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Source: (consider it) Thread: After you: Christianity and humility
LeRoc

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On the 200,000,000,000 stars thread, I was in a discussion with various people about humility. This concept turned out to be more complex than I first thought, and I admitted that I don't have a fully thought-out philosophy / theology of humility. So, I'd be interested to hear what people of different traditions have to say about it.


Some random thoughts I have so far, after the discussion on that thread:

God is great, so we should be humble towards Him. I get that, but I think there's more to humility than that.

The Bible talks a lot about humility. I think most of the time it is telling us to be humble or praising humble people.

Humility is a complex concept: the word has various meanings and connotations, some of them negative. I don't even think I have a good definition of humility myself.

Humility isn't the same as low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is almost always a bad thing, humility is mostly seen as positive.

There should be a balance: thinking too highly of yourself isn't good, think too lowly isn't either.

Telling someone to be/stay humble can be a form of oppression.

I'm from a Liberation Theology background, that has a high regard for 'humble' peasants, fishermen etc. However, the danger of over-romantising these people also exists.


Hmm, now the idea is to bring these thoughts together in a coherent theology of humility (or not?)

What are your thoughts about humility? How is humility treated in your tradition (or non-tradition)? Is it possible to arrive at a theology of humility? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
Humility isn't the same as low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is almost always a bad thing, humility is mostly seen as positive.

Low self-esteem is like saying "I am worthless". Humility is like saying "You are worth more than me".

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Horseman Bree
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Most of the people who are seen as exemplary in their work with poor/unfortunate/unwell people exhibit some aspect of humility in their work, both in accepting all these people as fully equal in the Eye of God, and in accepting that the work done has no guarantee of success just because the particular worker is doing that work.

"One does what one can"

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It's Not That Simple

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Lamb Chopped
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Lewis made the point that a humble person is most likely not thinking about himself at all, most of the time. He is outwardly focused most of the time--focused on God, on the person he's talking with, on the job he's working on... self-forgetful in a good way. He attends to himself as needed, but doesn't spend time ruminating about who is better than who, where he stands in the pecking order, what he could do to improve his own status, etc.

It seems to me that such a person is likely to be happier than average.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Alan Cresswell: Low self-esteem is like saying "I am worthless". Humility is like saying "You are worth more than me".
I'm not sure if thinking that other people are worth more than you is always a good thing. I don't know.

I guess that one way to see it, is to regard humility as a counterbalance to self-absorption. For example, when we're stuck in traffic or waiting in line for the check-out, we're thinking too much about how tired we are, how unfair this is ... and we fail to see the other people (who are in the same situation) as people. I guess humility can be a counterbalance to that. I think it ties into what Lamb Chopped said about being outward focused and with what Horseman Bree said about accepting people as fully equal.

One other thing I was thinking is that sometimes you need self-esteem to be humble. Some people (not all) who have low self-esteem feel the need to constantly assert themselves. While people who have a more healthy self-esteem can afford more easily to be humble.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Ikkyu
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This is a thread about Christianity and humility but I believe this might fit.
My favorite take on this is the "True man of no rank" from Linji,
A true man of no rank
This I believe to be very close to what Lamb Chopped said.
A true man of no rank does not waste his time thinking he is "better" or "worse" than anyone else.
He does not let that get in the way of what needs to be done.
I once attended a talk by the Buddhist Nun Thubten Chodron. I always remember what she said.
Our Ego can be tricky, if we can't be the best at something we have to be the worst. "Poor me" is as much an Ego trip as "I'm number 1" and as deluded.

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The Silent Acolyte

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Icons teach. Here is one entitled Extreme Humility.
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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Alan Cresswell: Low self-esteem is like saying "I am worthless". Humility is like saying "You are worth more than me".
I'm not sure if thinking that other people are worth more than you is always a good thing. I don't know.
At some point I was taught humility means aware of the truth, including knowing what you are good at instead of claiming you aren't any good at anything.

