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Humility Irrationale

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AmbivalentEye
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You will obviously recognize which one is me.

Text of argument:

I beleive humility is disgraceful and an individual should never bow down for another, especially not a man for another man, or a woman for another woman. (The only exception might be acts of courtship: a man bows to a woman he would like to ask to dance)

Such an act represents a degradation of the self and an admittance that the other individual holds such superiority that they desrve to be fawned over for. No one has such merit. No one person should ever be exalted. A man is an end within himself. If he is to worhip anything, he is to worship the greatness of his own existence.

-Call me Narc

(For Narcissus)

May I die in a sensuous watery grave...

Reasonable. But you have forgot one thing, one person doesn't bow, they both bow. It is not degrading, it is showing a deep level of respect. But because you are a narc, you won't put yourself at the same level with other people. You think you are better in every possible way. I won't say anything about because that is just you. I accept that. The thing is, to get things done, it requires effort. I see that your narcisism is a biological don't. You have undermined the key component to your entire existense. Humans would never have been able to achieve what they needed if not for them banding together to get things done. One man can't build the pyramids. Bowing shows your mutual cooperation. Sure you may prefer to handshake, but I see bowing as a way of keeping people doing what they are supposed to do. It all comes down to how you want society...efficient or inefficient.

Also, humility is not degradation. It is courtesy to other people, to understand yourself and your limits, and to make sure you don't make an ass of yourself. My biggest fear for when you get older and become an activist, is that you will not be diplomatic...and die in vain. Humility is a strong diplomatic tool. Success is not individual effort, it relies on other people, whether you like it or not.

>>> You're right in one sense: I never put myself on the same level as other people, but I deal with them on mutual terms. I don't presume to imply that I am greater, but rather that I am myself and by volition choose not to refer to or associate myself with a collective. Society is composed of individuals.

Besides, all great acheivements were conceived by the minds of individuals, for which they were scolded and attacked brutally until the collectives stole those ideas and called it their own. Besides, you can't say that everything was a collective effort, when truly each part or each task complimented the whole. Its merely individuals with a common purpose, whether it be productivity, or human survival. They all work for their own interest.

Also, its true: I would never even think of sacrificing myself for anyone, but where the loop comes in is that honestly, I have no problem in dying to defend on of my principles -the role of the selfish martyr.

And: Humility is not a diplomatic tool. It is a weakness. Diplomats should always deal with each other on objective terms, and solely in that matter.

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AmbivalentEye, You and your friend need a concretize "humility" with something other than Japanese bowing. What are examples in real life where your friend uses humilty? And, how is this different from examples where he shows respect for others or shows modesty?

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I would agree that humility is bad if you meant it as the antonym of pride. If pride is moral ambitiousness, or the desire to perfect your character, improve upon your flaws and deriving self-esteem from your character, then the opposite of this would be one of the worst possible "virtues". It would require you to cherish your flaws like a pig rolls in the mud, so to speak.

I doubt that he explicitly sees humility as something like that, though. You could try and convince him that the concept means something wholly different from what he thinks it means. Perhaps he just regards it as a form of respect for other people.

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  • 1 month later...
Also, its true: I would never even think of sacrificing myself for anyone, but where the loop comes in is that honestly, I have no problem in dying to defend on of my principles -the role of the selfish martyr.

And: Humility is not a diplomatic tool. It is a weakness. Diplomats should always deal with each other on objective terms, and solely in that matter.

Being humble doesn't necessitate bowing down to people. Only choosing not to make them suffer for you being superior. Being humble has its place and time like any tool.

Humility is not a weakness. That's like saying not acting like a thug shows people how weak you are, so you should be an assholish brute all the time to defend yourself this sacrifice only you seem to be aware of.

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Only choosing not to make them suffer for you being superior.

By hiding the reality that I am superior (per hypothesis)? Their suffering is not due to the fact that I am superior, as I don't suffer but rather am inspired by people superior to myself. Faking reality for others is evasion coupled with altruism and is completely irrational.

mrocktor

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Of course, if you act on the premise that it is impossible to live without sacrificing someone then encountering someone superior to yourself would be dangerous for you. I think that is in part where most people's dislike of those superior to them comes from.

