How important is Status?

I have always been intrigued by the concept of status and what it means to different people. I believe that most of us will seek out various levels of status wherever we can get it. When am I satisfied with my status and when am I not satisfied with it? What strategies could I create that would increase my opportunities for status? It always amounted to me creating more value relative to that groups needs. In high school we had cool, smart and athletic those basic 3 principles seem to remain in place for the rest of our lives even though they are expressed differently in different stages. I think about people like researchers on large projects, or engineers where they have only a couple of things they are working on that will be going on something that 1,000 other guys contributed to… How important is it to fulfill the need for status? I think we evolved to attain status as a way of securing our place in a group, exile would have meant almost certain death. Now we can live fairly well without any status. How does this affect society?
Social status, family status, professional status, Do we need all 3?

I’m American, status means very little. No airs. No fancy cars. No keeping up with the Joneses, whoever they are.

I wasn’t thinking of it like that, I was thinking more in terms of how much respect you get among your peers or family and your sphere of influence.

Same answer though. I wanted to do my job, do it well and keep going. I never played politics or anything else when I was working. As far as respect among my peers, I’m honestly unsure what that means other than what I replied.

It was nice being recognized as being good at my job, do you mean that?

Americans spend 100% of their lives in a quest for status.

Everything they do, watch, buy, spend time at, visit, lust for, or any other verb you’d like to throw in involves status in some way. Even rejecting public status is a quest for status.

Claiming that you’re not interested in status means only that you’re not consciously aware of the thousands of decisions you make daily that are status inflected. But any knowledgeable outsider who visits your house, looks at your clothes, knows what car you buy, lists the programs you watch, sees the foods you eat and where can see the status events involved in them. They collectively paint a picture, Seurat-style.

Status is the single most important voluntary activity in everybody’s lives. It subsumes everything else. Saying you don’t care about status is like saying you don’t breathe. You don’t consciously do so probably 99% of the time, but your entire life is one continuous effort to breathe. Same with status.

I cry bullshit on this. Lovely bunch of words but I think meaningless.

Exactly! Do you feel that there are adequate opportunities in today’s society for the average person to attain satisfactory levels of status?

One factor here is that the importance of status is extremely age-dependent, IMHO. Or perhaps more accurately, it correlates with maturity, which is usually (but not always, unfortunately) acquired with age.

This is why human teenagers are probably the most status-conscious creatures on the face of the earth, or possibly in the entire galaxy. They cannot bear to be seen in public with their parents. They are even more mortified if any parent is in any way remotely unfashionable, or utters anything that might be considered uncool.

Whereas when you’re an old geezer like me, you don’t give a shit about anything beyond practicality and basic comfort. I mean, I like living in a well-maintained clean and safe neighbourhood, but that’s because it’s pleasant on its own merits. It sure as hell isn’t because I’m trying to impress anyone. As for my car, I’m keeping it as long as it starts and it moves when I want it to, and stops when I want it to. That’s all. I’m not trying to impress women.

This is an excellent point! I remember being valued as a mechanics helper when I was 15 and I was quite satisfied with that. At 35 I was no longer satisfied with being shop manager.

What I said is Sociology 101 or should be. If you think it’s bullshit, there’s a gigantic hole in your education.

I don’t have any idea how typical my own experience with status has been in my life. But it is very easy for me to identify the influences it had on me. The one element that I don’t quite understand is that once we have secured our position in a group it is no longer necessary to contribute to maintain that position. Some groups I would happily just sit back and enjoy my status while other groups I would quickly get bored and look for status in a more challenging environment.

Making proclamations is easy, support it somehow please.

I disagree. Did you read my post, about how the quest for status is typically very much a function of age (or sometimes, of mental age)? That teenagers tend to be incredibly status-conscious, adults rather less so? And for adults, I posit that the quest for status is directly proportional to their insecurities (cite: Trump). And most of us old geezers really don’t give a shit about status. I wish I could claim that’s because we’re older and wiser, but it’s more likely because status doesn’t create any needed advantage over our rivals. OTOH, maybe I’m just a status-less hermit. :wink:

Start here.

Yeah, that’s why cruise ships, country clubs, retirement areas, nursing homes, and cemetery plots are so unimportant to the aged. Along with the achievements of their grandchildren.

“To succeed in the world we do everything we can to appear successful already”

  • François de La Rochefoucauld, observing universal primate behavior centuries before humans admitted they were primates.

A link to British Status seems to counter your case. Seeing beefeaters immediately tells me you can’t support you statement above about Americans. Some care for status, I and many others don’t.

For example, no one wanted a coonskin cap in 1955 because it was exquisitely comfortable (and no one had realized that before) - they wanted one for the status of having one (or to avoid the low status of being someone who didn’t have one). It seems silly now.

Sticking with caps, Franklin wore a fur cap in France - which was very much non-in-fashion, but which he made into a status symbol; it symbolized his uniqueness among the fashionable in France (it wouldn’t have worked for someone who wasn’t enormously famous already, but getting away with it added to Franklin’s status).

Another aspect of status possibly? When we achieve well-earned status, it is reaffirming to us that we are somehow ok. Our self-confidence is now up and our need for status becomes diminished. So status does more than secure our position in a group it also helps to secure our own identities within us. That could express itself in any number of ways.

So you got as far as the first picture on the page without reading any of the literally hundreds of links to explanations of various types of status.

I am not impressed.

I will point out that looking at your username and seeing following it the custom title of “Journeymod 2nd Class” is so deliciously ironic that any other comment is rendered superfluous.

Let’s dissect that.

  • cruise ships: Never been on one. Probably never will. Not quite sure what that really has to do with “status” anyway.

  • country clubs: Not for me, either, but I can see how others would enjoy it. But to me that speaks of the human need to socialize. You’re no longer in school, and you’re no longer working. So it’s one kind of “club” or another. In some cases, yes, membership in some high-falutin’ club can confer status, but I maintain that these social organizations are mostly driven by social instinct.

  • retirement areas: Don’t see the relevance of this. Older folks buying into retirement homes are looking for comforts and convenience, not “status”.

  • nursing homes: Same as “retirement homes”.

  • cemetery plots: Well, there you’ve got me. I’m definitely angling for a cemetery plot that will make me feel smugly superior to my neighbours. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

  • Along with the achievements of their grandchildren: Sometimes, yes, that can be a social status weapon among the emotionally insecure. For most of us I think it’s just a source of quiet pride.