An insult is the involuntary exchange of social currency. It is a robbery of human dignity and accomplishes this even while it also, at the same time, depreciates the person issuing the insult. In order for our social networks to function properly, all insulting behaviors need to be recognized and confronted. There are two reasons why I believe this is so.

First, an insulted person who vainly tries to simply ignore the insult will usually be unable to do so because of resentment growing inside of himself. The social debt is trying to demand repayment and will often manifest itself in vindictive activities, or in a parting of ways with the insulting individual. An insulted person needs to have the option of either collecting against the debt by obtaining an apology or by choosing to outright forgive it. I can’t forgive what I claim isn’t present and thus, both of these options are closed to me if the insult is never confronted.

The other reason for confronting insults is for the benefit of the insulter himself. An un-confronted insult can never be repaid by the person issuing the insult because for him also, it does not exist, even while it is devaluing him and stripping him of his dignity. Once confronted, the insulter now has his options also. After confrontation, he is now allowed to choose if, how, or when to repay his debt by making amends, but he can no longer continue cowardly hiding behind his misdeeds.

Jonas J Borntreger
Jan. 2013

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