recognition / n an instance of acknowledging the existence, validity, character and claims of another.
– Oxford English Dictionary
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world …
– This is the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948.
Mammal intelligence is not the only one to discover the strategic benefits of mutual recognition. To make a living, other animals, plants and even bacteria play various games of cooperation and mutual recognition. Mutual recognition is the obvious realisation that what is important to me is also important to you, so let’s cooperate.
– No man is an island!
– You’re not Robinson Crusoe!
– Join the club!
– What goes around comes around!
– Live and let live!
– All for one and one for all!
– Tit for tat.
– E Pluribus Unum
What does it all mean? It means I’ll acknowledge your existence and the matching valid claims that arise from your existence and, in return, you’ll do the same for me. Mutual recognition
Many people have talked about the value of recognition. It’s nothing new. Here are some of them:
He that does good to another does good also to himself.
He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.
Help your brother’s boat across, and lo! your own has reached the shore.
Nice guys finish first.
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
I believe you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.
Men exist for the sake of one another.
Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is a progress; Working together is success.
Without deep reflection, one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
There was a man going from Jerusalem down to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and went off leaving him half dead. Now by coincidence a priest was going down that road; when he caught sight of him, he went out of his way to avoid him. In the same way, when a Levite came to the place, he took one look at him and crossed the road. But this Samaritan who was travelling that way came to where he was and was moved to pity at the sight of him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring olive oil and wine on them. He hoisted him on to his own animal, brought him to an inn, and looked after him. The next day he took out two silver coins, which he gave to the innkeeper, and said, Look after him, and on my way back I’ll reimburse you for any extra expense you have had.
– Rembrandt’s Good Samaritan
Recognition can be a commodity which can be of value to us all.
There are the three recognitions:
R1 – self: recognition of one’s self;
R2 – others: recognition of the selves of others;
R3 – system: recognition of the selves of systems.
If we treat recognition as a commodity, then it can be earned, traded, and invested in, as are other commodities.
R1 – Self Recognition
Recognition of one’s self is a legitimate recognition of the fact of one’s existence, and a creative interest in the quality of one’s existence and the preservation of one’s existence.
Each person recognises the unique view that he or she has of situations, the unique way in which he or she selects and arranges information according to his or her unique experience.
Self recognition includes the right and willingness to change the way we look at things, to seek fresh and better arrangements of information, to build a better individual world in which we can live.
R2 – Other Recognition
Valuing recognition of one’s self automatically carries with it a value for the recognition of the selves of others. We recognise their reciprocal rights; their right to a unique view of situations; their right to the way they select and arrange information according to their unique experience; their right to live in their own worlds, as we live in ours.
Recognition of others includes the right and willingness to help them change the way they look at things, to help them seek fresh and better arrangements of information, to help them build better individual worlds in which they can live better, of course, in THEIR view.
This is not merely the imposition of our view with the claim that since our view is “right” for us, then it should also be “right” for them. Recognition of others is the valuing and appreciation of plurality variety of opinions. Live and let live.
R3 – System Recognition
Recognition of the system means realising that, on balance, if we are all to enjoy the maximum recognition as individuals, give goes along with take.
System recognition means understanding the paradox of structure and freedom. It is only with the structure of the bridge that we enjoy the freedom to cross the ravine. This paradox also means the freedom of productivity that comes with an electronic structure like the internet; the freedom of a higher income that comes with the structure of acquiring new and more useful skills and strategies; the freedom of competence, confidence, and performance that comes with the structure of discipline, practice, and repetition.
Recognition of systems makes possible recognition of others, which in turn multiplies the recognition we can enjoy for ourselves.
Imagine there are ten people in a spaceship hurtling through space:
R1 – First, if every individual passenger decides to recognition himself or herself, then each can enjoy the recognition of one personhis or her own self;
R2 – Second, if every individual passenger decides to give recognition of the other passengers, each can enjoy the recognition of ten people his or her own … PLUS that of nine others;
R3 – Third, this spaceship is really a classic social system; if each passenger decides to recognise the system then the system can continue to provide safety, progress, happiness, cooperation, and a feeling of self-importance or self-worth for all on board.
Sometimes our leaders are inspiring examples of the 3Rs and often they are not. Still, it’s in all our interests to encourage cooperation wherever we can find it.
One of the most widely respected popes of modern times was John XXIII. In his most famous Encyclical, Pacem in Terris, he considered the rights and duties of mutual recognition to be so important that he wrote a letter which he addressed ‘to the Clergy and Faithful of the entire Catholic World, and to all Men of Good Will’ saying:
“The natural rights of which We have so far been speaking are inextricably bound up with as many duties, all applying to one and the same person. These rights and duties derive their origin, their sustenance, and their indestructibility from the natural law, which in conferring the one imposes the other.
