April 09, 2007

Horse 745 - On Pride

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins along with Sneezy, Dopey, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, Pestilence and Lust. But is it all it's cracked up to be? When James Brown said that he was proud to be black, he wasn't necessarily asserting his supremacy as much as stating that he wasn't going to stand under the assumptions of white people anymore and more importantly try to make sure that one of his 3 only remembered songs was more important than Papa's Got A Brand New Bag and Sex Machine.

Pride in that sense refers to a strong sense of self-respect, a refusal to be humiliated as well as joy in the accomplishments of oneself or a person, group, or object that one identifies with. The Latin word prode means a state of usefulness, which is also where we get the word prowess.

The sin of pride is when this rises up to the exclusion of all others. It is the essentially competitive and excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of other people and especially God. Psalm 4:10 defines this roughly:
In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Which leads me to an interesting point, Pride in one's country does in fact do this. You aren't going to hear for instance someone say that they have the 8th best trained trrops in the world or that someone loves their country because they are slightly worse than Belgium.
Gay Pride for instance asserts that gay people are equal to everyone else, though in reality it should be used in the same sense as a pride of lions because they happen to be collected in one spot. Black Pride asserts black people after the opression they've faced.

Can someone be forced to say sorry for the mistakes of the past; what happens if you weren't actually alive, what does that in fact prove? The Union Jack on the Australian flag is said to have flown over some terrible places, but the same thing can be said of me when I flew over Adelaide en route to Perth on a Virgin flight.
Besides if you actually were to establish what the Union Jack represents now, it's flown primarily at cricket matches where the English crowds half expect England to lose anyway. National pride in that case might refer to the three lions on people's shirts and that if you can't beat them on field, then you might be able to outsing them.

Pride is a difficult thing to lay a finger on, primarily about feelings. It is perfectly reasonable to feel things occasionally, you might feel scared if you see Muslims on the train, or that you're in a pokey space in you happen you be in a lift, but when these are acted on inappropriately that's when it becomes a problem.

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