Too much pride

This post was written by DoctorJay on July 4, 2010
Posted Under: ease of life

Today is 4th of July and we, in the USA, celebrate our independence from UK our original colonizing country.

We show our pride of being Americans by often eating and drinking foods which are bad for us (as well as being bad for the earth). Some will overdo drinking and end up having a bad time with friends and relatives all in the name of fun and pride of our experiment in freedom and liberty.

The question for today is, “Can there be too much pride?” or better yet, “What level of pride is good and what is counter productive?”

First of all a little pride in others is great. It builds cohesiveness and unity between people  and allows us to join together to achieve more. Whether you have pride in your child and so you encourage your child to do better, or you have pride in your country, so you encourage your country to do better, your pride in the other allows you to support the other.

However, pride is considered as one of the deadly sins. A little goes very, very far. Very soon rather than wishing, say, your team to do well, you wish the other team to do badly. Everything becomes a competition…

We end up with zero sum games (win-lose) where teachers grade on the curve. What if the teacher is great or this year we have a fantastic group of students?

Reminds me of a brain research conference I went to in 1971 when I was doing research in neurochemistry. We had dedicated one whole day on intelligence as this was one of those times (repeated about every twenty years) that some right wing psychologist “proves” that one race is less intelligent than another (in fact race is not a biological entity but a social construct).

One of the talks about intelligence was by an anthropologist who was doing research in Africa. He mentioned that in the tribe that he was with the children would feel shame if they did better than the next student (and hence show them up).

That is the opposite of our way of doing things and maybe is just as bad as our, “I’m number one” attitude.

A much better way to think and have pride is to compete with yourself and work to improve yourself. I recently wrote a post about brain exercises. I am dyslexic and hence even though I have a vast vocabulary I do badly in spelling and other verbal skills this program tests. I just look toward improving my skills.

It is important go for win-win situations and have pride in everyone’s victory. Of course I want my team to win, but it is not the end of the world if they lose, especially if it is a great game…


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