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Good Pride vs. Bad Pride

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ZSorenson
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Pride is universally condemned by religion. In many cases, it is upheld as the ultimate sin. The idea is that all other sins are really only symptoms of pride - at least in the context of obedience to God's will.

Yet, I think that pride is the most important emotion when it comes to rational decision making. It is the emotion of pride that allows a rational conclusion to overpower an irrational whim. If you look at the history of ethics and religion, it seems pretty obvious that pride has been attacked for precisely this reason. And so, that is perhaps the end of the story.

However, I have seen and read many moral parables that condemn pride, and many of them do so legitimately. While their target might be the life-serving pride, their example is often the sort of pride that works against life. Irrational pride.

What is a good way of drawing a line between rational and irrational pride? Oftentimes, rational pride can lead to mistakes only because of errors of reasoning or lack of knowledge. Sometimes, moderating pride can expose somebody to these errors, or open their minds to the knowledge they are missing. But pride is important for living a happy life.

What's the right way to moderate pride so that it serves life, but doesn't grow out of proportion to the knowledge on which it is rationally based? Well, there's the answer in part, but I wanted to know if anyone has any thoughts on the issue of pride.

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What's the right way to moderate pride so that it serves life, but doesn't grow out of proportion to the knowledge on which it is rationally based? Well, there's the answer in part, but I wanted to know if anyone has any thoughts on the issue of pride.

The answer is to live by a rational morality, and be proud of your achievements, not your ideology or the collective you belong to. (for instance, don't be proud that you're an Objectivist, be proud that you can achieve success, by acting as an Objectivist)

Sometimes, moderating pride can expose somebody to these errors, or open their minds to the knowledge they are missing.

You should not moderate (suppress) your pride, you should instead know what are the right actions, and choose them. Being proud of the wrong things is not the problem, thinking that the wrong things are right, and refusing to reconsider in the face of arguments and contradictions (arrogance) is.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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The answer is to live by a rational morality, and be proud of your achievements, not your ideology or the collective you belong to. (for instance, don't be proud that you're an Objectivist, be proud that you can achieve success, by acting as an Objectivist)

You should not moderate (suppress) your pride, you should instead know what are the right actions, and choose them. Being proud of the wrong things is not the problem, thinking that the wrong things are right, and refusing to reconsider in the face of arguments and contradictions (arrogance) is.

Excellent! That is the clear line I was looking for. I can't think of any example of 'bad' pride that doesn't have to do with a pre-assumed worth via identity. Neither a 'good' pride that doesn't derive directly from accomplishments.

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Excellent! That is the clear line I was looking for. I can't think of any example of 'bad' pride that doesn't have to do with a pre-assumed worth via identity. Neither a 'good' pride that doesn't derive directly from accomplishments.

Doesn't the whole issue swing on earned pride, as opposed to unmerited "pride" ? And then of course as Jake indicates, the next level back is a question of evasion or otherwise of reality.

Just as a minor rider to your point on 'accomplishment'; don't you think that it is possible to still have pride (the real one), and not have accomplished anything ... yet ? This is what I understand from Rand's use of the 'potential of Man'. As in - "... and grants them that initial good will in the name of their human potential..." (VOS)

SImilarly, one can have experienced failure, after failure, and still be entitled to genuine pride, for those accomplishments, one is rationally confident, will eventually come.

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Doesn't the whole issue swing on earned pride, as opposed to unmerited "pride" ? And then of course as Jake indicates, the next level back is a question of evasion or otherwise of reality.

Just as a minor rider to your point on 'accomplishment'; don't you think that it is possible to still have pride (the real one), and not have accomplished anything ... yet ? This is what I understand from Rand's use of the 'potential of Man'. As in - "... and grants them that initial good will in the name of their human potential..." (VOS)

SImilarly, one can have experienced failure, after failure, and still be entitled to genuine pride, for those accomplishments, one is rationally confident, will eventually come.

