Verb: to be worthy of or entitled or liable to: earn
1 obsolete: to be entitled to reward or honor
1: a praiseworthy quality: virtue; character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem; also: achievement
2: spiritual credit held to be earned by performance of righteous acts and to ensure future benefits
3 plural: the substance of a legal case apart from matters of jurisdiction, procedure, or form; individual significance or justification
Merit (v.): late 15th century, “to be entitled to,” from Middle French meriter (Modern French mériter), from merite (n.), or directly from Latin meritare “to earn, yield,” frequentative of mereri “to earn (money);” also “to serve as a soldier.”
Merit (n.): c. 1200, “spiritual credit” (for good works, etc.); c. 1300, “spiritual award,” from Old French merite “wages, pay, reward; thanks; merit, moral worth, that which assures divine pity,” and directly from Latin meritum “a merit, service, kindness, benefit; worth value, importance,” neuter of meritus, past participle of merere, meriri “to earn, deserve, acquire, gain,” from Proto-Indo-European root (s)mer- “to allot, assign.”
Sense of “worthiness, excellence” is from early 14th century; from late 14th century as “condition or conduct that deserves either reward or punishment;” also “a reward, benefit.” Merit system attested from 1880. Merit-monger was in common use 16th century – 17th century in a sense of “do-gooder.”
“It is sad that in this world people put great merit in what a person has more than what a person is.”
Heather Wolf (teacher and children's author, best known for writing "Kipnuk the Talking Dog" adventure series, a series based on kindness, compassion, and caring for others)
“The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.”
Alexandre Dumas (1802—1870, one of the most prolific and popular French authors of the 19th century; succeeded in gaining a great reputation first as a dramatist and then as a historical novelist, especially for such works as "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo")
“What we individually deserve isn't as much as what we collectively merit.”
C. J. Cherryh (b. Carolyn Janice Cherry in 1942, an American writer of speculative fiction; has written more than 60 books since the mid-1970s, including the Hugo Award-winning novels "Downbelow Station" and "Cyteen")
"But if our sex would but well consider and rationally ponder, they will perceive and find that it is neither words nor place that can advance them, but worth and merit."
Margaret Cavendish (philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright who lived in the seventeenth century, her work is important because it laid out an early and very compelling version of the naturalism that is found in current-day philosophy and science)
"The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs."
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet, best known for his controversial volumes of poems)
“It is sad that in this world people put great merit in what a person has more than what a person is.” — Heather Wolf
Somehow, we got our values twisted. How and when did this happened? Did we convolute our idea of the American Dream? How did we fall into such a collective spell, enthralled by the “cult of personality,” which included fantasies about royalty, wealth, and celebrity status. We believe that there’s real merit in what people have. Some of us don’t care how people acquired their money. We get tempted and erroneously seduced by big lies.
HBO recently produced is a film entitled, “The Wizard of Lies,” which stars Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madof, the cunning and narcissistic sociopath who stole $50 billion from people who trusted and believed in his ability to make money.
One of the things that shocked me the most while watching the film (and there were many) was that Madof was arrested in 2008, little less than 9 years ago, during The Great Recession when our country’s economy was bottoming out! I’ve been watching a great many financial films about this time, so I also knew that Madoff was one of many crooked billionaire thieves in NYC that were hauled into jail and charged for such similar crimes.
There was so much going on at the time, too much to wrap our minds around. Most of us were focused on our very existence and how to provide for our families. But, now that the dust is beginning to settled, maybe we are allowing us to conduct forensic research on how we all got seduced and continued to be so.
We must remember and know that our true spiritual currency depends not on what we have, but what we are. As the great Martin Luther King, Jr. once said so eloquently, we should be judged by the content of our characters.
Many Blessings, sojourners!
PS: My apologies about the formatting. Wordpress would not cooperate.