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Pride is sometimes viewed as excessive or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. While some philosophies such as Aristotle's consider pride a profound virtue, most world religions consider it a sin. The Roman Catholic Church lists pride as the most deadly of the seven deadly sins.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, proud comes from late Old English prud, probably from Old French prude "brave, valiant" (11th century), from late Latin term prode "advantageous, profitable", which comes from prodesse "to be useful". The sense of "having a high opinion of oneself", not in French, may reflect the Anglo-Saxons' opinion of the Norman knights who called themselves "proud", like the French knights preux. [How to reference and link to summary or text]
When viewed as a virtue, pride in one's appearance and abilities is known as virtuous pride, greatness of soul or magnanimity, but when viewed as a vice it is often termed vanity or vainglory. Pride can also manifest itself as a high opinion of one's nation (national pride) and ethnicity (ethnic pride).
Religious views[edit | edit source]
Judaism, using pride in the sense of hubris or arrogance, denounces it - the phrase "Pride goes before a fall" is a paraphrase of a passage from the book of Proverbs, in the Old Testament. Many more verses of the Tanakh/Old Testament speak of pride and arrogance. "Blessed is that man that makes the Lord his trust, and looks not to the proud, nor to those that turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40:4) "Talk no more exceeding proudly, nor let arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." (I Sam. 2:3)
In Christianity, pride (Latin, superbia) is seen as the excessive love of one's own worth usually by attempting to remove oneself from subjection to God or valid authorities. A scriptural reference to pride can be found in the Psalms: "In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." (Psalm 10:4). Pride is sometimes referred to as the greatest of the seven deadly sins. To that effect, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that "inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin." This sentiment was also expressed by Pope Gregory I. Curiously Aquinas, who viewed pride as sinful "excessive self love", nevertheless endorsed the possibility of a virtuous kind of pride when he translated Aristotle's virtuous pride (Greek: megalopsuchia) as magninimitas, which in latin means "greatness of soul"; yet Aquinas believed that the greatness that magnanimitas required was beyond the reach of almost all men and that, like pride, it opposed the Christian virtue of humility.
In Islam, pride is forbidden as well. According to a narration from Prophet Muhammad, he said: "He in whose heart there is as much as an atom of arrogance will not enter paradise," and a man remarked: "A man likes his garment to be beautiful and his sandals to be beautiful." Then Muhammad(S.A.W) replied: "God, Most High, is beautiful and likes beauty; arrogance is disdaining what is true and despising people." (Sahih Muslim).
In Buddhism, pride is seen as illogical as no one person or thing can be better or worse than something or someone else. [How to reference and link to summary or text] In Hinduism, Ravana, an evil king who was killed by Rama, avatar of Vishnu, exhibited the sins of pride and lust. [How to reference and link to summary or text]. In Taoism, according to the Tao Te Ching, pride and greed are human errors. [How to reference and link to summary or text]
Philosophical views[edit | edit source]
Ancient Greek philosophy[edit | edit source]
Aristotle identified pride (megalopsuchia, variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul and magnanimity) as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility, thus:
- Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them; for he who does so beyond his deserts is a fool, but no virtuous man is foolish or silly. The proud man, then, is the man we have described. For he who is worthy of little and thinks himself worthy of little is temperate, but not proud; for pride implies greatness, as beauty implies a goodsized body, and little people may be neat and well-proportioned but cannot be beautiful. 
He concludes then that
- Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them greater, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character. 
By contrast, Aristotle defined hubris as follows:
- to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.
Thus, although many religions may not recognize the difference, for Aristotle and many philosophers hubris is altogether an entirely different thing from pride.
Nietzsche[edit | edit source]
Nietzsche saw pride as an example of a previous, master set of morals that had been replaced with slave moralities. In this, pride was good, because it acknowledges the good and the noble, rejecting the weak and insipid. Without pride, we will remain subservient.