An action can be accomplishment, even if the desired outcome of that action isn't what is achieved. And granting goodwill for the sake of human potential reminds me of those credit agencies that say "your job's your credit". Sometimes being able to pay back is enough to justify a certain loan, but a greater guarantee of repayment justifies a greater loan. I think that a person, after a certain amount of time having not even moved in the direction of their potential should abandon pride until they are willing or able to do so. But, as in the case of severe depression - sometimes getting out of bed can be a great accomplishment. In the end, the issue of 'accomplishment' might as well be semantic to me. My original question was answered.

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An action can be accomplishment, even if the desired outcome of that action isn't what is achieved. And granting goodwill for the sake of human potential reminds me of those credit agencies that say "your job's your credit". Sometimes being able to pay back is enough to justify a certain loan, but a greater guarantee of repayment justifies a greater loan. I think that a person, after a certain amount of time having not even moved in the direction of their potential should abandon pride until they are willing or able to do so. But, as in the case of severe depression - sometimes getting out of bed can be a great accomplishment. In the end, the issue of 'accomplishment' might as well be semantic to me. My original question was answered.

Well, I'm glad you had your question answered right out of the box, but there might be some who would like to pursue this further, like me.

The 'good will" in that quote ,BTW, has nothing to do with this, and was just an illustration for Rand's concept of "potential".

I think you're missing something here in good pride having to do exclusively with accomplishment, by which I take it you mean, successfully completed action. Is that your meaning?

There is a deeper pride, which rests on one's sense of self-worth - leading directly from one's rationality, individualism, self-efficacy, and POTENTIAL for productivity..

To "abandon" pride at any stage, and for any reason, is to abandon that very virtue (not "emotion", btw) that will see one through an unproductive, unsuccessful, patch.

It is life serving as you say.

But where I think you have put the cart before the horse, is in your OP, with this :

"Yet, I think that pride is the most important emotion when it comes to rational decision making. It is the emotion of pride that allows a rational conclusion to overpower an irrational one."

Just not so. Rational pride stems from one's Reason, which, in turn, stems from one's adherence to Reality; it's the effect, not the cause.

Every other 'pride', is faked, and second-handed.

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Pride for your country's achievements in capitalism is good pride as it is based purely on a rationalist basis. Pride in capitalism is great! Capitalism. with its origins in Great Britain and the United States, is the greatest achievement of humankind for all ages past and future. This is something to be proud of. Pride in ego and rationality is also good, as is the pride of atheism over religious BS.

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I think the distinction between "good" and "bad" "pride" is one of pride versus vanity. By my understanding of O'ism, pride is taken to mean striving for moral perfection. It can be characterized as identifying the good and then working for it ("I'm good because I do good things"). Vanity, on the other hand, is the identification of the self as good, without a justification in reality ("What I do is good because I do it").

There's no such thing as "bad pride", if pride is to be taken as O'ists normally do.

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I think the distinction between "good" and "bad" "pride" is one of pride versus vanity. By my understanding of O'ism, pride is taken to mean striving for moral perfection. It can be characterized as identifying the good and then working for it ("I'm good because I do good things"). Vanity, on the other hand, is the identification of the self as good, without a justification in reality ("What I do is good because I do it").

There's no such thing as "bad pride", if pride is to be taken as O'ists normally do.

I'm with you for most of that. I see vanity (not the physical type) as irrational pride, except I don't think pride is the striving for moral perfection, as much as the reward for achieving some level of it.

Don't you think, too, that one could also rationally say "I'm good because I am capable, due to my morality, of good things">?

Bit of a contradiction in your last statement, I think, seeing as you already identified that 'bad' pride does exist.

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Pride is universally condemned by religion. In many cases, it is upheld as the ultimate sin. The idea is that all other sins are really only symptoms of pride - at least in the context of obedience to God's will.

Yet, I think that pride is the most important emotion when it comes to rational decision making. It is the emotion of pride that allows a rational conclusion to overpower an irrational whim. If you look at the history of ethics and religion, it seems pretty obvious that pride has been attacked for precisely this reason. And so, that is perhaps the end of the story.

