Kant: â€œWhat is related to general human inclinations and needs has a market price; that which, even without presupposing a need, conforms with a certain taste, that is, with a delight in the mere purposeless play of our mental powers, has a fancy price; but that which constitutes the condition under which alone something can be an end in itself has not merely a relative worth, that is, a price, but an inner worth, that is, dignity.â€
I find the concept of dignity fascinating, not least of which because dignity in a general sense and in Kant’s moral sense above seems to be hard to find nowadays. The first time I recognised I needed to think about something along the lines of ‘dignity’ (but without knowing what to call it) was after hearing a Vietnam veteran speak at work about his new book. He had a certain gravitas that did not beg or challenge you or attempt to lose or win you over in any way.
Diginity is not decency, I don’t care about decency. Dignity for me is a kind of relationality.