“People have dignity. Everyone has dignity.”

“People have dignity. Everyone has dignity.”

Whether the head of an institution or a volunteer, everyone is equal in dignity.  Dignity is a right that is intrinsically tied to the human.  The existence of a hierarchy is natural and needed, but when those in lower positions are humiliated, bullied, and treated without basic dignity, it hurts us all collectively. 

“All ranks, like all races, are worthy of equal dignity. Deviations from equal dignity set in motion a dynamic that draws attention away from whatever we’re doing- working, learning, or healing. When energy is diverted to defending one’s dignity against insults in the workplace, productivity suffers.” 

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Robert W. Fuller earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he co-authored Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. After serving as president of Oberlin College, he became a citizen diplomat and set about improving international relations during the Cold War. During the 1990s, he served as board chair of the nonprofit global corporation Internews, promoting democracy via free and independent media.

After the Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR, Fuller reflected on his career and realized that he had been, at different times in his life, a somebody and a nobody. His periodic sojourns into “Nobodyland” led him to identify rankism—abuse of the power inherent in rank—and ultimately to write Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank. Three years later, he published a sequel that focuses on building a “dignitarian society” titled All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity. With co-author Pamela Gerloff, he has also published Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism. His most recent books are Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship?, Genomes, Menomes, Wenomes: Neuroscience and Human Dignity, Belonging: A Memoir, The Wisdom of Science; The Theory of Everybody; and The Rowan Tree: A Novel.

 As a recognized authority on dignity and rankism, Fuller’s ideas and books have been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, The Boston Globe, the BBC, Voice of America, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

You can learn more about Dr. Robert W. Fuller by visiting his website.

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2 Replies to ““People have dignity. Everyone has dignity.””

  1. There are various reasons, but it is often as simple as just needing to dominate others. Control and power may seem like means to a larger end, but that’s not usually the case. “Winning” in social interactions and gaining the upper-hand in relationships is enough of an end. Although that seems trivial to most people, it is of utmost importance to these people.

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