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I disagree, Illuminaughty. There is a difference between showing someone the respect they properly deserve and humility. Just look at the language used to describe this word:

Google - define: humble
  • low or inferior in station or quality; "a humble cottage"; "a lowly parish priest"; "a modest man of the people"; "small beginnings"
  • marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful; "a humble apology"; "essentially humble...and self-effacing, he achieved the highest formal honors and distinctions"- B.K.Malinowski
    cause to be unpretentious; "This experience will humble him"
  • used of unskilled work (especially domestic work)
  • humiliate: cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of; "He humiliated his colleague by criticising him in front of the boss"
  • base: of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense); "baseborn wretches with dirty faces"; "of humble (or lowly) birth"

If you are a professional, and I am an intern training to work with you, I will show you proper respect, as I would any boss. This would entail a certain set of manners, unless you waived them. I am not inferior in any way but as your employed subordinate, which carries with it a rational context. Within that context it's not humble for me to be quiet and listen when you're speaking to a colleague, call you "sir", or do what you tell me to do. For me to do these things is a selfish act, since I stand to gain from your experience and guidance; by interrupting you, irritating you by treating you like a college pal, of giving lip when asked to do something, I alienate you and limit what I can learn.

Someone who's humble would be an intern with the following behaviors: total deference to his trainer, silence born of the fear of saying the wrong thing or looking foolish, never meeting the eyes of his trainer, scurrying off to complete any assigned task as if it's a gift, inability to respond (or being afraid) of good-natured ribbing from office veterans (a light, innocent for of hazing, of course - not harrassment), etc.

The person exhibiting humility is doing so altruistically, completly convinced of their inferiority and lower station in life. It's no wonder these people don't get promotions.

As far as bowing is concerned, it depends on the context. Certainly the courtship example mentioned above is valid, although I can't imagine that kind of thing happens outside formal balls. With the Japanese, though, there are certain levels and contexts and types of bows. According to http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2000.html:

The Japanese greet each other by bowing. Bowing techniques range from a small nod of the head to a long, 90 degree bow. If the greeting takes place on tatami floor, people get on their knees in order to bow.

If your opposite is of higher social status than yourself, you are supposed to bow deeper and longer than him or her. But since most Japanese do not expect foreigners to know proper bowing rules, a nod of the head is usually sufficient.

It is also common to bow to express thanks or an apology or when making a request or asking somebody for a favor.

The head nod, the slight bow - I could see this as a contextually rational gesture, a way of appreciating hospitality, for instance. Since social status in Japan is now much like it is here - ie, wealth as a consequence of success, not birthright - it's reasonable (I think) to show such a sign of respect. Under no circumstance, though, will I do the 90-degree tilt, or get on my knees. If a situation called for that kind of thing, I'd pull a Gomer and feign ignorance.

But, I prefer a good handshake. Eye to eye. Firm grip. A nod of agreement. It is a proud mutual gesture of partners and traders. (You can get a lot of information about a person just from their handshake; probably a strong reason why it's done so much in America.)

Edited by synthlord
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I disagree, Illuminaughty. There is a difference between showing someone the respect they properly deserve and humility. Just look at the language used to describe this word:If you are a professional, and I am an intern training to work with you, I will show you proper respect, as I would any boss. This would entail a certain set of manners, unless you waived them. I am not inferior in any way but as your employed subordinate, which carries with it a rational context. Within that context it's not humble for me to be quiet and listen when you're speaking to a colleague, call you "sir", or do what you tell me to do. For me to do these things is a selfish act, since I stand to gain from your experience and guidance; by interrupting you, irritating you by treating you like a college pal, of giving lip when asked to do something, I alienate you and limit what I can learn.

Someone who's humble would be an intern with the following behaviors: total deference to his trainer, silence born of the fear of saying the wrong thing or looking foolish, never meeting the eyes of his trainer, scurrying off to complete any assigned task as if it's a gift, inability to respond (or being afraid) of good-natured ribbing from office veterans (a light, innocent for of hazing, of course - not harrassment), etc.

The person exhibiting humility is doing so altruistically, completly convinced of their inferiority and lower station in life. It's no wonder these people don't get promotions.

As far as bowing is concerned, it depends on the context. Certainly the courtship example mentioned above is valid, although I can't imagine that kind of thing happens outside formal balls. With the Japanese, though, there are certain levels and contexts and types of bows. According to http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2000.html:The head nod, the slight bow - I could see this as a contextually rational gesture, a way of appreciating hospitality, for instance. Since social status in Japan is now much like it is here - ie, wealth as a consequence of success, not birthright - it's reasonable (I think) to show such a sign of respect. Under no circumstance, though, will I do the 90-degree tilt, or get on my knees. If a situation called for that kind of thing, I'd pull a Gomer and feign ignorance.