Objectivism[edit | edit source]
Objectivism is among the few modern philosophies and/or religions that list pride as a virtue. According to Ayn Rand, pride is one of the seven main virtues. In The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand wrote
- The virtue of pride can best be described by the term: “moral ambitiousness.” It means that one must earn the right to hold oneself as one’s own highest value by achieving one’s own moral perfection—which one achieves by never accepting any code of irrational virtues impossible to practice and by never failing to practice the virtues one knows to be rational—by never accepting an unearned guilt and never earning any, or, if one has earned it, never leaving it uncorrected—by never resigning oneself passively to any flaws in one’s character—by never placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of one’s own self-esteem. And, above all, it means one’s rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty.
Pride is thus seen as a positive, correct life-affirming attitude to have, as it celebrates one's achievements and promoted selfworth. It is achieved by consistently practicing productiveness, rationality, independence, honesty, integrity, justice and all of the other virtues, and the end result is one of the three cardinal Objectivist values: self-esteem.
Psychological views[edit | edit source]
Hubris is a sense of self exaggerated pride. There are two main types of pride that relate to hubris: alpha pride and beta pride.
Alpha Pride (Pride within self) is described as a behavior that reflects less emotional expression. Alpha pride concerns feelings of inward gratification rather than the outward expressions that more concern that of beta pride. Beta Pride (Pride in behavior) is described as a behavior that contributes to hubris negatively. Beta pride in contrast to alpha pride is more of an emotional expression. Emotional expressions are often intended as communicative acts addressed to another person rather than direct reflections of an underlying mental state. Several theories are related to the relationship of beta pride and the unconscious feelings of detachment/unconcern.
Pride is "a pleasant, sometimes exhilarating, emotion that results from a positive self-evaluation" (Luis, 2002). The standard view of pride was that it results from satisfaction with meeting the personal goals set by oneself. Most research on pride attempts to distinguish the positive aspects of pride and the negative. Pride involves exhilarated pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment. Pride is related to "more positive behaviors and outcomes in the area where the individual is proud" (Weiner, 1985). Pride is generally associated with positive social behaviors such as helping others and outward promotion. According to Bagozzi et. al, pride can have the positive benefits of enhancing creativity, productivity, and altruism. Gestures that demonstrate pride can involve a lifting of the chin, smiles, or arms on hips to demonstrate victory.
Hubris, by contrast, involves an arrogant tone and satisfaction in oneself in general. Hubris seems to be associated with more intra-individual negative outcomes. Hubris is related to expressions of aggression and hostility (Tagney, 1999). Hubris is not necessarily associated with high self-esteem, as one might expect. But with highly fluctuating or variable self-esteem (Rhodwalt, et al.) Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency of creating conflict and sometimes terminating close relationships. Hubris is considered one of the only emotions without some positive functions. When we are exposed to hubris we tend to avoid, shun, and reject the hubristic person.
National pride[edit | edit source]
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Germany[edit | edit source]
In Germany, "national pride" ("Nationalstolz") is often associated with the former Nazi regime. Strong displays of national pride are therefore considered poor taste by many Germans. There is an ongoing public debate about the issue of German patriotism. The World Cup in 2006, held in Germany, saw a wave of patriotism sweep the country in a manner not seen for many years. Although many were hesitant to show such blatant support as the hanging of the national flag from windows, as the team progressed through the tournament, so too did the level of support across the nation. By the time the semi-final against Italy came around, the level of national pride and unity was at its highest throughout the tournament, and the hosting of the World Cup is seen to have been a great success for Germany as a nation. [How to reference and link to summary or text]
Ethnic pride[edit | edit source]
Asian pride[edit | edit source]
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Asian pride in modern slang refers mostly to those of East Asian descent, though it can include any one of Asian descent. Asian pride was originally fragmented, as Asian nations have had long conflicts with each other, examples are the old Japanese and Chinese religious beliefs of their individual superiority. Asian pride emerged prominently during European colonialism. At one time, Europeans owned 85% of the world's land through colonialism, resulting anti-Western feelings among Asian nations. Today, some Asians still look upon European involvement in their affairs with suspicion. In contrast, Asian empires are prominent and are proudly remembered by adherents to Asian Pride. An example is the Mongol Empire, which was one of the largest empires in history, occupying most of Asia. Another empire is Imperial Japan, the symbols of which are widespread in modern culture and franchises, especially the Rising Sun Flag, one of the main symbols of Asian, specifically Japanese, pride.
