Status Anxiety

This week we looked at status and what it means. To have status implies that we are standing out from the rest, that we are seen as different or more than other people, we are special. I assume that the need to feel special would mean that we do not feel special in the first place. Perhaps in a world were there was no status we would all feel equal and in that case we could all then be special.

Status, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. When Ed and I discussed this he pointed out that he had an old bicycle that has little status. I pointed out that in a community that has re-cycling at its heart his bike would be seen as having great status where as my new electric bike might have low status in the same community and simply seen as an unnecessary indulgence.

Our view of status will depend on how we see ourself and the world from an emotional and psychological point of view.

Physical Status…

… is in the body. We might see this as slimness or thinness almost to anorexia. Or it might be the amounts of muscle that we build so that we are hunky, Shapley or sexy. A stage of this physical status will be in the gym or at a sporting event, it may even be in porn and perceived sexual prowess. 

Social Status…

…is to be a part of the crowd but also to be more than the crowd. To belong to the social group. We will need to wear the right clothes, attend the right functions and venues and to know and be known by, the right people. It might be seen in how many friends that we have either in real life or on social media. Our followers may become a tribe and we can take on the role as influencer. This world will also include many celebrities as social icons. Status in this world is keeping up. This is the merchandisers dream as people forever want new clothes, and decor and to be seen to be in fashion.

Intellectual Status…

…is to be seen as intelligent, witty and clever. This may be in life your career, in academia or a quiz game. To have travelled and have had many experiences. To be knowledgeable and come out with obscure facts and idea. The ability to see things and express things in new and novel ways in art music and theatre. The ability to express as a lecturer, author or pundit.

Emotional Status… 

…is the ego’s ego. Look at me, how good am I? Who was the sexiest person in here before I came in? Financial, recognition and power all go together in this type of status. Everything is big and bigger than anyone else. Dubai creates the Palm so Qatar creates the Pearl. Both Trump and Farage are status icons of power and recognition. Along with politicians go stars and celebrities. Over all is the need to be famous and to be famous requires that we have recognition. I need you to know who I am. The word I me and my trip easily off the tongue. Possession declare emotional status, the more expensive the better.

Hierarchical Status…

 …is in the system of titles and position. The lowest status that you can have is simply Mr or Mrs. With other tiles comes greater status, teacher, manager, director, chief executive, chairman, Sargent, Captain, General, OBE, Sir, Doctor, Professor, Lord, Lady, Duke, Duchess, Earl, The Right Honourable, the list goes on. For some the top will be King, Queen or Emperor. Other will have the Pope or Archbishop, Imam, Rabbi, Guru and so on

Titles in this world bestow position and with the position comes status.

Spiritual Status…

…is different to the previous examples and is often tied up with the belief of the rightness of faith and religion. It may be seen as  ‘my guru is better than your guru’ or ‘my God is better then your God’. Individual spiritual status might be that I am holier than you or more enlightened than you. I might be that I am nearer to the truth than you. Often the status of the spiritual group is in the belief that this is the way and the only way, the one path that is the true path, the only one to be followed.

Creative Status…

…is in genuine newness and creativity. Inventors, scientists, artists, composers and all creators such as Ford, Bell, Einstein, Dickens, Raphael, Faraday, Spinoza, Michelangelo, Erasmus, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Goethe, John Lennon, Telford, Dyson, Tesla, Chopin, Freud, etc, etc, etc. The list becomes endless and grows all the time. 

Icons

Once someone has status they easily become icons for their followers or believers and people can still be talking about their ideas thousands of years after they died. It is also important to say something about negative status. In this blog and in the podcast we tended to focus on positive status however we should also acknowledge that people also have negative status as negative icons. Though, as I said status is in the eyes of the beholder. Characters such as Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson and Isis are examples of people who have had status for their followers though the remainder of society may not see them that way.

My suggestion to you is that you consider who or what is a status icon for you and then ask yourself why? For me I hold people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela in high esteem for me they have iconic status.

Take care

Sean x