B2 High-Intermediate UK 511 Folder Collection
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Why are we so worried about our careers? Why do we care so much about our reputations?
Partly it’s to do with money of course, but there’s another, more psychological
aspect to our fears as well. We worry because we suspect – not wrongly
– that the world is full of a frightening sort of person ready to judge us ruthlessly
and swiftly: a person we can call a snob. A snob is anyone who takes a relatively small
part of us and uses it to come to a rigid and unbudgeable conclusion about how much
of their attention we deserve. In the past, that might have meant a snob being interested
in your lineage and royal connections. Nowadays, the snob cares about one thing only: what
you do for a living. This explains why the first question we will
be asked in any new social context is ‘What do you do?’ and according to how we answer,
snobs will either welcome us with broad smiles, or swiftly abandon us by the peanuts. The
opposite of a snob is your mother – not necessarily your mother in particular – but
the ideal mother, someone who doesn’t care so much what we have achieved, but who thinks about who
we are in the broad sense. But most of the world is not like our mothers – and that
is why we are fired up by such a desperate urge to achieve and impress.
Sometimes our behaviour is mistaken for greed and vanity, but it is more poignant than this.
A lot of our interest in fancy cars, jobs and houses has nothing to do with materialism.
It has to do with a hunger for the respect and esteem that is only available in our societies
through the acquisition of material goods. It isn’t the goods themselves we seek, it
is the love we stand to gain through our possession of them. The next time we see someone driving
a Ferrari, we shouldn’t condemn them for their greed, we should pity them for the intensity
of their need for love from the world. At the root of snobbery is a lack of imagination
and confidence about how to decide who in the world is valuable. The snob isn’t wrong
in their background sense that there are better and worse sorts of people around. They are
just brutally misguided and slavish in their beliefs about how the superior individuals
can identified. For snobs, it is the already-acclaimed and already successful who are the only ones
worthy of respect. There is no room in their timid regimented minds to imagine that someone
might be clever, kind or good – and yet somehow have been overlooked entirely by society,
their qualities lurking beneath an unfamiliar guise, and having as yet discovered no obvious
outlets. Touchingly, the personal origins of snobbery
typically lie in parents who were themselves snobs – and never endowed their offspring
with the confidence to judge each new person on their own terms, without reference to social
status, income and reputation. Despite their commitment to surrounding themselves by people
of high status, ironically, snobs constantly fail to spot who might one day be feted and
applauded. They are misled by the unexpected outward forms that brilliance often takes.
Snobs don’t sign up the Beatles, don’t invest in the start-up iteration of Google
or Apple, don’t give the time of day to the taxi driver who might one day be the president
or the old lady in a woolly hat writing the great novel of the 21st century.
The true answer to snobbery is not to say that there is no such thing as a better or
worse person, but to insist that better or worse exist in constantly unexpected places
and carry none of the outward signs of distinction. And because we are such poor judges of the
worth of others, our ultimate duty remains to be kind, good, curious and imaginative
about pretty much everyone who ever crosses our path – and that includes ourselves.
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How To Cope With Snobbery

511 Folder Collection
Hcling1015 published on February 27, 2017
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