“I don’t like talking to him” she said. “That’s perfectly ok” was my reply “but for what reason”.
She continued “Well, he is just not our class…. you know…..hanging around with him won’t be of any good”
It was a setback for me. Because both the second and the third person in the above conversation were my friends. And I wasn’t aghast by her decision to shun him, but by her reasons.
IMAGE – its what we screw our lives up to protect. Right from the time we learnt how to read and write, we have been safeguarding a virtual effigy of ourselves. Something, that we know is not our true self, but what we want the world to believe we are. Because we opine that the world judges us on the basis of it, and because we do the same when we judge others. And while it appears quite frivolous at a glance, we are all guilty of the same.
Inside the chambers of our minds, we all pass judgements – that person isn’t classy because he doesn’t speak proper English. She is down market because she wears old fashioned clothes, he is a dimwit as he knows nothing about Hollywood movies. That guy is stupid because he doesn’t understand RAP, this girl is imbecile because she laughs too loud, he isn’t well educated, she comes from an ordinary family – we’ve all been the subject or the object of these verdicts.
The basic error that the human mind commits is that it muddles up personality with character. The choices one makes – the music one listens to, the food one eats, the clothes one wears – form his personality, his Image…. while the character is much deeper.
Our personality is a function of the environment we are in, while our character is a function of our values….. and just that. Sad though, that in our world, the former takes precedence.
We judge a person’s class on account of his choices and not his values. Whereas in my opinion, class is just an aura of confidence, that is being sure without being cocky. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It’s the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life in the face. Class bespeaks an aristocracy. Class has nothing to do with money, education or ancestors. Some wealthy “blue bloods” have no class, while individuals who are struggling to make ends meet are loaded with it.
Class is what stays upright when everything else falls apart. Class is in the dignity, not in the decorum.
The true Class of a building is in the cement, and not the paint.
I am not too fond of judging people anyway. But then, I believe it is quite hard not to. However, we must at least get our parameters of judgement right before drawing those conclusions. See a person – not a rank, not a title, not a degree – just a person. And you may probably do a better assessment.
And having a personality to cover up the shortcomings of our character isn’t such a bad thing either. We don’t necessarily need to show our real self all the time, but we can at least appreciate the ones who do.
There lies the onus !