Why does society want us to be humble? And, why does society value humility? The funny thing about humility is that it transcends every society, meaning that most every country values humility. However, is humility a truly desirable trait? In part, the dictionary definition of humility according to Dictionary.com is as follows: 1) having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.; 2) to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase. There are other definitions which are neither positive nor negative, so let’s focus on the two listed. What about these two qualities in a human is desirable? Why should anyone have a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, or subservience and why would someone deliberately lower oneself in condition, importance or dignity? If someone does debase themselves knowingly/deliberately then they are being pretentious, on the other hand if they don’t truly understand who they are and why they are then they’re pretty stupid. Either way, humility is a pretty idiotic trait.
So then why is humility so universally accepted as being a good characteristic in a human being? It really has nothing to do with being a good characteristic of a person, but more to do with being good for the person’s physical well-being. When one is humble, one appears less threatening and under carefully crafted situations can make the audience feel better about themselves than they really are. For those that have nothing but guile who work for those that are weak-minded and easily deceived, but who happen to be very powerful and/or wealthy, it was a great way to ensure a more secure and wealthy life. Having seen the efficacy of the strategy work for generations upon generations, what once was a stratagem to ensure a better life became a positive character trait, because it did help ensure a better life. Look around you today: How many brown-nosers and ass-kissers do you see that get ahead, despite their vast lack of ability?!
So, humility isn’t really about what is good or bad as a character trait. Because, in reality, humility is a very bad human characteristic, and it is a bad human characteristic precisely because it is either borne of ignorance or deception. So there must be other reasons why it is considered to be good. What could that be other than what one can gain from being humble? Think about it: What do you seem to gain when you appear humble? You gain the favor of those around you. What does that do for you? It gets you into the good graces of those around you, because you appear to be wise, unthreatening, thoughtful, and to a large degree educated or intelligent. This then opens doors for you, gives you opportunities, and puts you into the good graces of those that are more powerful or wealthy, which then makes your career path easier and likely more lucrative. It isn’t rocket science!
So, don’t be humble and don’t honor those that are humble! Humility is bullshit!
By the way, this is not to say that we should all go out of our way to be arrogant or cocky either. Especially cocky. To me, arrogance is someone who flaunts their exceptional quality or character, accomplishments, wisdom, intelligence, creativity, or other desirable traits or assets. This isn’t the worse thing someone can do. However, cockiness is something completely different in my book. To me, cockiness is flaunting what they THINK they have that is positive or PRETENDING to have something that is positive — could be viewed as the opposite of humility in a sense. While arrogance is tolerable — because it is the truth — to most people, it is distasteful, not because it’s a bad thing to do, but because it makes them look and feel small(er).
But from a social point of view, whether its arrogance or cockiness, both have exactly the opposite effect as humility on one’s social standing, chances for success, how we’re perceived, etc. because it creates precisely the opposite effect on people around us that humility creates, which is actually sad. Both effects are sad!
As an aside, I would note that one of the objectives to achieving an ideal, harmonious and peaceful society on earth would be when people start treating humility — and, in general, superficiality and pretense — with disgust and disdain and start recognizing and appreciating truth in whichever form that it may come.
Regardless, we must all learn to appreciate and recognize the truth, both in ourselves and in others, and that is that there are people who are truly accomplished, and they should be recognized for it and appreciated for it, not put down for it. Moreover, especially when asked, we shouldn’t criticize people for speaking the truth. As an example, if Tom Brady were asked, “are you the best quarterback of all time?” What should his answer be? Most people think he should say something like, “well although I do have 5 Super Bowl rings, I don’t think that alone qualifies me as the best quarterback of all time. There are others that have accomplished, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I think this is crapola. I think Tom Brady should answer, “yes, I have five Super Bowl rings. No other quarterback has achieved that level of success.” Same goes for Tiger Woods. If he were asked are you the best golfer of all time, I think he should say the following, “Yes, I’m certainly in the top two. While Jack Nicklaus has 18 majors, which is one way to measure greatness, no one comes close to my win percentage. I’ve won close to one in every four tournaments entered. No one has done that, and I have won the most tournaments in golf history, neither of things which Mr. Nicklaus has accomplished.” These are facts and truths, and there is nothing wrong with someone relying on their individual measures to determine what they think they’ve accomplished.
