A Predator of Information

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.

With Humility and Determination

29 July 2016 9:03 AM (complaint)

I would have preferred if Hillary Clinton had accepted the nomination with just determination. Pride and determination would have been even better. She is carrying the political ambition of a lot of the population on her shoulders. She owes it to them to do so with grandeur of bearing and expression. (No, Donald Trump does not have ‘grandeur’. Donald Trump strikes me as having the glib desperation of a used car salesman.)

Humility is best expressed by those who have a lot to be humble about. It is a petty grab at virtue without positive quality or accomplishment and pretty much every human being alive has enough good about them that they don't need to resort to something as worthless as humility. Likewise, the concept of arrogance exists so lazy people have a convenient color of culpability to daub on people they dislike without having put in the effort to think of something actually bad about them. It is also rather inconsistent to wallow in the stench of ones own humility while dictating to everyone else how they ought to think of themselves.

Humility is the end of the book of Job. Humility is an authority telling you to ‘know your place’. Humility is the divine right of kings and the Great Chain of Being. Humility asks “Who are you to question God's word?” Every bio-so-called-ethicist I've read who tells us we should require people to continue living short, impaired lives of constant agony even though we have the means to prevent it or that we ought not abolish the senescent decay of mind and body that's waiting for everyone marches under the banner of humility. When someone argues that the opposing side in an argument needs more ‘humility’ what they really want is for the opposing side to shut up and unquestioningly accept their beliefs.

This does not mean I think everyone ought to be ‘arrogant’. It means that the twin concepts of ‘humility’ and ‘arrogance’ are broken and serve no useful purpose and ought to be excised from our collective thought. They do nothing worthwhile. They derail arguments about what is true or useful into arguments about which side is really the arrogant one.

You might argue that people need to be humble to accept when they consider the possibility that they are wrong and be willing to learn. I disagree. People need to be passionately in love with the truth. If you love the truth you should be willing, ready, and able to learn from anyone. You should be ready to throw out your ideas and accept better ones, simply because they are truthful.

Do we need to conjure up the toxic nonsense of humility to make people treat each other with decency? Obviously not. All you need to believe is that other people's happiness matters. Kindness, gentleness, compassion, and all the others flow from that. I was going to say forgiveness, but I just realized that, in my mind at least, forgiveness flows from pride. Yes, I have some duty to forgive other people because a world where reconciliation is impossible is a very sad world to live in, but also it seems that if I an unable to let something go, I've set the mark and taken to myself a certain level of pettiness. For even a grave offense, if, at some point, I don't let it go, I'm lowering myself and stating that this is one thing I can never overcome.

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