pride

pride (n.) – 1. deep pleasure or satisfaction felt if you or people close to you have done something well.  2. a cause or source of this: the swimming pool is the pride of the village.  3. self-respect: he swallowed his pride and asked for help.  4. an excessively high opinion of yourself.  5. a group of lions.

Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Fourth Edition (2006)

words are funny things, aren’t they?  take the word “pride” listed above.  of the five definitions, there are four distinctly different meanings.  for this post, i’m interested in the following definitions: deep pleasure or satisfaction felt if you have done something well, and an excessively high opinion of yourself.  as majestic as lions are, i’ll have to ignore definition five for now.

given the age we live in, this may be astounding to hear: i think pride is useless.

in my everyday experience, i feel that our society at large is awash with talks of pride: ethnic pride.  racial pride.  self pride.  pride of humankind.  pride for an ideology.  pride of achievement.  useless.

i say this because i feel that pride ultimately leads to arrogance, or narcissism in certain cases.  worshipping yourself.  not right away, but slowly.  (well, faster for some than others.)  it’s the acid that erodes your soul.  the more pride eats away at you, the more you’ll regard yourself and disregard others.  the nasty side effect of pride is attitude.  giant chip on your shoulder.

i’m not immune to pride.  i think that every time i become offended at something or someone when playing pool, it’s my pride talking.  useless.

if i can play pool at all, it’s because of the people that came before me.  people that taught me the game.  people that mentored me.  great players that i got to watch, by sheer serendipity.  certain innate abilities that were given to me.  it’s no small miracle that i can stroke the cue straight, let alone shoot.  i can’t play if i weren’t exposed to all those things.  so what right have i to take pride of my game?

instead, play the game for the love of it.  play for your loved ones.  your friends.  for your mentor(s) or coach(es).  for those that want to play but can’t, for whatever reason.  for your fellow teammates.  for the audience that love watching you play.  play for anyone/anything but yourself.  most of all, be happy that you’re lucky enough to play this game.  and be thankful for those that have guided/aided you in learning the game of pool.

a quick side note.  you may have heard of teresa strasser, tv personality, writer, and ex-radio talk show host.  this post in her blog is some of the most oddly touching things i’ve read lately.  check it out if you like.

Advertisements

10 comments on “pride

  1. In a way I agree with you p00lriah. Pride is useful, but people without pride sometimes do not have a backbone, no self confidence and often get trampled and run over.

    Pride can lead to “arrogance, or narcissism in certain cases” but are you mixing up pride versus self confidence?

    • i think there’s no way i can answer comments in short sentences, so be patient with me.

      i personally think that with pride, there has to be an object or a target for it. if you’re not religious or believe in God, then the object of your pride will necessarily become something other than God/higher being, e.g., yourself, your loved ones, an abstract ideal, inanimate objects, etc. looking at self as the source of pride, we can see logically the many pitfalls: i didn’t birth myself, i didn’t educate myself, i don’t emanate love myself, etc. so to be proud about myself who’s very flawed is not a wise choice, in my opinion.

      regarding self-confidence: with self-confidence comes with expectations, e.g., i can do this job, i can perform this task, i’m confident i’ll be healthy and well-rested in the morning. again, looking logically, there’s no reasonable expectation that i’ll wake up the next morning. i’m pretty sure i’ll wake up, but i can’t say for certain. if i can’t even be fully confident in the fact that i’ll wake up tomorrow, what else can i be confident about? also, as our abilities wane in the twilight of our lives, does that mean we’ll grow less and less confident as we get older, or that older people are less confident than younger people?

      i probably sound like an incredibly pessimistic person by now, but i’m not. i’m just being brutally honest. by realizing these things about life doesn’t mean i’ll stop trying. it actually means i’ll have to try twice as hard since i’m unsure of the outcome. i’m accepting the fact that in life, i’ll need try my hardest and accept the outcome, because there are so many things i cannot control. so, yeah, i think pride is useless to lead a successful life. self confidence isn’t really needed either, but it does make people feel good about themselves. but feeling confident about myself won’t guarantee a job or a hot date. 😛 realizing this fact allows me to be at peace so i can apply for more jobs and try to get more hot dates. 8)

      the samurais realized the fact that they could die at any minute; this allowed them to place themselves at mortal risks at one command from their lords. for us, this realization makes us treasure life more and allows us to be more grateful. for me, gratefulness, not self confidence, is the key.