The problem is is that one could argue with the definition of what constitutes the best, but this is neither here nor there. The fact is the way Mr. Brady should think of his accomplishments and the way Mr. Woods should think of his accomplishments are both highly valid points of view, and a very good way to measure what is and isn’t the best. Yet, if either of these gentlemen were to say what I think they should to the answer of “are you the best of all time,” the “world” would do everything in their power to make them look small, stupid, uneducated, and uncivilized barbarians. Not to mention them as being arrogant, bombastic, cocky, ignorant, or any other derogatory term they could come up with that they think fits.
The fact of the matter is is that that the “world” would do this is not an indication of how rotten Mr. Brady and Mr. Woods are, but how small, petty, narrow-minded, easily slighted, vapid, superficial, pretentious, and perhaps even envious and jealous the world is of them. And, so it has become acceptable to twist the truth, deliberately hide or be dishonest about oneself to avoid being harangued, tortured, berated, or otherwise subjected to being demolished by pretty much everyone in the world, i.e., to be humble.
If you don’t see how screwed up this is then you are most likely one of the people that makes the world darker, sadder, smaller, and incredibly difficult for honest people to live in; the same person that cheers when the “opposing team’s” star player is hurt; or boos when a referee makes a great call but against “your team”; or gets upset at a great play made by the “opposing team,” while appreciating the same thing from one’s “own team”; or is secretly joyous watching someone fall (figuratively, mostly, but sometimes literally); or is pretentious and superficial, but works hard to portray themselves as wise and thoughtful through artificial cues such as humility or by speaking softly or by qualifying everything they say unless it is proven to be true or by pretending to agree with someone; or pretends not to enjoy tearing people down while tearing them down, indirectly or otherwise. Oddly enough, the really honest people in our society don’t succeed because there are so many pretentious and superficial people that are small, petty, and easily slighted that take joy in destroying those truly honest people, and because so many don’t understand nor appreciate the true value of honesty.
But what I find sadly hysterical is that the people that try to destroy truly honest people aren’t doing so because they think those people are bad, but they do so lest they themselves are revealed for what they truly are, which should/would end their largely ill-gotten success, career, or livelihood. So, instead of bettering themselves, they are compelled to destroy the truly honest people in the hopes that no one notices that they themselves are rotten to the core. Why does the world tolerate such awful behavior?
The bottom-line is is that we should all value true and real honesty, and, in order to have a world that views true honesty as one of its core immutable values, we must all work together to expose the phony, superficial, pretentious, and duplicitous humans that dominate our society, country, and the world.
Obviously, this is easier said then done, but as a beginning, start with yourself — by the way, this is much easier said than done — then with your family, then with your friends, then with strangers, and finally within the organization that you work in. This last part, you must tread carefully for obvious reasons. The best way is to ally yourself with others of the same ilk, but beyond that there isn’t much else I can tell you without knowing the specific circumstance that you find yourself in. The funny thing is that when you expose yourself like this, you’ll find that others that believe in the same things will approach you to befriend you, because they know how rare and valuable such a person is. But be careful of the duplicitous ones that want to get close to you to either benefit from you, use you or, as they say, to keep a friend close, but an enemy closer. One sign of such a person is that they like to have you make the first move; you’ll know what I mean when the time comes.
Based on some feed back from readers, I’ve added this paragraph:
Jast because humility is a bad human characteristic, it doesn’t mean that the opposite is a good human characteristic, i.e., cockiness is not a good human characteristic. There is no reason why anyone should represent themselves as someone better than they really are. However, the true opposite of both humility and cockiness is honesty, and this is a great human characteristic to possess. However, with weak-minded, dishonest, manipulative, sneaky, cocky, humble, pretentious, superficial, and insecure people honesty, true honesty, is their most feared enemy. And, these disgusting and vile people will do ANYTHING to hide the truth and postpone judgment when it seems like the truth may be revealed. Therefore, they will do anything and everything to marginalize, destroy, discredit, humiliate, or even kill those that are honest or those that attempt to uncover the truth or render justice. However, despite these enormous pressures and incredibly difficult road to travel, I encourage you to be truthful and honest at all times and don’t even tell white lies. If you don’t know where to start, start with yourself and with your family. The short-term consequences of being honest may not always be pleasant and could be down-right difficult even seemingly impossible; however, my experience shows that actions stemming from honesty tends to result in something positive in the long-term, not always, but tends to. So, don’t be humble, don’t be cocky, but always be honest.
