Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pride comes before a fall

What is pride? A feeling of self-importance? A sense of being a bit better than others? We all feel it at sometimes and it can be a healthy thing if we are separating ourselves from those whose ways really are appalling. But if it is just false pride we are empty fools puffed up with our own self importance.

Pride in a job well done is a rewarding state of mind when we know that something we did is to a high standard and our peers acknowledge it. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that, in its proper time and place. So where does the "fall" bit come in?

If you have become complacent and start to enjoy being superior to others you set yourself up for disappointment when someone bigger and better than you comes along, and your prestige takes a tumble. Suddenly you are yesterday's person, and all your greatness shrivels.

The poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, expressed it very well in his poem:

OZYMANDIAS I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
"Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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