  2. Hi p00lriah,

    Your questions and your answers make it so difficult for me to answer right away. It requires thinking and time to come up with the correct response (I feel like I am in a philosophy 101 class).

    “…with pride, there has to be an object or a target for it.”

    Yes I agree with that. But pride does not necessary have to be a bad “thing”, whatever that thing is. The object or the target as you discussed can be for oneself or for someone else.

    The opposite of pride can be described with the word humble. One can still be proud of onself, but be humble with his or her accomplishments or experiences.

    “…does that mean we’ll grow less and less confident as we get older, or that older people are less confident than younger people?”

    Many older people (depends on your definition of older) are confident as they grow older through experiences, but younger people are more confident because they think they know a lot, when they don’t.

    Many older people, let’s say 30+ have more experiences than younger ones, so they have been through the journey of life. But much older people, let’s say 50+ are more confident because they have much more experience than a 30+ person or a 15+ person. With age, comes wisdom and experiences.

    “…but feeling confident about myself won’t guarantee a job or a hot date.”

    Yes being confident won’t guarantee something, but from the interviewer or the hot date perspective, it creates a certain “illusion”.

    “…for me, gratefulness, not confidence, is the key”

    I’ll agree with you on that. Being grateful for how far you’ve come along, being grateful for being able to wake up another day.

    • thanks for ur reply, q&b. i don’t expect anyone to respond right away & i much rather see a thought-out reply than a hasty one. don’t mean to turn this into a philosophy seminar, but that’s how it goes sometimes. when we have to defend our ideals/point of view, it forces us to define our beliefs with growth as a byproduct. always a good thing. and please don’t feel like u need to give a correct response. in our exchanges ur views are as valid as mine, & vice versa. u cannot have a false comment here. 🙂

      i’ll try boiling this down. basically we’re talking about theocratic vs. secular world views. i dislike using self as the source of pride b/c i think people are very flawed & powerless. for example, any little natural disaster & we’re hoping to get lucky just to survive. go to the beach & look at the ocean & i see how small i am. there is something out there that demands to be my source of pride, b/c that something is so much greater. and i’m not it.

      my examples about older vs. younger folks, jobs & hot dates are to illustrate the unstable nature of using people & objects as sources of pride. it’s not reliable. illusory hopes and pride are not beneficial because a mirage has no substance u can use. the old pandora’s box tale can be looked at two ways: real hope vs. false hope. false hope is a great evil because the end will more likely to crush u than truth.

      that’s really what this is about. know the worse case scenario but accept it without rancor, b/c there’s something out there greater than any of us (the theocratic view). knowing how little control i have, it is a miracle i’m here; all i can do is be grateful for the things i have. hence my belief that pride isn’t needed in life.

      we go through life constantly honing our beliefs and challenging them to see if they make sense. the ones u read here are mine after many rounds of distilling. i don’t seek to convince people my beliefs are right. i do feel that i need to explain them when asked, b/c it is important we know why we believe in the things we do. so here u go. 8)

      as always, i find it immensely pleasurable to exchange ideas, especially with someone who will give serious thoughts behind the replies (namely u, q&b). thanks again.

  3. WOW! Good stuff here….I love good conversation with views from all over. And the fact that no one is hating here just understanding. I too, think that my opinions are not “right” but i love to learn other’s views and why they believe in them. No right or wrong answer…..

    Let me start from the beginning……(fyi – I took some time after reading this to respond cause i’m so intrigued by all this).

    “…..i’m not immune to pride” AND “…..instead, play the game for the love of it. play for your loved ones. your friends. for your mentor(s) or coach(es). for those that want to play but can’t, for whatever reason. for your fellow teammates. for the audience that love watching you play. play for anyone/anything but yourself.”……………….

    I’m interested to know how you FEEL when you play – win, lose, miss shots, make good ones, etc. If you’re you’re not “immune” to pride, but are not playing for yourself then why? Why play or do anything for that matter? If everything we do in our lives is to achieve something for someone else, do we not need to fulfill a being in ourselves? I definitely agree in “be thankful for those that have guided/aided you in learning the game of pool.” , but they are no longer in control when we play. They do not make our shots, win our games, miscue for us. That is solely ours.

    “……..so to be proud about myself who’s very flawed is not a wise choice, in my opinion”……….