Black pride[edit | edit source]
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Black pride is a slogan used primarily in the United States to raise awareness for a black racial identity. The slogan has been used by African Americans (especially of sub-Saharan African origin) to denote a feeling of self-respect, celebrating one's heritage, and being proud of one's personal worth. Black pride as a national movement is closely linked with the developments of the American Civil Rights Movement, during which noted figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, A. Philip Randolph, Stokely Carmichael, and others protested the conditions of the United States' segregated society, and lobbied for better treatment for people of the Black race. Roy Innis has sought to enhance and build on the black pride movement of the mid-1960’s, he and a Congress of Racial Equality delegation toured seven African countries in 1971. Curtis Mayfield's "We're a Winner" became a virtual anthem of the black power and black pride movements.
The concept of black power also permeated into the work of popular musicians at the time. The Impressions's "We're a Winner", written by their lead singer Curtis Mayfield, became a virtual anthem of the black power and black pride movements, as did James Brown's "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", Collin Carlone's "Life As a 'Boro Black Boy", and, unwittingly, Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street". In addition to Black America, the Black Pride Movement was very prevalent in “Afro-Brazil"., especially throughout their poorer population. A local and global recognition of this movement has been demonstrated throughout Brazilian funk. Brazilian Funk’s origin reflects Brazilian Black resistance and today appeals to a larger regional cultural identity. Ethnomusicologist George Yúdice’s states that youth were engaging black culture mediated by a U.S. culture industry met with many arguments against their susceptibility to cultural colonization. Although it borrows some ingredients from a form of Black American musical resistance hip hop, its style still remains unique to the Brazil (specifically in Rio and São Paulo).
White pride[edit | edit source]
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White pride is a slogan used primarily in the United States to agitate for a white European racial identity and is closely aligned with white supremacy, white separatism, and other extreme manifestations of white racism. Organizations advocating white pride are collectively referred to as the white pride movement. White pride activists claim that white pride is equivalent to "black pride" and similar terms that express no more than ethnic self-affirmation.
LGBT/Gay pride[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gay pride
Gay pride refers to a world wide movement and philosophy asserting that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT pride advocates work for equal "rights and benefits" for LGBT people. The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.
Vanity[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Vanity
In conventional parlance, vanity sometimes is used in a positive sense to refer to a rational concern for one's personal appearance, attractiveness and dress and is thus not the same as pride. However, it also refers to an excessive or irrational belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness in the eyes of others and may in so far be compared to pride. The term Vanity originates from the Latin word vanitas meaning emptiness, untruthfulness, futility, foolishness and empty pride. Here empty pride means a fake pride, in the sense of vainglory, unjustified by one's own achievements and actions, but sought by pretense and appeals to superficial characteristics.
In many religions, vanity is considered a form of self-idolatry, in which one rejects God for the sake of one's own image, and thereby becomes divorced from the graces of God. The stories of Lucifer and Narcissus (who gave us the term narcissism), and others, attend to a pernicious aspect of vanity. In Western art, vanity was often symbolized by a peacock, and in Biblical terms, by the Whore of Babylon. In secular allegory, vanity was considered one of the minor vices. During the Renaissance, vanity was invariably represented as a naked woman, sometimes seated or reclining on a couch. She attends to her hair with comb and mirror. The mirror is sometimes held by a demon or a putto. Other symbols of vanity include jewels, gold coins, a purse, and often by the figure of death himself.
