KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics

Chapter 8: Harmony in Family – Understanding Values in Human Relationships

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5


Assumed basis for respect today

Our basis for respect today is largely quite contrary to our discussion above. Instead of respect being a basis of similarity or one of right evaluation, we have made it into something on the basis of which we differentiate i.e. by respecting you, mean you are doing something special because you are special or have something special or are in some special position. Thus, all of us are running around seeking respect from one another by trying to become something special.

Today, we are differentiating in the name of respect. We either differentiate people on the basis of their body, on the basis of their wealth and possessions, or on the basis of their beliefs. There is no notion of respect in terms of right evaluation. Thus, there is no real feeling of relationship, only one of differentiation.

DigitalG1 Types of Differentiation

There are different ways we differentiate between people today! Let us look at them in detail one by one:

On the basis of body


We have such notions as, respect males more than females, or even the other way round in some societies. We ignore the fact that being male or female is an attribute of the body and not an attribute at the level of ‘I’. In many countries, people even prefer a male child to a female child, and in some other societies, the other way round.


If the person is of the same race as oneself, then we treat them differently. For example, we differentiate on the basis of skin colour – white, brown, black etc. or on the basis of whether the person is of the Aryan race, Mongolian race, etc., or on the basis of caste, taking some caste to be high, the other to be low. Again here, we don’t do the evaluation on the basis of ‘I’, but on the basis of the body- the color of the skin or the race or the caste of the body, i.e. by the features, long noses, short noses, height, etc.


We have notions such as ‘one must respect elders’. What about youngsters? Should we insult them? Should we not respect them as well? Here, we see that we are again evaluating at the level of the body – age is related to the body, and not to ‘I’.

Physical strength

If someone is stronger, we again treat him/her differently. This is again at the level of the body. In fact, we think that we are respecting the other while it is fear; the fear that if we do not treat them like this, we will be harmed.

On the basis of physical facilities


We differentiate people because some have more wealth than others. What we term as a “rich person” gets idolized. We don’t even bother to find out whether such people are feeling prosperous, or if they just have wealth? Are they happy, or just have wealth? – This is an evaluation on the basis of physical facilities. This way, we are over-evaluating physical facilities first, which are just meant to fulfill the needs of the body, and then on this basis, we are wrongly identifying our relationship.


This is a very common phenomenon. We try to respect on the basis of a person’s position. Is this post directly related to the right understanding and feelings in the self? – We seldom verify. The post is wrongly evaluated as the mark of a person’s excellence and differentiation sets in. The post is considered important either on the basis that it gives more physical facilities or on the basis that certain positions are assumed to be important! In our education, we are trained directly or indirectly to earn posts for us to fetch respect.

On the basis of beliefs


‘Ism’ means any belief in terms of a ‘thought system that we have, or that we have adopted. There are also many modern ‘isms’ such as capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. the people following these sets of beliefs are called capitalists, socialists, communists, and so on. We only have to look into this today, and we shall find countless such belief systems … and the people that have adopted them or are following them have been exposed to them since childhood. Believing theirs to be the right belief. However, all beliefs, as we have seen are at the level of desires, thoughts, and expectations (selections) in ‘I’ (activities 3, 4, 5). As we have already seen, there is no definiteness at this level, and hence, this becomes a cause for differentiation.


People of one sect only consider those with a similar belief system to be their ‘own’ and worthy of respect. Following a particular tradition, or what we call as religion, becomes the basis of respect and disrespect in relationship.


Regarding the information – if you have one set of information, say, as an engineer, you will be respecting engineers and not, for example, doctors and vice-versa.

Summarized by – Dr. Niyati Garg

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