What does the word "stoop" mean?
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I think that there is much to discuss on it. If "stooping" down means a sacrifice of one's dignity, then I believe that there are some serious questions. Is the victory worth the cost? This is an individual decision. Naturally, we can say that human dignity is the most important element and no decision should be made where this is sacrificed. Yet, we are amazed with the decisions of those who sought victory at any cost. Sometimes, this was through illegal activity (Bernard Madoff) and other times it was through inappropriate means (Steroids in professional sports.) There are some moments when we are reminded of it in decisions that were questionable, at best, in pursuit of something that was felt "had to be achieved" (politicians engaged in wrong doing). I think that it's one of those decisions where, if removed, from the situation, it is easy to assess. Yet, when placed in it, there is a level of surprise as to what people do and how they have to "stoop" to achieving a particular end.
Here's a different way to interpret this interesting supposition. Parents and teachers "stoop to conquer" all the time! Not in the sense of forfeiting one's integrity, which should never be done, but in the sense of coming down to someone else's level of understanding and experience in order to communicate effectively. Explaining why it gets dark at night to a three-year-old, for instance, requires some serious stooping. Sometimes teachers do some stooping by explaining a lesson in terms of pop culture. Who would have ever guessed that some instances of effective teaching might require reading Twilight or being able to differentiate among the Jonas Brothers?
Although the phrase "stoop to conquer" is used quite commonly without any negative connotations, the word "stoop" by itself does denote some kind of an unworthy behaviour.
In general, it is wrong to to accept injustice, and hence indignities, without protests. In this sense it may be considered unworthy behavior, but it may be pardonable, or even honourable, when conducted in the interest of achieving some noble cause such as a national cause, or protecting the interest of a loved one. By the same token this behaviour may also be pardonable when performed in the short term to better serve a noble cause in the long term.
Krishna makes a good point. Stooping does not have an implicitly negative connotation, and if we sometimes settle for something less whether it is a negative action or not depends upon our reason for doing so. Is “stooping” easier than standing tall? That’s wrong. Is stooping a means to an end that will achieve a greater good or benefit? That’s not badJ
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