The idea that it's about not being self-focused makes sense to me, but I like the honesty aspect too, that it's not humility to say "oh, it wasn't much work" when it was, or "my work isn't very good" when it's excellent. True humility does not include belittlement of anyone, not even self.

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Oscar the Grouch

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It seems to me that one of the first places to start in a discussion about Christianity and humility would be Philippians 2:3-8.

Especially this:
quote:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
I think humility - especially that based on the example of Christ - is about a strength of character. Someone who is strong enough in their own identity to be able to not insist on their own way; strong enough to empty thenselves of pride and vain ambition, so that they can be free to do what love requires of them.

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Faradiu, dundeibáwa weyu lárigi weyu

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Ikkyu:
This is a thread about Christianity and humility but I believe this might fit.
My favorite take on this is the "True man of no rank" from Linji,
A true man of no rank
This I believe to be very close to what Lamb Chopped said.
A true man of no rank does not waste his time thinking he is "better" or "worse" than anyone else.
He does not let that get in the way of what needs to be done.
I once attended a talk by the Buddhist Nun Thubten Chodron. I always remember what she said.
Our Ego can be tricky, if we can't be the best at something we have to be the worst. "Poor me" is as much an Ego trip as "I'm number 1" and as deluded.

Very good. As soon as one begins to compare in this way, one is in fantasy land. As you say, instead of doing what is needed, one is playing mind games. I look for the degree of self-consciousness here; are you with me, or your fantasy of me? And the other way round.

The last point is accurate also; on the other hand, wanting to be bad often conceals the longing to be noticed, and ultimately, loved, as with many naughty children. But also, often they resist love - a fearsome double bind.

[ 06. March 2015, 06:59: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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mark_in_manchester

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Some excellent points here. This issue occupies me quite a lot.

quote:
One other thing I was thinking is that sometimes you need self-esteem to be humble.
A big 'amen' to that, here.

I sometimes picture self-esteem as being something like grace, in turn something like manna - I can be given it and use it for something good, perhaps giving it away in graciousness and 'humility'. For this purpose I might pray for a huge supply, especially where (as for me) we feel its lack in our own strength, and where circumstances extract grace and humility from me at a rate I fear will very rapidly deplete me.


But if I try to hang onto it, stockpile it - it goes rancid. On the other hand, with none, I starve. Perhaps a key is, it is not mine.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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quetzalcoatl
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I think that's right about self-esteem. You also find some people who are preoccupied with themselves, for good reasons. I mean, they are trying to solve some problem or other, maybe without realizing what it is.

I hate it when they are told to get over it, or think of others; this can make things worse. They may need time and space, to work through things.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
This issue occupies me quite a lot.

quote:
You also find some people who are preoccupied with themselves, for good reasons.
You're a kind man, Q.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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la vie en rouge
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Yesterday I saw a poster (for a charity that helps people with Down’s syndrome) with what I think may be the awesomest slogan ever:

quote:
Si tout le monde devait être pareil, ce n’est pas vous que l’on prendrait comme modèle.*
I find this so brilliant I don’t know where to begin. Probably because I have been around some absolutely insufferable people (one in particular whom I am in the process of cutting out of my life – a very devout little GLE, natch) who do think that they are the superior model on which everyone else should base themselves. Because ‘I do this, and I do that, and I’m like this and I… I… I…’ In other words, if everyone was a bit more like me, the world would be a better place. ISTM that one of the big danger signs that one lacks humility is the excessive use of the words ‘me’ and ‘I’ in one’s conversation.

The real point is that none of us would get picked as the base model. Some of us realise this and some of us… don’t. The ones who do are generally nicer people than the ones who don’t, IME.

Paul talks about having a sober judgment of ourselves. To me, that means making an honest assessment, no better, no worse. I have weaknesses. I need to own them and work on them. I also have strengths. I can be proud of them, but not to the point that I think it makes me more important than someone else. Other people have different strengths and weaknesses and that’s a good thing. I’m not better than other people because a world full of no one but clones of me would be appalling.

