JOURNEY INTO SELF-KNOWLEDGE – 4
Pride

 

“On the stage, Han and Sophia (two robots) discuss about the future of human beings.
 
«In twenty years robots will be able to accomplish all of humans tasks» Han says, with an arrogant look under his wide-brimmed hat.

«But humans are more reflective than robots and have an ability to correct themselves», politely answers Sophia”.
 
I thought it might be useful to start this new consideration with a quote, the starting point of an article from Il Corriere of some days ago.
 
It is very comforting to read this kind of sentences: humans are more reflective and have an ability to correct themselves.
 
We need this; we need to be constantly reminded these words.

Because the value of life, the value of humanity and of every single human being depend on this capability: that of being open to reflection and self-correction.

Without this capability, there only are automatisms, more or less animal-like, more or less conscious.
 
Let’s then go on with more enthusiasm, passion and determination towards this path of self-knowledge that I invited you to join.
 
The second vice or passion of which we need to be conscious of, in order to be able to transform it, is pride (or vanity)
 
 
PRIDE
 
 
What is it?
 
Pride is an attitude of our mind and of our heart that leads us to constantly search other people’s approval and consent: this is because a proud person believes he has superior qualities and wants these qualities to be recognized.
 
An arrogant person only cares about imposing his point of view, affirming his authority, his power; a proud person is concerned that his qualities, which he considers excellent, be appreciated and recognized.
 
Pride might have real basis, that is to say, there are people who do possess superior qualities.
 
This said, this might also be a mere personal feeling, based on the belief on one own’s value. Based on a wrong self perception.

Because the proud person is always looking for other people’s esteem and consent, he lives his personal relationships with a continuous and hidden conflict.

Always ready to underline other people’s faults, always ready to refuse whatever aversion, observation, suggestion, critic:
 
Pride leads to conflict, those who take advice are wise (Prov 13,10).
 
Together with conflict pride also generates sadness and isolation because it makes the proud incapable of enjoying other people’s qualities and successes, because they are seen as a menace to one’s excellence, an invasion to the little garden one has created, a danger to the role one has built for himself:
 
Therefore, my son, love your kinsmen. Do not be so proudhearted toward your kinsmen, the sons and daughters of your people, as to refuse to take a wife for yourself from among them. For in such arrogance there is ruin and great disorder (Tobia, 4,13). 
 
The big danger of pride is that it is especially tempting people who have virtues and capabilities, creating in them the belief that these qualities are the result of their own abilities; thus they forget that they are a gift of God received by nature or by grace , and also that these gifts have to be used for the common good, because we are all part of a common and big human family.
 
Goliath was defeated by David because he was too self absorbed in his own qualities.
 
Jesus himself had to be confronted with vanity during the temptation in the desert: he defeated it relying on the Celestial Father.
 
How can we protect ourselves from pride and vanity?
 

  • With humbleness!
    By understanding, in the first place, that real humbleness primarily consists of realizing that the talents and capabilities that we possess, by nature or by grace, come from God.

 

  • In the second place, using all the gifts that we possess in order to help the others and not only ourselves.

 

  • In the third place, by not judging  or blaming those who are not capable or do not possess a lot, and  by appreciating, at the same time, the little the others are able to express, because we also need the humblest tasks.

 

RESUMING
 
Gratitude, praise and service towards the others protect us from pride and reveal the great truth, known by few:
 

to serve is to reign.

 
I wish you a good time of personal examination,
 
Fra Giuseppe Paparone

 

Click to go to the next post on the topic (Journey into self-knowledge 5)

 

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