Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On Humility

Humility can mean various things:
  • Considering that, and behaving as if, one is not essentially superior or better than others: Expertise, skill, knowledge, intelligence can all have degrees of accomplishment. But to claim that one’s self is somehow “better” because of a certain accomplishment is generally not taken well. And as it is true that all “selves” are capable of both good and bad, to consider oneself as if “one’s shit don’t smell” is therefore justly seen as arrogance. And hence, humility in this form is seen as the opposite of arrogance, and hence, a good and pleasant thing.

    The only superiority worth its name is if one demonstrably lives a greater percentage of one’s time being happy and benign. And even then, making this claim is usually superfluous; one’s very life is the claim.

  • Understating one’s achievements, not claiming credit, and self-effacement: This is generally done to not even allow the possibility of any impression of arrogance. This keeps the others in good humor and well-disposed. People are not very happy to be around a person who is somehow better than them, or more fortunate, or has certain achievements to his/her credit (unless they be identified with him/her, in which case the pride can be shared).

  • Being open to the possibility of being wrong: To be open to the possibility of being wrong about an opinion is the mark of maturity, but to qualify even factual perceptions and logical implications as “probably mistaken” is an indication of a personality which seeks to avoid a conflict, disagreement or debate at any cost.

  • Feeling small in the face of something much bigger: Now this is a heart-felt emotion, frequently felt while contemplating nature and the universe, and is a spiritual quality of being, which in intense forms can lead to a temporary ego-less state.
By the way, humility is the flip-side of pride. Have you ever noticed that you cannot but help feel proud of your humility?

3 comments:

http://change-within.blogspot.com said...

I do not think a person with the quality of humility will ever feel pride about having that quality. If so, it is not humility. It is an vehicle to feel that person is better than others.In such case, the feeling of humility may be a mear "projection of mind" and not a real one, I feel.

http://change-within.blogspot.com

srid said...

but to qualify even factual perceptions and logical implications as “probably mistaken” is an indication of a personality which seeks to avoid a conflict, disagreement or debate at any cost... which is a form euphemism, isn't it? one does not want to see the other getting offended and hence tries to substitute the facts with less offending sentences.

have you noticed this (people's reactions) in your face-to-face conversations?

Ketan said...

Hi!

You could find my take on these related terms here:

http://ketanpanchal.blogspot.com/2009/04/pride-arrogance-rudeness-etc.html

But I must remind, the way I have defined the terms there is just my personal interpretation, and in fact, not the dictionary meanings.

TC.