Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pride

I wikied "pride" to find - in addition to religious examples and collective examples - three views tagged as philosophical. Interestingly, these, in contrast to the religious views, were all of a positive leaning towards pride.

The distinction came about as all the philosophical views (Aristotle, Nietzsche and Rand) were seeing pride as feeling of "I am worthy / capable of.." - which is a statement of ambition (unfortunately not always an objective evaluation of one's worth) and is thus a precursor to progress. Alternatively the opposite of such a feeling would inspire feelings such as "that is too big for me / I can't possible do that" and thus block any effort before it occured.

However, I was unable to eliminate from any definition / view of pride, the presence of another i.e. an entity / group that is a distinct set from those that that the pride is being applied to. 

Let us attempt some classification of pride based on the common though / purpose of the feeling. The below sets are not disjoint.

Collective pride - Pride as a community / group. eg. Nationalistic pride, linguistic pride.
  - Fosters bonding within the group
  - Unifies the members of this group against another group
  - Dissolves units at lower level and thus plays down differences - (e.g. nationalistic pride can dissolve linguistic / state pride)
  - Individual's Collective pride (see under individual pride)

Retaliatory pride - e.g. Gay pride. It might not have come about if homosexuality were not seen as undesirable / inferior and discriminated against. Have you heard of "straight pride" or "white pride" or "proud to be a hombre"? 

Individual pride - Whenever one feels proud of some achievement / attribute / possession - Materializes only when compared with those who do dont have that attribute. 
 - Individual's collective pride - This is an individual's feeling of pride which is related to his association with his associating himself with a community / others. This is not so much a pride propagataed by the community as one created by the individual. e.g. You're alone, watching India win the T20 WC. You're proud to be an Indian. You are not at that moment relating to other Indians. You are merely taking pride in another's achievement.

I'll exit with quoting one of my favourite lines which seems relevant here. Appears in P Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" - "Self-scrutiny, relentless observance of one's thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. It pulverizes the stoutest ego."