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How Relevance and Honour are Intertwined

Updated: Mar 16

A military man.

The Igniting Spark of Irrelevance

For those new to Philosocom, let me tell you about a pivotal moment that ignited my "world-conquest" mission. It began revolving around a woman I fakely call Ms. Chen, my former love interest. Though brief, her presence had a profound impact on my life, much to both our reluctancy.

Our connection ultimately collpased when she dismissed me as "too irrelevant." This word, filled with the notion of inadequacy, sparked a new fire within me. A different fire. I was determined to prove her wrong, to amplify my success as a writer. What started as a positive outlet morphed, I now realize, into a quest for altruistic retribution.

However, after much introspection and grappling with my autism, I believe I understand why she used that hurtful word. Perhaps it stemmed from a lack of respect, a perception of me as unworthy.

Reflecting back, I find no shameful actions on my part. As a teenager, I even composed a waltz for her and proudly shared my first printed book. Yet, this gesture didn't seem to earn me her respect as an equal.

For being the eccentric man I am, I will always be undermined by certain people, no matter what I do. Understanding this, even back then, I never expected her to love me back. I already knew I'm too different for people like her to ever accept me as an equal.

For this world is unjust, and rejects the exceptional for its weirdness, while embraces the mediocre, for its ability to meet collective standards. I see no reason to win the respect, let alone the love, of those who prefer mediocrity above being exceptional. As such, her lack of love towards me, never offended me in the slightest.

During our student days, she'd often disregard me entirely, pretending I do not exist. Ironically, her very presence triggered a coping mechanism – a wave of nausea that plagued me during those dark years, where I was depressed the most.

Years later, after a lengthy silence, she inexplicably allowed me back into her life. Yet, the flame of rejection reignited when she uttered that dismissive word – "irrelevant." Even then, I did not expect her love. I expected her ability to accept me for the strange being that I am.

It was quite unrealistic of me, to expect such a thing from those who relate to mediocrity, and to normlacy. For those who hold genuine respect for the exceptionally different, wouldn't resort to such a hurtful term. It's a word dripping with disrespect, capable of making you feel ashamed for existing, the way you are.

While I may have played a conflicting role in her life, an "anti-antagonist," the final verdict was clear – I wasn't worthy of her respect. People who deem the different as too unworthy of this right, will not supply them the right for respect.

Therefore, the only way to be respected by others, is to be relevant. And to be relevant, is to matter to a context bigger than yourself. If you cannot matter through compliance to normlacy, matter through a great success.

That's how a moral revenge is done -- one that helps others, and not make them suffer as a result of your own suffering.

Why Respect Fuels Relevance

This obsession with relevance led me to a fascinating realization: relevance and respect are intertwined by the concept of recognition. Without recognition, neither can truly exist. Recognition is this:

Agreement that something is true or legal.

You cannot be recognized without the consent of another to do so. Although you cannot control them, through influence, it is your prerogative to get them to recognize who you really are, and what you're capable of. This leads to the next development of the word:

If you are given recognition, people show admiration and respect for your achievements.

Think about it. If you don't recognize something or someone's value, disrespect and even hostility can easily follow. Good qualities are to be recognized or they will be overlooked in the name of negative biases; products of the whole-person fallacy. Online trolls exemplify this perfectly. Their mockery stems from a fundamental lack of recognition of the target's worth.

The same applies to being on the path to philosophership. You can't contribute as optimally if you're not recognized for your efforts.

However, the harsh truth is that neither relevance, recognition, nor respect are fully within your control. You can't force appreciation, and the same goes for forcing love. Resorting to tyrannical tactics, on the other hand, would not make people appreciate or love you. You would instead make them enter a reluctant victim's mentality, whether they deny it or not.

Instead, it needs to come genuinely. It's like why many students don't like school -- they are focred to go there. They are not convinced to like going there. Their consent isn't respected, so they themselves don't like school in turn. Should they respect the teachers, it is not done, neccearily, as an authentic behavior, but as a prouct of their own oppression. It isn't genuine, unless they truly respect their teachers, deep inside.

