Monday, 30 May 2011

Humility versus Hubris

Something I read earlier got me thinking. It was a short poem entitled simply, "Humility." It set out very briefly the qualities of humility and what a true humility in dealing with others can bring. Chief among these attributes is the willingness to listen to the other side, to wish to discover truth and to find solutions acceptable to both. Note that it is to listen, to learn, to seek truth and find acceptable solutions to both sides.

Hubris, in sharp contrast, brings an unwillingness to hear any opposing point of view, to impose solutions and to demand obedience. Hubris seldom is concerned as to whether or not a situation is fair or justice is served to both sides, hubris demands imposition and acceptance of its view - no other matters.

Humility is often seen as weakness, as a willingness to shy away from confrontation, but that is not true. Christ, who had little reason to exercise humility and perhaps every reason to exercise hubris, chose the first. He never shied away from confronting oppression or injustice and he certainly never backed down.

Looking about me in our age, there is an awful lot of hubris on display among politicians, civil servants and individuals - most of whom have nothing to be proud of and every reason to listen - except their unwillingness to do so. History teaches a harsh lesson - those who live by the creed of hubris invariably see everything they believe in, have worked to create or taken by force, stripped from their grasp.

Humility has much to commend it and to teach us.

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