“Thus, for example, the right to live involves the duty to preserve one’s life; the right to a decent standard of living, the duty to live in a becoming fashion; the right to be free to seek out the truth, the duty to devote oneself to an ever deeper and wider search for it.
“Once this is admitted, it follows that in human society one man’s natural right gives rise to a corresponding duty in other men; the duty, that is, of recognizing and respecting that right. Every basic human right draws its authoritative force from the natural law, which confers it and attaches to it its respective duty.
“Hence, to claim one’s rights and ignore one’s duties, or only half fulfill them, is like building a house with one hand and tearing it down with the other”.
When it comes to the understanding the concept of recognition another controversial example is Charles, Prince of Wales. The Prince, with a thousand years of tradition behind him, has emerged as one of the authentic leaders of the New Millennium.
Quite apart from those aspects of his life that so occupy the attention of the gossip media, the Prince has much more to offer us. He is a strong believer in the concept of training, practising and personal development and has trained and served in the Royal Navy and he is also well-known for his involvement in activities like steeplechasing, diving, parachuting and polo.
In addition, Anthony Holden in his book Charles lists his interests as Carl Jung, United World Colleges, organic farming, alternative medicine, architecture with a human scale, urban regeneration, youth development and wildlife (both animal and plant), writing that they are all “pieces of a giant jigsaw which fits together as a cohesive world view. Between them they amount to a Princely Bill of Human Rights based on Charles’ belief of the innate qualities of the individual, his right to live in conditions in which he can take pride as part of a caring, prejudice-free community which functions smoothly and effectively”.
Recognition for Self
Prince Charles meets many people in centres of urban squalor. He works to encourage people to demand a say in what happens to them by stressing the importance and the effectiveness of self-help. He stresses, as fundamental to his own belief system, the rights of the individual. He seeks to empower people to lead their own lives the way they consider best for themselves.
Recognition for Others
The Prince also promotes the critical need for INTERDEPENDENCE. In this respect, his mentor Sir Laurens van der Post, adventurer and philosopher, had a great impact on Charles and was godfather to his oldest son, Prince William.
Sir Laurens has a deep respect for the bushmen of Southern Africa who live in total harmony with the Kalahari Desert. The bushman’s spiritual beliefs are based on a balance of the individual with nature, with the village and the tribe – a balance of wholeness and interdependence.
In 1987 Sir Laurens took Prince Charles to commune together with his bushman friends and the Prince developed a love for the bushmen and for the wilderness and remoteness of their landscapes.
In Sydney, during Australia’s 1988 Bi-centennial celebrations, the Prince emphasised his support for aborigines’ land rights. When Australian actor Jack Thompson commented that after 200 years Australians are just now finding out what aborigines have known for 40,000 years, the Prince interrupted him with “those are my sentiments entirely”.
Recognition for the System
Long before it was fashionable to be ‘green’ Prince Charles was already leading the way. When it comes to speaking up against the crazy, suicidal disrespect to the life systems of our planet – the air, the water, the land and the bio-diversity – Charles was unambiguous and outspoken and often criticised for being so.
In London in 1989, at a conference on CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) the Prince insisted to delegates on the need for their complete elimination and charged governments with an urgent agenda to intervene.
Against the pollution of the ocean systems and the desertification of the rainforests and their species, the Prince spoke strongly: “if we can stop the sky turning into a microwave oven we will still face the prospect of living in a garbage dump”.
Commenting on the personal challenge of his own unique position of great wealth and title he has said “I may have everything I need materially but there are other difficulties. One worries a great deal about one’s responsibilities and everything else, trying to do the right thing, to have as balanced an approach as possible”.
Francis Kinsman, commenting in Millennium on the Prince’s role as a world leader of the New Age, writes:
“His emphasis on closeness to the earth and a communion with the plant kingdom has given him a hard row to hoe with the media – ‘A loon again!’ sneered one tabloid headline.
But the reality is that the public is beginning to listen to the marching songs of the Prince’s secret revolution. An appropriate quotation is one from Machiavelli’s The Prince: ‘there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things’.
This planet is incredibly lucky to have Prince Charles and he deserves all the support and love that we can muster”.
Through his personal charity–The Prince’s Trust–he also brings attention to the lives of young people who can use motivation and encouragement toget their lives on a better track including offenders and others. His initiative has helped create 66,000 businesses since he started it in 1976 with his severance pay he got when he left the Royal Navy.
His sons, William and Harry now work with him in this venture.
… Click through for more on this project to help young people.
Cut and paste the sentence or paragraph from this lesson that, for you, is an escape from your current point-of-view.