, if you respect me, you do so because of the function I fulfill and not because I am a human being. That is, at least, what I theorize.

Love, which is not necessarily romantic, is all about the person or object. It is a combination of joy, passion, and admiration for who the person is. Not every form of love involves respect. An abuser may love the one they abuse, but they will not necessarily respect their right to safety and wellbeing. Some lovers are violent, while others are manipulators. Love and honor combined is for those who appreciate one another, while also being considerate of and appreciative of them.

When you buy an apple at a convenience store, or listen to a musician on the internet, surely you don't necessarily love the clerk or the artist, but you do respect the services they provide, don't you? The very same is true for the philosopher, because philosophers too are service providers, as long as they go public and do not hide in the shadows.

I do not ask of you to love me, even though I am largely a loveless, solitary person. The last time I went to a party was about 11-12 years ago, which is around half of my current age. The last time a woman hit on me was nine years ago. Since then, I have not known any love, any true intimacy.

As I watch certain shows on Netflix, shows that are simplistic in nature, I am repeatedly surprised at how easy it is for the characters to make friends with one another and live a full life, while I struggled, before the times where I became more monastic. During the times I had a social life, I was never in the center; I was always on the side, a minor. Beyond my own family, I have known little love; little admiration for me as a human being, in comparison to someone who provides a highly appreciated service.

I think I have many admirers, based on the overwhelming number of testimonials I received over the years, but to feel loved... that is an emotion I have only felt a long time ago, before I turned into philosophy, before my search for true satisfaction beyond the common joys of modern life. I wonder how it feels, to be loved again, but I guess that as long as I have the duty, I have bestowed on myself, that is something I resist seeking.

My former master, who taught me the art of philosophizing, sees himself as a common man, even though he is not. He is even married and has a child. Of course, philosophers can experience mutual love, marry, have families, and so on, but unlike him, I have a legacy to make and preserve. He told me that he is underappreciated in the place where he lectures.

I guess that's the difference between me and him. He seeks the shadows, the simplicity of the common man, while I seek exposure and renown as a means of contributing to the world. He cares not if he contributes to the world, for he is a man of anonymity who is afraid of brutal honesty in public. Should he have the things I had, he wouldn't be prepared to admit their existence, and would instead keep them secret.

Do you see now what creates honor in lieu of love? People may love each other for who they are, but if you are too honest about yourself, you may create discomfort that will make people keep their distance from you. I have experienced this myself. However, the entire point of philosophizing is to be honest, with yourself and with others. It is about coming clean with the insights and the facts, even if they are disturbing.

That's how I got Tiffany (false name) to get away from me forever. I was just too honest with her about everything. Full honesty... is not something many people are prepared for mentally. It's not necessarily because they are simpler than you, but because receiving honesty requires tolerance, which not many have.

And that is why you are reading this, correct? You are reading this because you seek something from me, not because you seek me. The function is not the same as the being who serves it, and those whose function is undesirable, will not be respected or loved. This is a "professional" "relationship" between you and me -- contribution converted by consumption. There is nothing wrong with that, but the more one is respected, the more this "relationship" will be loveless. It's not because of hate, but because of the distance created by honor.

Therefore, I can attest that, as a philosopher, I have many readers (or so I believe), but few friends. Friendship requires some extent of love, of the desire to be with one another to the point of seeing each other as more than just a stranger or a regular person you pass by on the streets.

You can learn the following: you might be very respected as a philosopher, but you might also be having to deal with the isolation, created by this respect for you. After all, those who respect a person, also respect the distance they themselves may create between one another.

Honor, ultimately, is the recognition of someone or something as having a more distinct value than other things or beings, regardless of whether that value is objective or subjective. That value doesn't have to be social or romantic; it can be hostile too, like respect towards the enemy. Likewise, it can also be towards those whom you appreciate as being more than ordinary. That's the difference between basic respect and distinctive respect.

Perhaps, if there is life after death or reincarnation, I might get rid of the annoying liability called loneliness, and get to feel, once more, what it is like to be loved like "normal" people do.

I guess that's what Aristotle meant when he mentioned that solitude is only for either a beast or a god. These two entities could be taken metaphorically. One is an outcast of civilization, while the other, a highly appreciated entity.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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