Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hubris, Pride and the Monstrous Self

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." - Proverbs 16:18

I've written several times about the Greek concept of Hubris (which they considered to lead to insanity), and which they correctly identified as the source of so many problems in the world. The ancient Hebrews and the Bible (both the Old and New Testament) called it Pride.

The late Russell Kirk called it "the Monstrous Self" and said it was the source of all the evil in the world. He and the others were right. It is the source of all the evil in the world.

The late psychiatrist M. Scott Peck said "scapegoating was the genesis of human evil," and he was right. But scapegoating - or projection - is but a manifestation of the Monstrous Self. Any of the Seven Deadly Sins - envy, greed, gluttony - are but manifestations of that Monstrous Self.

I've had some tell Pride is a good thing, but they don't know what the Bible and later church fathers meant by it. They didn't mean the arĂȘte (excellence) that leads to eudemonia (well-being).

They meant the Pride that leads one to being a "godless self-god" (which is how one critic referred to the ogre Karl Marx). The one that leads to destruction - what Greeks identified as Nemesis.

That Biblical Pride (originally called "vainglory") was considered the worst sin of all, and the basis of all the rest. They were (and are) right. The Monstrous Self seeks in vain "glory" for itself - power and money. Power and money to use to exploit others.

The modern definitions of that Monstrous Self include such words as narcissist, borderline, sociopath, psychopath - people with no guilt, no conscience, no remorse, no ability to love. People are just things to them to be manipulated and abused for their sadistic pleasure.

Quite a few years ago I spent several months reading the True Crime books of the late Ann Rule (who knew Ted Bundy while the police were searching for the serial killer who turned out to be Bundy).

How in the world, I wondered, could anyone be a serial killer who slaughtered dozens of women, chopped them up - and then had sex with their body parts? Turns out all of them are psychopaths - consumed by what retired FBI profiler John Douglas called "power, domination and control." Again, no conscience, no guilt, no remorse, no love. Just hate, rage and envy - and an overwhelming desire for vengeance.

I've written before about the complete ignorance of frauds such as Roissy, Roosh and "Vox Day" when they write about "the Dark Triad." They know nothing about it. Anyone who exhibits the Dark Triad is at minimum a narcissist and at the worst a psychopath.

I have actually met psychopaths (none of the grifters above can claim the same). They can be quite charming (hence the "con" in "con man" - as in "confidence man"). But all of it is a sham calculated to charm their victims. It's all a lie.

I've also mentioned my parents read me a lot of "fairy tales" (folk tales) as a tiny kid and when an adult I analyzed them. Many are about the perils of envy, which again is an aspect of the Monstrous Self (think of the Monstrous Self of the Evil Queen in "Snow White," in which she tries to murder Snow White out of envy, and how the step-mother tells her daughters to cut off parts of their feet to make their feet fit Cinderella's slipper).

The Greeks advised people to "know their selves" and suggested Sophrosyne – this means more than anything else to know your limitations.

Because those are nothing but their Monstrous Self don't know their limitations - and that's why Nemesis always mows them down. That's what Vainglory invariably does to all of them.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Pride can be a nasty bugger because it is often layered over shame, so fear,insecurity, deceit, envy, tend to rule your day. One of the neat things about letting of pride is that it makes you stronger, you cannot be shamed and controlled, you become fearless.

The 'spherians just, uhg. They're toxic, just the opposite of what it means to be happy and well adjusted. It's really tragic that they selling dark triad traits, gleaning behavioral cues from narcissists and sociopaths. It's probably a very seductive ideology for men who are feeling insecure, shamed, but it's not spiritually healthy, it's self destructive.

Unknown said...

'It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.'

-Saint Augustine

Unknown said...

'Pride can be a nasty bugger because it is often layered over shame, so fear,insecurity, deceit, envy, tend to rule your day.'

Good insight...because right after Adam and Eve were disobedient to God (root cause of pride) they were ashamed.

'Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”'

Gen 3: 7-11