However, I have seen and read many moral parables that condemn pride, and many of them do so legitimately. While their target might be the life-serving pride, their example is often the sort of pride that works against life. Irrational pride.

What is a good way of drawing a line between rational and irrational pride? Oftentimes, rational pride can lead to mistakes only because of errors of reasoning or lack of knowledge. Sometimes, moderating pride can expose somebody to these errors, or open their minds to the knowledge they are missing. But pride is important for living a happy life.

What's the right way to moderate pride so that it serves life, but doesn't grow out of proportion to the knowledge on which it is rationally based? Well, there's the answer in part, but I wanted to know if anyone has any thoughts on the issue of pride.

Ayn Rand considered pride to be a virtue. That is to say, not the emotion of pride as a virtue, but an actual principle of behavior by which one pursue one's self-esteem by always working toward moral perfection. A proud man is a man that holds himself and his self-esteem as a value - one of the highest ones, the one that "makes all others possible".

So there is no bad pride and good pride, if by pride one means the pursuit of the moral perfection of one's character.

Some people refuse to hear anything that would threaten their source of self esteem - irrational, or pseudo self esteem. They refuse to acknowledge a mistake or a flaw of character. I think people call this "pride" as well. But this is not pride. It is the equivalent of trying to have self esteem without holding oneself to any standard. "I'm good because I am me!".

I think it is mistaken with the valid concept of pride because genuine proud people do not surrender their opinion when they know they are right. Irrational people refuse to surrender their opinions no matter what. On the surface it might appear to be the same trait but it is actually a virtue and its vice.

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Ayn Rand considered pride to be a virtue. That is to say, not the emotion of pride as a virtue, but an actual principle of behavior by which one pursue one's self-esteem by always working toward moral perfection. A proud man is a man that holds himself and his self-esteem as a value - one of the highest ones, the one that "makes all others possible".

So there is no bad pride and good pride, if by pride one means the pursuit of the moral perfection of one's character.

"....IF by pride one means the pursuit"... Well, I consider that to be a big 'IF'; it depends on who you're talking to, but Objectively you are 100% right.

In discussion with other Objectivists, who know that pride is a virtue, you have ready acceptance on this definition.

But what about with non-O'ists? The word "pride" has been embedded in society for millenia, to be equated with "hubris" ('violent, overweening pride and insolence' ).

It becomes the same old problem of people not understanding the objective definition, and readily falling back on the accepted definition .

Christianity has usurped the meaning of too many words, and this is another.

Which is why we have seen several debates on : Arrogance ; Greed ; Sacrifice ; and of course, Selfishness. All concepts that have been tainted.

Until O'ism becomes more mainstream, we could get around this by placing 'Rational' as pre-fix to the word - which we already do with 'selfishness'.

"Rational Pride", anyone?

You might say to hell with them if they don't see it the O'ist way! But out in the world, an Objectivist still has to be clearly (and proudly) understood.

Edited by whYNOT
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Pride is when someone refuses to bow down, it's when someone does not give up their opinion just because others want one to do so. Pride is when one does not humbly accept one's role as a servant to others or to god, but asserts his right to live for himself and his loyalty and open acceptance of himself as a value.

I don't think people disagree with the above. Pride is about "me". Holding oneself as a value in thought and in action.

What do people regard as a "proud man"? OK, this is funny, but how about Clark Kent's father from Smallvile? Whenever Luthor came to their farm with some new demands, he would not humbly back down like the other towns people who were afraid and humble by Luthor's forture, but he would face him in full height and with confidence. The show referred to him as a proud man. So I think the common concept of pride does match Ayn Rand's concept.

What Ayn Rand added to this is what is actually involved in holding oneself and one's self-esteem as a value - which is the action of earning and pursuing one's self esteem by pursuing moral perfection and not surrendering one's value to others.

There's no need to add "rational" at the beginning. A man who refuses to apologize when he should, who refuses to admit a mistake, who is a rebel for the sake of being a rebel is not proud, since he does not actually hold his self esteem as a value. So it's simply a mistake in identification.

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