Monday, September 5, 2011

Words, Words, Words

As rain pours, making ponds of our goat paddocks, I ponder the practicality of being proud. We met a woman the other night who insisted her husband is the only man she ever met who has no ego. That's what she said. Maybe she meant he isn't egocentric. Perhaps that's why I liked him. I don't think so.

When we lived in North Carolina, many people said, "I'm proud of you." In a way, it was like being in a non-English-speaking country. Someone who barely knew us would say, "I'm proud of you." The statement was believable, said with confidence and certainty. It was not fluff. Well, maybe it was, but it sounded sincere, not like the "love ya" that gets tossed about so easily. For me to believe that phrase, it must be said fully and completely, "I love you," with no ambiguity as to who loves whom.

Many religions view humility as a virtue and pride as a deadly sin. I understand that St. Augustine wrote that pride "is the love of one's own excellence" and in the words of Meher Baba, "Pride is the specific feeling through which egoism manifests." Some philosophers consider pride a virtue. Funny thing, in one week one can receive a compliment for humility and a suspicion of pride. Hmmm, maybe it's okay coming from someone else but not from oneself or, like ice cream, chocolate and almost everything else, in moderation.

"I thought pride was a pack of lions," says Virginia.

Of course she's right. Rrrrr.


  1. mary pannabecker steinerSeptember 8, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    I love you and I'm proud of you too. Too often we mistake pride for vanity. There's a big difference. It's wonderful to be proud of oneself for an accomplishment, but it's not so great to think that one is better than someone else because of it. Isn't that what you're teaching your students?