So, if I want to make a significant contribution with my content, I need to earn the respect of others. This respect, in turn, hinges on their genuine recognition of my value and the value of my work. I cannot force it, so I won't force it. The only genuine way to do it is by being a good human being and by adding additional value to people. It's one of the core points of Philosocom.

Appreciation should be freely given, not coerced through fear or deception. While some may achieve a semblance of respect through these tactics, it goes against my core principles. If I need to deceive, I would only do it through masking, for it is a necessary evil in a world that condemns the self for what it really is.

Information travels fast online. Past actions can resurface to paint you as a hypocrite. Every word, decision, and behavior can be lambasted, making consistency and integrity imperative for your efforts in this contemporary age. A single YouTube video, exposing contradictions, can tarnish your reputation permanently. Make sure you're ready to be lambasted accordingly.

Ultimately, self-respect is the key. When you hold yourself in high regard and live authentically, you naturally attract those who find your authentic way of existence, relevant to their own. After all, a hypocritical public figure is ultimately brought down by the very audience they failed to earn genuine respect from.

Respect yourself and your authentic desires by demonstrating them. You cannot be recognized, and thus respected, without respecting yourself enough to not hide it so much. Otherwise the respect you'll earn be towards a mask, a fake self, not towards a self you regularly hide. Earning Respect on the Autistic Spectrum

Looking back on my interactions with Ms. Chen, I recognize my missteps. Breaking a promise to not contact her, portraying myself as a monk despite lingering desires – these were all fueled by my genuine, but misguided, social will to navigate this world.

My autism, with my thirst for knowledge and my own way to connect, often led to a lack of social awareness. And thus, to incompetence.

This, I believe, is why Ms. Chen respected her partner but not necessarily me. The regretful contrast underscored a valuable lesson... That all respect is conditional, despite respect being a human right.

As someone on the spectrum, gaining respect can be a battle where the odds are against me. Some may treat us coldly, mistaking our innocence for immaturity or infantility, even when we are emotionally mature. It's a painful truth, but society remains heavily reliant on social cues, thus making the world inaccessible for the socially awkward. Some people, like my late grandfather, are to be socially awkward until they die. The world would move on whether they live or die.

The world won't make itself accessible to people like me. So I am left with finding my own ways, and being a publicly-read philosopher is one of them. And I choose to be one, relentlessly, with little complaint today.

In my quest to understand respect, I delved into the Bushido code. While I don't support the extreme sacrifices of kamikaze pilots, their unwavering devotion demanded a certain respect. Similarly, the concept of never retreating and even atoning for dishonor with suicide were once highly valued in certain cultures. The Yakuza's practice of finger-cutting highlights the cultural and moral weight placed on reclaiming honor through pain and suffering, caused by the individual's sacrifice.

Respect, I believe, is earned through consistent, meaningful sacrifices – acts that demonstrate your commitment. It could be dressing professionally for an interview, offering accurate directions to a stranger, or simply lending a listening ear. You compromise your impulsive self, or "the Id", by developing and using your "super ego", your moral, higher self.

By justifying your worthiness of respect through acts, you build the influence necessary to make a genuine impact and achieve true relevance.

Do not expect anyone to love nor respect you, otherwise. It would be too unrealistic, to get these attributions, without extensive work done by you. The autistic need to do the same, even if it will be met with greater difficulty.

But it is possible, nonetheless. If you're autistic, like me, never expect it to be easy.

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I relate so much to this! I wonder, though, if you're making the same mistake I made over and over.

Most women I've met were not interested in what I would consider to be a relationship. Instead, they were looking to have experiences they wanted and someone to have them with. In fact, they tended to be looking for someone who would create those experiences for them.

In other words, it wasn’t about the person, for them. It was about what they thought they could get with or get from the person. It was about transacting experiences.

I'm not looking for a transactional "relationship" (aka "reciprocity" in Steven Pinker's great chalktalk: "Language as a Window into Human Nature".) I reserve…

Replying to

Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, this is a very refreshing distinction for people in general. Unfortunately some people see others as but means to an end, in this case, it's for new experiences to be made. The better people we should be looking for, I believe, are those whose loyalty surpasses the need for constant adventure.


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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