Often we find an inscription on a scroll that reads Omnia Vanitas ("All is Vanity"), a quote from the Latin translation of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Although that phrase, itself depicted in a type of still life, vanitas, originally referred not to obsession with one's appearance, but to the ultimate fruitlessness of man's efforts in this world, the phrase summarizes the complete preoccupation of the subject of the picture.
"The artist invites us to pay lip-service to condemning her," writes Edwin Mullins, "while offering us full permission to drool over her. She admires herself in the glass, while we treat the picture that purports to incriminate her as another kind of glass—a window—through which we peer and secretly desire her." The theme of the recumbent woman often merged artistically with the non-allegorical one of a reclining Venus.
In his table of the Seven Deadly Sins, Hieronymus Bosch depicts a bourgeois woman admiring herself in a mirror held up by a devil. Behind her is an open jewelry box. A painting attributed to Nicolas Tournier, which hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, is An Allegory of Justice and Vanity. A young woman holds a balance, symbolizing justice; she does not look at the mirror or the skull on the table before her. Vermeer's famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is sometimes believed to depict the sin of vanity, as the young girl has adorned herself before a glass without further positive allegorical attributes.  All is Vanity, by Charles Allan Gilbert (1873-1929), carries on this theme. An optical illusion, the painting depicts what appears to be a large grinning skull. Upon closer examination, it reveals itself to be a young woman gazing at her reflection in the mirror. Such artistic works served to warn viewers of the ephemeral nature of youthful beauty, as well as the brevity of human life and the inevitability of death.
See also[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- "Est autem superbia amor proprie excellentie, et fuit initium peccati superbia."
- Article from Free Online Dictionary, accessed 9 Nov. 2008
- Delany, J. (1911). Pride. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 19, 2008 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12405a.htm
- Online Library of Liberty - QUESTION CLXII.: OF PRIDE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
- The Ethics of Aquinas By Stephen J. Pope (Google Books)
- The Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle, James Alexander, Kerr Thomson, Hugh Tredennick, Jonathan Barnes translators
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3; also available here Sacred Texts - Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; and here alternate translation at Perseus
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3
- Understanding Philosophy for AS Level AQA, by Christopher Hamilton (Google Books)
- Aristotle Rhetoric 1378b (Greek text and English translation available at the Perseus Project).
- “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 27, see also http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pride.html
- Langguth, Gerd. German Foreign Affairs Review. "Dawn of the 'Pacific' Century?" 1996. June 30, 2007. 
- Yúdice, George. "The Funkification of Rio." In Microphone Fiends, 193-220. London: Routledge, 1994. /
- Dobratz & Shanks-Meile 2001
- Pride celebrated worldwide. www.pridesource.com. URL accessed on 2007-07-31.
- GAY PRIDE IN EUROPE LOOKS GLOBALLY. direland.typepad.com. URL accessed on 2007-07-31.
- Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Equality -an Issue for us All. www.ucu.org.uk. URL accessed on 2007-07-31.
- Gay and Lesbian History Month. www.bates.ctc.edu. URL accessed on 2007-07-31.
- Words Latin-English Dictionary;Perseus Word Lookup
- James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), 318.
- Edwin Mullins, The Painted Witch: How Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1985), 62-3.
References[edit | edit source]
- Cairns, Douglas L. "Hybris, Dishonour, and Thinking Big." Journal of Hellenic Studies 116 (1996) 1-32.
- Fisher, Nick (1992). Hybris: a study in the values of honour and shame in Ancient Greece, Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips. A book-length discussion of the meaning and implications of hybristic behavior in ancient Greece.
- MacDowell, Douglas. "Hybris in Athens." Greece and Rome 23 (1976) 14-31.
- Owen, David (2007) The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power Politico's, Methuen Publishing Ltd.
- Essential Vermeer
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See also: Meta-emotion
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.]]
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