*If everyone had to be the same, they wouldn’t pick you as the base model

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
quote:
This issue occupies me quite a lot.

quote:
You also find some people who are preoccupied with themselves, for good reasons.
You're a kind man, Q.

Very kind of you, yourself, sir. I have just seen too many people suffering from various life afflictions, and who needed time and space, in which to think and feel, and work through stuff, that I get enraged if they are told to get over it, or snap out of it. Well, this is soul-murder.

So I call it a healthy narcissism, which may be required for healing to take place. Of course, there is an unhealthy narcissism.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:

I sometimes picture self-esteem as being something like grace, in turn something like manna - I can be given it and use it for something good, perhaps giving it away in graciousness and 'humility'. ...
But if I try to hang onto it, stockpile it - it goes rancid. On the other hand, with none, I starve. Perhaps a key is, it is not mine.

Lewis had this image of glory (praise, self-esteem) being like a ball game played by a ton of people, where the object is to touch the ball yourself and, once you've done that, immediately bop it to someone else--like a balloon game I've played with children. Nobody tries to hang on to it, but everybody gets to touch it and pass it off. Even the dog, in the best games.

[ 06. March 2015, 15:59: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Raptor Eye
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There have been some excellent replies.

The problem is that irl we will always struggle with humility. As soon as we think we're humble, we're not. We must know ourselves, and yet we're not supposed to focus upon ourselves. We must see others as better than us, and yet we are to love others as ourselves.

My own failings come to light as I judge those who are self-centred against my standard of humility. They should.... I should.....

The times in my life when I was the most self-centred were times when I was insecure and feeling unloved. It was necessary to recognise and clear out negative responsive habits I had laid down in childhood and know myself before I could completely give myself away to everybody else, in confidence and trust that God would help me through in place of those responses.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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quetzalcoatl
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Spot on; in fact those who are damaged, may need special treatment, where they are the absolute centre of attention. This can help in the healing.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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SusanDoris

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LeRoc

Very interesting. I think I'm going to have to have a good think here!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Barnabas62
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A good thread to start, LeRoc. I'm pretty much singing off the same hymn sheet as Lamb Chopped. Self-conscious humility seems to be a contradiction in terms, yet without some degree of reflection and correction, we can also fall prey to unselfconscious pride! I think the observations about self-esteem are valuable as well. There are some paradoxes here that I can't get to the bottom of myself.

I guess the proud deserve their comeuppance and the lowly need lifting up! In both case, other-directedness and an abandonment of status consciousness seem to be desireable fruits. Best I can do for now.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Ikkyu: My favorite take on this is the "True man of no rank" from Linji,
A true man of no rank

Thank you, it's an interesting story, and it's good to hear about this from a Buddhist perspective.

I relate humility a lot to the 'Up/Down' thinking that is explained in this story. I think humility has a lot to do with that. Hey, I said I come from Liberation Theology, so I always think in terms of power relations [Smile]

One way I think about it is this: suppose we have an interaction with someone, and somehow we are on a higher pedestal than the other person, either because we've put ourselves there in our self-absorption, or because socio-cultural relations have put us there.

In this case, humility can be a great way to restore the balance. By putting ourselves in a lower position than the other person, at least temporarily, we can continue as equals afterwards.

So, that's one of the things I think about humility: it can help to restore balance.

quote:
Ikkyu: A true man of no rank does not waste his time thinking he is "better" or "worse" than anyone else.
He does not let that get in the way of what needs to be done.

Yes, I agree. I think there are different dimensions to 'outward thinking'. One is just focussing on the job that needs to be done, without trying to find pride (or humiliation) in it.

Another aspect of outward thinking, I think is not just thinking about yourself but about other people too. It reminds me a lot of this article by David Foster Wallace. "Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to food-shop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me, about my hungriness and my fatigue and my desire to just get home, and it's going to seem, for all the world, like everybody else is just in my way, and who are all these people in my way?"