    Isn’t everyone flawed…in one way or another? The good old “no one’s perfect”. If you are not “proud about yourself”, is there anyone/anything that you are proud of? Are you proud of those who taught/teach you? That guide you? The “great players that you got to watch”……… Are they all not flawed too?

    “for me, gratefulness, not self confidence, is the key”

    What are you grateful for?

    grate⋅ful
      /ˈgreɪtfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [greyt-fuhl]
    –adjective
    1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful: I am grateful to you for your help.
    2. expressing or actuated by gratitude: a grateful letter.
    3. pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing: a grateful breeze.

    This whole thread, from beginning of post is AWESOME! I absolutely love it…….

    • thanks RM (redeeming myself? royal minister? ready merriment? kidding!) for joining in. i hope i don’t come off as some moral relativist where nothing is right or wrong (i’m not), but if you’ve given your beliefs serious thoughts then they’ll have validity. pool being such a microcosm of life, talking about pool necessitates talking about life & how we approach it. i’m glad you’re enjoying the discussion.

      just came home. commute in the rain is not fun. (this is where q&b will probably laugh at me for bellyaching about a wee little rain, when she gets snowstorms out her way. yeah yeah, laugh it up. i’m a socal wuss.) pardon the delay in replying; i didn’t wanna drive too fast. i’ll try to answer your questions one by one.

      I’m interested to know how you FEEL when you play – win, lose, miss shots, make good ones, etc. If you’re you’re not “immune” to pride, but are not playing for yourself then why? Why play or do anything for that matter? If everything we do in our lives is to achieve something for someone else, do we not need to fulfill a being in ourselves?

      as far as how i feel when i play, of course i experience the whole panoply of emotions just like everyone else. the trick is to realize that feelings don’t necessarily relate to my overall approach to pool or life, since feelings come and go, and not reliable measures on my overall happiness/enjoyment. i play because i find immense enjoyment in pool. i fully realize that pool is a selfish pursuit, and running a rack of 9-ball won’t make people’s lives better. (by that measure, your website is a much nobler pursuit than my solitary enjoyment of pool since people benefit from it.)

      as far as needing to fulfill ourselves, of course we do. but i don’t see how pride would benefit that pursuit. i can get enjoyment from pool and other hobbies without the pride component. my hobbies add to my happiness, and i would think pride will actually hinder that happiness.

      I definitely agree in “be thankful for those that have guided/aided you in learning the game of pool.” , but they are no longer in control when we play. They do not make our shots, win our games, miscue for us. That is solely ours.

      very true. again this goes back to pool as my selfish pursuit. i don’t place pride in selfish endeavors. not needed. well, for me pride isn’t needed anyway, but especially with selfish things. this approach doesn’t work with most people, i’m sure, but it’s what i believe.

      Isn’t everyone flawed…in one way or another? The good old “no one’s perfect”. If you are not “proud about yourself”, is there anyone/anything that you are proud of? Are you proud of those who taught/teach you? That guide you? The “great players that you got to watch”……… Are they all not flawed too?

      that’s precisely why i think being proud of people/things are not very useful, because in essence you’re placing your faith in flawed and powerless beings/objects. if i’m drowning i want a rescue boat, not a piece of rotting driftwood. hence when i want to place my source of pride, i place with someone much greater than myself, not with someone equal to me, e.g., other people. (this is the theocratic vs. secular world view you read earlier.) for those that taught me pool, i’m very grateful, but i won’t use them as sources of pride b/c they’re flawed like other people. as far as the great players i witnessed, of course they’re all flawed. for that, stay tuned for my post on pool synergy volume iv, due out feb. 15. (shameless plug! shameless plug! oh my gosh, i have no shame!) 😳

      What are you grateful for?

      for the mere fact i’m able to play at all. there are those that can’t afford to play financially, or cannot play physically due to various reasons (illness, disorder, not born with good coordinations, etc.). also that i’m able to express my opinions through words, and that there is a platform where i can share my ideas so openly. so definition #1 fits the best.

      again, i appreciate your participation. i stated earlier that i derive immense satisfaction from thoughtful exchanges between people. i’m glad that i can add one more person to that list.

      a quick story about feelings i experience. king solomon once commissioned a jeweler to make a magic ring in six months. he wanted the ring to lift him up when he was down, and sober him up when he was too high. amazingly, after six months, the jeweler presented this magic ring to king solomon. on the ring were engraved three hebrew words “gam zeh ya’avor”. roughly translated: this too shall pass.

      have a great month.

