What a conundrum this is, from definition to meaning! How did we get from a Latin expression “to be useful” through to “brave” (all those knights!) to a deadly sin? And how come everybody seems to have an opinion about pride and they are all at loggerheads? Don’t even get me started as to what “conundrum” or “loggerhead” mean, or we’ll be here all night! 🙂

But pride, ah, that is a beauty of a concept, so debatable, so ambiguous! I think I already said once that if a deadly sin is mine, pride it is!I can’t really say I am repentant about it – that would deafeat the purpose of the exercise, wouldn’t it? So even the hard way to correct a sin (do the opposite until it becomes second nature and the first nature is defeated) is a no-go. Because I am still to be persuaded that it is a sin to begin with.

It is linked with individuality and ambition in many ways, and personally I strive for that feeling. Because if I learn a lot, and apply myself, and practice incessantly, then I am likely to succeed. And if I succeed , then I feel proud, and I don’t see why I should give credit to anybody else. I can be grateful to my parents and ancestors for giving me the good genes, I can be grateful to my education that I have developed certain abilities, but the combination of gene and ability and the effort are mine alone, the goal is mine alone, and without that effort or that goal, the best of genes and the soundest of educations are pieces that will never become the whole.

A small example, and a bit of a block of mine. Seeds. The bane of my gardening existence! I can (and have done!) take a half dead plant sold for peanuts at the shop. I can plant it and take care of it and it will survive and produce and re-seed with gay abandon. But I have lost count of the number of packets of seeds I have scattered that failed to show even a tiny plant as a result. My pride has been impugned or some such thing! So I will do it right this year! I have bought or received the seeds. I am doing it by the open book that is my tutor. I am nurturing them and chase away the cat from them. And I will wait (oh, no!!!!). I wish to succeed. Nothing to do with survival, life or death or any of that. If I don’t succeed then I will go as I usually do to the shop and buy the half dead darling seedlings cheaply and do what I’ve done these past many years, get them to live. But ah, I can just imagine the feeling if I do succeed. I will feel so proud!

So why shouldn’t I feel proud? I am likely to believe in myself a lot more if I feel justifiably proud, and thus will try harder next time for an even better result.

Maybe the operative word is “justifiable”?

I will not attempt to fly, I cannot do it. I will not attempt to crawl through a mouse hole either, I cannot do it. But I can do human things in a human world in the human way and do it so that they serve the world, too. I believe we can and should be proud of that!


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