A StubbornThings Symposium 10/6/15
Introduction • It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. – St. Augustine • In the campy, but entertaining, series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, one of the catchier episode titles was “Pride Comes Before a Brawl”. Pride has positive connotations, but one of the negative ones is to expect bad things to happen because of arrogance or a lack of humility…including a good brawl. Pride is like walking down the street with your head tilted up at the clouds as if one was an Olympian god…and then falling into an open manhole.
As one website put it, “The Sin of Pride is said by some to the the foremost of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hubris is the gateway through which all other sin enters the mortal soul. Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God.”
Another website says, “It was this sin, we’re told, which transformed Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God, the very ‘seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,’ into Satan, the devil, the father of lies, the one for whom Hell itself was created. We’re warned to guard our hearts against pride lest we too ‘fall into the same condemnation as the devil.'”
But what about being proud of one’s children? Proud of one’s real accomplishments? Humility is all well and good, but is a negative picture of oneself particularly good? Isn’t a little pride okay? Well, we’ll see how the proud StubbornThings brain-trust handles this complex issue.
— The Editor
Seven Deadly Sins: Pride
When used in the case of the seven deadly sins, I define pride as self-worship. This is dangerous enough for the well-being of the individual who, simultaneously, worships and is being worshipped. But it is potentially much more dangerous for those around said person. Understanding this potential danger, it seems all cultures have attempted to control this common emotion through moral teachings of one sort or another. Nevertheless, too often, such narcissistic self worshippers do make their way into positions of power, thus are able to spread pain and suffering far beyond themselves.
A good contemporary example of the enormous damage such a person can wreak is obvious to all in the person of Barak Hussein Obama. Here are a few quotes that are good indications of his overweening pride, which leads to his lack of perspective.
“I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,”
“I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,”
“I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
“That was pretty impressive. I got the sucker!” (after killing a miserable fly during an interview)
It is a sad commentary on humanity that such persons are those who, too often, achieve the power to lead nations.
Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. He’d proud of the fact that he knows so much about Winston Churchill.
Contrary to popular opinion, money is not the root of all evil. Pride is. Besides, the saying should be the love of money is.
Simply stated, pride drives all the other sins, (that I can think of anyway). It allows us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. If you were to take a look at the self-esteem movement or the I can do what I want movement, you will find that pride is the main source for the nihilism of both the leftist and most libertarians. (I mean really, who are you to tell “ME” what I can and cannot do.)
They have been spoon-fed the unearned self-esteem crap since they were very small children, and boy has it worked to a tee. The yutes of today are so very proud about how they feel about their educational performance that it just doesn’t matter that most are so inferior to the rest of the world that if we as a nation are faced with the type of catastrophizes we have had to face in the past, well, they are screwed. (I hope not to be around to see it.). But they sure will be proud of how they feel so tolerant and accepting. Sorry for the rant.
We can go to another venue for an example of just how pride destroys us and those around us — death row! You will not find a group with higher self-pride or self-esteem than on death row. Why would they think that killing another human being was bad or wrong? There is just nobody else on the planet that is worthy or deserves to be breathing their air. For those of us that have not gone that far, can you imagine what it takes to kill a number of people with no remorse, talk about your god complex? Obviously this is an extreme example, but since we are trying to point out why this sin can be deadly, I think it is appropriate.
Fo this one, like all the rest, moderation is the key. Is it okay to feel good about a job well done? Is it okay to take pride in your country or others around you? Just do not take it to the extreme, lest it goes over to the dark side of pride, nihilism.
Why did God give us these things, these sins anyway? Could he not have just made us the better angels and let it be at that? Well I think not, because just like the rest of these sins, we would not know what the opposite was without them. Paul says in the Bible that he would not know not to covet if the law did not say do not covet. The law exposed all kinds of covetousness in him, and the opposite, the contentment with what he had.
So without Pride there can be no humility, without humility, there can be no understanding of the vastness of God and the smallness of Man. And without that understanding, there is no limit to the evil we can do. You see it is pride that tells us that we are smarter than anyone else, we are kinder than anyone else and, dog gone it, people just like me! Whether they do or not.
— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one. He was last seen marching in a gun pride parade.
As with Greed, the harmful effects of Pride are indirect, and result from excessive indulgence. A certain amount of pride in one’s abilities and accomplishments ia reasonable and acceptable. I can recall, for example, when I first earned a couple of ribbons attending a WorldCon (one as a program participant, and one as a Hugo nominee — we never came close to winning,though). I noted that this made it understandable that the military similarly rely on such awards. But one should never go too far. Other people (most of them, anyway) have their own reasons for pride, and won’t appreciate someone who acts as if only he does/ Even more serious is pride for no good reason, which is the key issue in the modern “self-esteem” campaign in schools. This leads to an unrealistic self-appraisal, which then leads to rejecting those who see you as you are rather than as you wish to be thought of.
One should note that one can be very capable but still overrate oneself. Ayn Rand, for example, was a truly brilliant woman, and it was naturally for her to collect a circle of admirers. But their sycophancy encouraged her to develop the delusion that she was infallible. This problem is not confined to political philosophers; in the American Revolution, several continental generals with prior regular experience in the British Army (such as Horatio Gates and Charles Lee), were at least somewhat competent officers who unfortunately thought they were much better than really were. This hurt the Patriot cause at Monmouth and Camden, and also hurt the men themselves as they lost their previously good reputations.
Pride can be linked to anger and (even more so) envy. There are those who resent the successes of others because it makes them feel inadequate (or some such feeling; this isn’t one of my many flaws). And many such losers decide to assuage their pride by reveling in destruction. Those who can, build or produce (or help do so). Some of those who can’t choose to destroy instead, due to a hyper-toxic combination of wounded pride, anger, and envy.
As with all the Sins we’ve discussed so far, the practical concern is primarily going too far. Perhaps the best way to avoid this is to make sure that one’s pride is thoroughly grounded in reality — including a realistic assessment of flaws as well. There’s a reason why truth is associated with Good and falsehood with Evil.
— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine. He is sufficiently proud of his literary knowledge.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS AS SET FORTH IN PROVERBS 6:16-19.
#3: Hands That Shed Innocent Blood. The same in the KJV, the TANAKH, and the Peshitta.
The most deadly of all sins is the shedding of innocent blood. If these murders do not cause discord we are of all people most desolated by sin.
Whether it is abortion, infanticide, sacrifice or murder to get power and gain matters not at all.
If you can stand it, look today at the innocents whose blood is shed, and few even notice, as long as it isn’t HERE. But it is HERE and NOW and the people and land are corrupted without a thought. Children sent into slavery and battle, murdered in their mother’s arms, boys and girls trained to hate and kill, to give their lives for what they are taught is glory. And the world is largely silent.
The #ShareYourAbortion movement is so nauseating that it is a desecration to even speak of it, and yet we must. Not speaking only affirms evil and allows it to continue. The head of Planned Parenthood refuses to admit that there has ever been a botched abortion where the baby survived. That never happens, she says. Abortion really is a sacrament for those who pursue ungodly ends and it separates people into opposing camps.
The separation between those would protect innocent life and those who call it’s taking “noble” has never been more visible to anyone who has eyes to see.
The Rules of the Deadly Sins:
The Rule of the First Deadly Sin: By their haughty look ye shall know them.
The Rule of the Second Deadly Sin: The Lying Tongues blanket the whole
land in Deceit.
The Rule of the Third Deadly Sin: In all ages the blood of the innocent is shed by those who want to sow discord among the people.
— Anniel is a frequent contributor to StubbornThings. And that’s bloody nice.
I remain ambivalent about the sin of pride…even given that I’ve generally been defending most of these sins. Pride, much like the word, “dignity,” can mean damn near anything. It’s another Silly Putty word.
Generally speaking, arrogance and obnoxiousness are bad things. But when does confidence blend into arrogance? That’s part of the problem, because the world is always full of mousy little people who resent the accomplishments of others and define “pride” as they will according to their sometimes fragile or guilty temperament.
