Pride cometh.

October 10, 2015 § 5 Comments

IMG_7060_edited-1Pride sits proudly, shoulder to shoulder with the other six deadly sins.

We’ve always known it brings out the worst in us, but it seems to be part of the price of self-awareness.

As soon as we realize that we are individuals, separate from others, we begin to compare.

Am I better? Am I worse? Prettier? Uglier? Smarter? Dumber? Which one of us has more stuff?

The form of pride that shares the shelf with laziness, greed, lust, gluttony, wrath and envy is the one that claims superiority by finding someone else inferior.

This form of pride can be manipulated. Want to be superior? Buy this car, not that one, this cell phone, this perfume, go to this exclusive restaurant, not the one just anyone can afford.

Promises of superiority drive much of our consumption without delivering for more than a fleeting moment, and then the siren song repeats. Not that one…this one.

This kind of pride is not good for the individual and it is driving our planet to its knees.

IMG_9540_edited-1When we pledge allegiance to a flag, a faith, a political persuasion, even a particular brand of shoes, the superiority of me-over-you becomes the superiority of us-over-them.

Collective pride legitimizes bigotry, war, salvation for us, damnation for everyone else, it condemns the kid who is different to sit alone in the school cafeteria.

Because we are self-aware, we are stuck with pride. But can pride be a force for good?

What if we drew pride not from a favorable comparison between ourselves and others, but from how well we live up to the ideals we hold?

Here are some of the ways I try to do that.

I create new things out of the bounteous and ecologically friendly raw materials, words and melody. I could fall into the trap of destructive pride and compare myself to each singer, songwriter or novelist I encounter, my worth shifting like the bubble in a spirit level.

I can’t say I never make that comparison. Pride that compares is a burr that sticks tight, but I am happiest when I enjoy everyone’s contribution, believing your success is mine and mine yours.

I make do with what is on hand. Instead of pride coming from having the most stuff, it comes from being so resourceful I don’t need more stuff. I use up everything, and imagine I am impressing the garbage men with my nearly-empty garbage can.

For each of these blog posts I push my brain out of its wagon ruts and think a new thought–and then I post it here. I want you to have it, not so you say, oh that Adrian is such a smarty-pants, but so that you will turn it over in your head, and see if it can be of some use to you, and then add what I overlooked in your comments.

300 102I give to my community—and I take. Take is the hard part, but if the relationship is all give, it is a subtle form of the “I’m better than you,” model.

I work to be a good steward of the talents and the physical body given to me in the genetic lottery.

I feel proud if I don’t squander what I have, but recognize I did nothing to earn any of these gifts, the most I can claim is that I have taken care of them.

I strive to applaud, not envy, your accomplishments. If any one of us does something well, it makes all of us look good. Go Homo sapiens!

When I manage to live these ideals I feel proud. I can’t help it, I’m human.

You are human too. So be proud, but invest your pride wisely.

Note: Pride cometh (or goeth) before a fall is Old Testament wisdom. I guess my claim about having a new thought was a bit prideful. I build on what has come before. 

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§ 5 Responses to Pride cometh.

  • craig reeder says:

    i don’t know why, but humility has always been elusive for me. i know i have an excessive ego, and a totally misplaced one, at that. so it is enormously helpful for me to read words like “what if we drew pride from…how well we live up to the ideals we hold” that helps me find a way toward a more fruitful path. thanks.

    Like

    • Craig, your ego is not as over-bearing as you think. You couldn’t be as generous as you are and be overwhelmed with your own greatness. I remember the business card you handed me when we first met: Craig Reeder, Human Being. That is a pretty modest brag.

      Like

  • Pat Skene says:

    Lovely post. I love the idea of sharing and recycling thoughts through our blog posts. A unique way of looking at it all. You have managed to poke me out of my wagon ruts with that one! 😊

    Like

    • Pat my dear–thank you–and now, tell me how to post comments to your blog. I see a million ways to share your post but no way to comment. Yes, I am that backward in the ethereal world of blogging.

      Like

      • Pat Skene says:

        Not backward at all. Blog themes have different spots to click on the comments section. For this blog, if you scroll under the share buttons, you should see the tags and then ‘comments.’ For example, the Clown post should show “18 comments.” You click on that.

        Like

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