Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Respect For Those Who Serve Us

Recently, a number of incidents in Korean society has exposed the friction between "superior" and "inferior" that caused rage among the citizens. A columnist in the Peace Weekly gives us the examples of this high-handedness on the part of superiors towards inferiors: customers at department stores and parking lot attendants, security personnel and apartment building dwellers. Once the abuse was communicated to SNS sites, those who have been pointed out as non-feeling and cruel, were shamed. They responded: they have done nothing that warrants the shame they have been made to experience. The customer is always right may have something to do with this thinking.

A philosophy professor at the Catholic University reminds the readers that even before modern times this impudent behavior was not accepted. What is the reason in our democratic society we continue to see this kind of behavior in such a public way? There has to be another reason besides the customer is always right.

Those in society who have the money and positions of authority may think that what they are doing for society in ways of service allows them to think they have control over the person. Our advertizing gives the illusion that if the money is there you can have anything you want. No, there are things we can't buy. We can't buy the person who is serving us. 

We are introduced to the second formulation of Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative: "Act in such a way that you treat humanity whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end  but always at the same time as an end." 

In our society we can't solve all our problems alone; with our money we buy products and services from others. With our purchasing power we can buy what is offered but we don't buy the person. "I have used so much of my money why do I get this type of treatment?" When we think we are buying the person we know what will follow.

In conclusion, the professor tells us about a coffee shop where the customers are given a discount when they address the employees by name and treat them politely. He hopes this kind of thinking begun in this one business will spread throughout all of society.

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