Is Donald Trump, for instance, boisterous? Yes, but he has a business empire to back it up. It’s not idle boating. And shouldn’t we be proud of our children or at least want to be proud of them? Isn’t one of the things eating away at our society the lack of pride, including the lack of pride in how we look, how we dress, the quality of the work we do, and how we feel about our country?
I guess one can push the word, “pride,” all the way up the Cosmic scale and say that it was pride that started Lucifer on his rebellion. But wouldn’t pride in God have stopped that? Was it “pride” or instead “arrogance” or a lust for power that was the real motivation of this Cosmic split?
My general and quick reading around the internet on the religious definition of the sin of pride has left me thinking that tea leaf reading is more accurate and unambiguous. Pride seems to be a word that can be interpreted at will.
But I would say the desire to be proud of things is an animating and good influence. Here’s what I find to be the inherently squishy part. Here’s a quote from an article describing the Sin of Pride:
One way to determine whether or not you are preoccupied with yourself is to evaluate your motives. Take the pursuit knowledge for example. If you study hard because that’s what the Lord wants you to do and you’re being obedient to Him, that’s good. That’s obedience to God. Or if you study hard because you want to become a teacher so that you can edify others and help them to grow, that’s good too. That’s love for others. But if you study hard solely to amass knowledge for yourself, just so you can say that you know more than everyone else, that’s bad! Your focus is upon yourself and your own glory. That’s preoccupation with self. That’s pride.
Sorry, but competition is inherent to our state of being. It goes with the territory. Wanting to know more than others for the sake of doing so is not only not a problem, it’s a good thing. The real sin, if there is one, is being arrogant about it. Is that pride then? Is the sin articulated above really just arrogance? I haven’t a clue because the word seems so fungible as evidenced by the fact that it’s clearly okay to be proud of your son for having just won his Little League baseball game. No one argues with that. But they would, of course, look down on rubbing that victory in the losing team’s face. When does that happen? Well…it’s complicated and not at all encapsulated in the one word of “pride.”
This is one reason I was dubious about doing this symposium. Many of these concepts are little more than placeholders of whatever meaning you want them to have. Here’s more fortune cookie wisdom from the same site:
The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. It is thus very fitting that the middle letter in the word is “i.” Pride is all about “me, myself, and I.” So even as the word “pride” is centered upon an “i,” the sin itself is also centered upon “I.”
So the alternative is what, communism, where the individual never thinks of himself but is lost in an amorphous collective? There’s certainly such thing as being too selfish, arrogant, or anti-social. But, good god, if you’re not looking out for #1, you’re on a fast track to being a victim, to being another bubble boy or bubble girl expecting the government to take care of you. Let’s have a hand for those people who are for “me, myself, and I” because they are doing us a heck of a favor.
Of course, the question is if one is taking care of oneself in an ethical way. But that is a different question from the supposed inherent selfishness of the “I” rule as stated above. I just find this kind of fortune cookie gibberish to be unhelpful, at best.
We should be proud of our accomplishments. And we should mix in a dose of humility here and there, for there is sometimes little to be gained by provoking people. Still, with the right attitude, we should understand that our accomplishments help to shine a light for other people. Christians are told, “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”
Frankly, I see a heck of a lot more harm from false humility in the world than I do pride. I wish, for example, that our idiot Marxist president was proud of his country. Instead, he hates it. His arrogance, ignorance, and radicalism are his problems, not pride.
So I guess this word, pride, can mean about anything you want it to mean. And that’s a problem because if something can mean anything then it ultimately means very little. Shine your light. Develop your talents. Mix in a dose of humility. But do not let the Pride Police constrain you.
And speaking of the fungibility of “pride,” note the “Gay Pride” movement. Goodness, one might tolerate homosexual behavior in the legal or social sense. But sticking your penis in another guy’s anus isn’t anything particular to be proud of. I’ll stick to the kind of pride where one has actually accomplished something worthy, such as a cure for cancer or at least inventing the next great electronic convenience.
— Brad Nelson is editor and publisher of StubbornThings.org. He is a sinner but assures you that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman…not a single time.”