As an aside, I had a brief discussion about humility with someone on Twitter who goes by the handle FREETHINKINGMAN, who I assure is anything but free thinking. Anyway, one of his arguments why humility is a good trait was expressed in the following tweet that he posted: “That is a childish (perhaps idiotic) view. So Buddha, Jesus, the Dalai lama, Confucius are liars, fools etc. Brilliant.” So, his argument is that because these supposed wise people said that humility is a good human trait, therefore it must be a good human trait. First of all, this is obviously not the proper argument to be made by a supposedly “Free” thinking person, but that hypocrisy aside the argument is foolish on other fronts and greatly illustrates my position that people really don’t think. It demonstrates how people ignore reason, because someone they believe to be wise said something and accept it at face value. Then this “wisdom” is repeated and reinforced through word of mouth and behavioral feedback and creates a vicious cycle, never to be broken unless one is truly a free thinking person.
Also, it obviously did not occur to FREETHINKINGMAN that these people may have deliberately set-up a rule for us to follow without explanation or may have explained the reasons, but over time, like many other rules, people forgot the real reasons behind why the rule was set-up and jast blindly followed it. And, now, it has become the norm. Lastly, JC and Confucius, though commonly accepted as being wise, in my opinion, not so much.
Reasons for why JC isn’t so wise I’ve discussed in previous posts, so I will not belabor the point here. As for Confucius, he is the one who set up the hierarchical societies of China, Korea and to some degree Japan. This hierarchical structure is very limiting and is at the root cause of the stagnation and attendant turmoil that it has brought to countries like China, Korea and Japan. Also, the hierarchical societies that Confucius believed was good for people is anathema to Americans and Americanism. For example, in a Confucius society, because of its rigid hierarchical structure there is virtually no social mobility for certain classes of people. So, no progeny of slaves could avoid being slaves; progenies of farmers had to remain farmers; progenies of nobles continued as nobles, almost irrespective of knowledge and achievements, etc. And, when it came to marriage, interclass marriage were strictly forbidden. Remnants of such rigidity still remain in countries like Korea and is at the root cause of major social issues.
And, last but not least, the rigid hierarchical structure and emphasis on static conservation of uniformity, traditions, cultural heritage, norms, morays and principles have dictated an educational system that is based on rote memorization and the active discouragement of creativity and differences. This lack of creativity and innovation continues to be at the heart of why Asian economies cannot get past a certain level of economic development and per capita GDP.
Therefore, if one studies Confucius, it is not difficult to conclude that while he has developed many profound sayings and wisdoms, he is by no means infallible and all-wise. In fact, I would suggest that the main thesis to his philosophy is anything but wise and appropriate for modern times — e.g., in a Confucian society women are most definitely second-class citizens. Yet, people, like FREETHINKINGMAN will not only blindly follow his “wisdom,” but also continue to spread their gospel without fully understanding what it is that they are doing. This is one of the biggest problems that we face today: The lack of truly free thinking people.
How we meet the challenges of developing truly logic-based, Justice-oriented, free thinking people is the conundrum that I am trying to solve. It isn’t easy, but I’m hoping that my blog posts help us to get there.
For more, please read my books, “… Under the Constitution with Liberty and Justice for ALL,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/3978962 and also available on Kindle, and “The New Constitution for Modern America,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/4281897 and also available on Kindle. Please don’t forget to rate this post. Any comments or questions are welcome and can be left for me on this blog, @Ahmedinejahd on Twitter, on Facebook or via email at AlexAhmedinejahd@Yahoo.com. Thank you in advance for buying my books, and rating this post. And, thanks for visiting my blog; I hope you get an opportunity to read my other posts. Have a great day!