But, I prefer a good handshake. Eye to eye. Firm grip. A nod of agreement. It is a proud mutual gesture of partners and traders. (You can get a lot of information about a person just from their handshake; probably a strong reason why it's done so much in America.)

You are wrong to think being proud and humble are mutually exclusive.

Altruism isn't the only motivation for humility. I never said humility was good always, just in some situations. If you've already humiliated someone multiple times while trying to teach them something, perhaps laying off a bit and trying a new approach may work better.

Don't jump on my ass for defending humility just because you've heard strong arguments against it before. I'm not debating those arguments, just adding in a little-paid-attention to use of humility that often goes unnoticed.

By hiding the reality that I am superior (per hypothesis)? Their suffering is not due to the fact that I am superior, as I don't suffer but rather am inspired by people superior to myself. Faking reality for others is evasion coupled with altruism and is completely irrational.

mrocktor

Being humble isn't synonymous with faking reality always. This is my point. A lot of people are humble to that end, but that isn't the only way one can be humble. This is all I'm saying. I've seen some VERY talented people be humble with their skill only because they accept that they can easily slip up. Recognizing the extent of you abilities and acknowledging them isn't any more irrational than not acknowledging them and pretending to be the biggest and bestest in the world!

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Easy there, fella ... I wasn't trying to aggravate you; if my language was inapproriate, I'll endeavor to take more care in the future.

As inspired by AmbivalentEye's post, my assertion is that there may be a semantic difference between "humility" and "showing respect", along the same lines as the difference between altruism and kindness. I think that, given the nature of the dictionary definition of humility, one can gleen an altruistic philosophical meaning of the word. Consequently, it would be proper to investigate a selfish motivation for humility, which should begin (I think) with making such a distinction.

If we define the terms, we can identify the concepts. Perhaps there's not a specific word for the distinction I'm asserting. Perhaps I'm incorrect in thinking that humility is a consequence of altruism, and such a word is unnecessary.

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Easy there, fella ... I wasn't trying to aggravate you; if my language was inapproriate, I'll endeavor to take more care in the future.

As inspired by AmbivalentEye's post, my assertion is that there may be a semantic difference between "humility" and "showing respect", along the same lines as the difference between altruism and kindness. I think that, given the nature of the dictionary definition of humility, one can gleen an altruistic philosophical meaning of the word. Consequently, it would be proper to investigate a selfish motivation for humility, which should begin (I think) with making such a distinction.

If we define the terms, we can identify the concepts. Perhaps there's not a specific word for the distinction I'm asserting. Perhaps I'm incorrect in thinking that humility is a consequence of altruism, and such a word is unnecessary.

I thought like you did before I saw some very noble people being humble in certian aspects. Humility IS MOST OFTEN done for the wrong reasons, but it isn't corrupt by nature, more by use.

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Recognizing the extent of you abilities and acknowledging them isn't (...) irrational (...)

It's not humility either.

humbleness (syn):

Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.

Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.

Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.

While not being arrogant (overestimating/overstating yourself) is a virtue, being humble (underestimating/understating yourself) certainly is not.

mrocktor

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Humility is the restraint of being arrogant.

I am not sure I understand your definition. Are you saying, perhaps implicitly, that the genus of humility is virtue, and that that virtue consists of restraining arrogance?

If so, then what is arrogance?

My definition of arrogance -- which I recall getting from Ayn Rand, but I don't remember the source -- is that arrogance is unearned assertiveness (in a social situation). What is your definition?

Edited by BurgessLau
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I am not sure I understand your definition. Are you saying, perhaps implicitly, that the genus of humility is virtue, and that that virtue consists of restraining arrogance?

If so, then what is arrogance?

My definition of arrogance -- which I recall getting from Ayn Rand, but I don't remember the source -- is that arrogance is unearned assertiveness (in a social situation). What is your definition?

No. I'm saying that humility can be good or bad, just like many actions. It depends on the intent of the person using it and how they're using it.

Arrogance is using one's superior ability to directly contrast anothers' lesser ability. This too can be bad depending on the reason why someone is doing it.

The form Ayn Rand cites is the negative use of arrogance. There is also the unintended arrogance that happens simply from being good, which is not bad at all.

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