  4. i appreciate the Buddhist philosophy. But I am having a hard time completely understanding how pride is completely useless. Pride is an extension of ego, or sense of self. True it can be intoxicating and abused. But it is as necessary to your life as your heart. It is what allows us to eat, drink, find shelter and clothing.

    • hi houston. thanks for commenting. perhaps the reason u find it difficult to digest the concept is that it’s not buddhist; it’s judeo-christian. i would also posit that pride is the glorification of ego, not a mere extention. eating, drinking, finding shelter are actions u take, and pride is the feeling u attach to these actions and thus independent from these actions. for example, i can eat/drink and not feel proud about my eating/drinking.

      even if we accept the premise that pride is an extention of self, by that logic it is still flawed b/c people are flawed/not perfect. for me personally, i’d rather not put too much stock into something imperfect (the prime reason for the need of salvation). this is not to dictate what u should/shouldn’t do; u have to make that decision yourself. it’s merely my reason for rejecting pride.

      thanks again for participating. this is not the easiest subject to tackle for me or the readers. but i think the subject is important enough to at least warrant a discussion.

      • The acceptance of no self is at the center of Buddhism as well. Sorry i mistook where you were coming from. I am not sure what you mean by “glorification”. Do you mean celebration or love of oneself? Pride as an extension of ego is logical, as it is rooted in an acknowledgment of self or identity of something apart from others.

        Ego is what I meant was necessary for survival. Starving humans finding food are not proud, but they are definitely aware that they as a separate being are hungry. Sorry if my statement wasn’t clear

        I agree that the concept of ego and consequently pride, are flawed. Humans are far from perfect, indeed dangerous. But to say pride is useless is a very broad statement. I would argue that pride as a higher level extension of ego has significance in cultural and sociological evolution.

        If you mean useless in context of religion(any) or philosophy, I agree with you completely that pride and ego are a barrier to achieving an ideal.

        All that said, if people were indifferent about winning, they would not be playing. So I must ask you, do you want to win when you play pool? And if you do, why? Even more specifically, do want to make each shot in the pocket? why?

        • i thought buddhism is about transcending self; basically, ur trying to become god or god-like, making it a more pantheistic approach. my post is about rejecting self as my object of worship, and not about no self. no self would be illogical. i can no more deny my own existence than i can deny that earth exists. also, acknowledging my existence is separate from being proud of my existence. but moving on.

          i am curious to know if ur a buddhist. that would help me understand ur comments better. but u don’t have to.

          ur definition of “glorification of self” is what i mean. in judeo-christian teachings, self isn’t worshipped b/c there’s someone greater (God). the greater one is who u place ur pride with, if u decide pride is needed.

          …But to say pride is useless is a very broad statement. I would argue that pride as a higher level extension of ego has significance in cultural and sociological evolution.

          that would be quite true from a secular worldview. if u don’t believe in someone greater than u, then u will necessarily have to put a lot of faith & belief in ur own person, hence pride. as i stated in my earlier comments, my position is from a theocratic worldview. i’m not putting a ban on pride; ur free to be as proud of yourself as u choose. i’m just explaining my reasons behind the position i take.

          for me personally, i happen to think that pride isn’t needed. for every piece of pride (if u could quantify a thing) i could replace it with gratefulness and common decency & it’ll work just as well. this won’t work with most people, but i’m convinced that it works for me.

          …So I must ask you, do you want to win when you play pool? And if you do, why? Even more specifically, do want to make each shot in the pocket? why?

          pool is kind of like a drug for me. each time i make a shot it does something to my primordial brain. my pleasure center gets tickled & i want to make another. this is why i stated earlier that pool is my selfish pursuit; it’s my legalized drug.

          i would disagree with u that people would stop playing if they were indifferent about winning. people do play for the sheer pleasure of it; i do. ur statement makes winning sound like the end-all in pool, which leads me to believe that ur a very competitive sort. i posit that winning has varying degrees of importance to different people. some players are fine as long as they play their best. others would kill off grandma for the trophy. for me, i enjoy the pursuit of becoming better. winning is nice, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. maybe that’s why i’m not a pro. 😛

          some people want to teleport to the destination. i’m just enjoying the trip. 8)

Comments are closed.