One of my best friends used to say he was trying to avoid complete humiliation, in response to the question, what you doin'. I always found that humorous.
The idea that humiliation is something to avoid sounds correct enough on its face. But take the word humiliation and break it into its parts, and that idea demands reform. Humility, humble, humbleness, human.
Humiliation is the state of being lowered in position either in one's own eyes or in the eyes of other's. And what is wrong with being perceived lower? Being perceived as human? Words synonymous are modesty, degrade, shame, humble, dishonor, demean, discredit, and take down. Is that beneath us? Should we avoid it or should we aspire for opportunities to be so turned?
No one has ever risen up without first being turned down. A giant no longer aspires for exaltation. He is already a giant. Instead, giant's are intrigued with appearing low. They know that there aggrandizement required their abasement. They had to find teachers, leaders, and inspirational figures to look up to. The greatest humans have faced humiliation in the most punishing of ways.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was humble, beaten down, locked in jail, discredited, shamed, dishonored, disrespected, degraded, debased, and demeaned. He was fouled and murdered. Assassinated before the prime of his life. Still he is exalted above all other figures in American history and held in the highest esteem. And Jesus Christ is seen in our collective consciousness as the most humble, and at the same time seen by many Christians as part God Almighty.
And to my friend today, whom I will call on the phone in a moment only to be ignored (which matters not more than our loving bond), I will say this... What you doin'? And I will hope that his efforts in the past to avoid humiliation have failed. I love humanity, the greatest of lowly beasts on Earth.
by Dr. James Manuel