Ouch, that hits home. I think humility can be a way to overcome that. It's not just about me, it's about other people too. But that's not easy to do in practice.

quote:
The Silent Acolyte: Icons teach. Here is one entitled Extreme Humility.
Christ on the Cross in a box! He sure looks humble here.

I once had a conversation with an Orthodox person who paints icons. She told me what this process meant to her, and how it teaches her humility. As related by her, "Who am I that I should paint this icon?" is a thought that comes up at various moments throughout this process. I think the Orthodox Tradition can teach us a lot about humility.

quote:
Belle Ringer: The idea that it's about not being self-focused makes sense to me, but I like the honesty aspect too, that it's not humility to say "oh, it wasn't much work" when it was, or "my work isn't very good" when it's excellent. True humility does not include belittlement of anyone, not even self.
Oh yes, I hate false humility.

quote:
mark_in_manchester: I sometimes picture self-esteem as being something like grace, in turn something like manna - I can be given it and use it for something good, perhaps giving it away in graciousness and 'humility'. For this purpose I might pray for a huge supply, especially where (as for me) we feel its lack in our own strength, and where circumstances extract grace and humility from me at a rate I fear will very rapidly deplete me.
I'm not sure. Is self-esteem given to us by God? Perhaps.

quote:
quetzalcoatl: I have just seen too many people suffering from various life afflictions, and who needed time and space, in which to think and feel, and work through stuff, that I get enraged if they are told to get over it, or snap out of it. Well, this is soul-murder.
The link of humility to psychological / psychiatrical problems is interesting. I have quite a lot of contact with homeless people, and humility seems to be a big issue (pun intended) to them.


Sorry for the long post. There's a lot to think about.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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ChastMastr
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The points that are made here by Lamb Chopped and Lewis
As always, I think most prou-found-al-ly true is.

... er, are.
[Hot and Hormonal]

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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Golden Key
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I think healthy humility is realizing and accepting that you are neither *less* nor *more* important than anyone else.

It's not letting yourself be trodden upon, nor treading upon someone else.

The point on the original thread, IIRC, was that if we encounter space aliens, it's important for us to be humble. Otherwise, our encounters will be a replay of all the horrible encounters that "discoverers" and "conquerors" have visited upon "lesser" groups, throughout human history.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Cathscats
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When my father thought one of his children was getting uppity he would simply say airily, as though it were a quote, "Humility, and how I achieved it." [Smile]

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"...damp hands and theological doubts - the two always seem to go together..." (O. Douglas, "The Setons")

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Twilight

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I grew up in a world where bragging was a really bad thing. Any hint of it earned a hard punch on the arm from a brother. If any of my fellow high-school kids had admitted to being smart or pretty they were harshly scorned for it. So the self-esteem movement was, and still is, rather strange to me. I read the online bios of the current "Survivor," cast and cringe at all the glowing self-descriptions.

So far, lots of the posts on this thread, seem to me to be trying to bend the definition of humility to fit in with the modern self-esteem movement and I'm not sure I agree with it.

I don't like false modesty or phony humility anymore than the next person, but I'm not sure that the "no one's worse than me and no one's better than me" is really it, or that thinking of others and being charitable is the same thing as humility. I can't think of someone as truly humble if they believe that no one is better than them. Not speaking of rank, of course, but I'm sure there are nuns working with Ebola patients who are better than me, not to mention most of the people in my church. I don't have to have low self-esteem to see that, just common sense when looking around at who seems to be doing a better job at following Jesus.

A slogan that I do think applies (also from the Down Syndrome society, I think.)

"Everyone is my superior, that I might learn from them."

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SusanDoris

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The thread title, beginning with After you,' is interesting, but that is basic courtesy and good manners, isn't it? It is not really humility.
It would be nice to think of something original, or clever, but there's no chance of that, I'm afraid, even though I've been thinking about this topic all day! [Smile] And that is not a humble answer, it's simply factual! My personal experience is that I have never felt humble in the presence of anyone, nor, by the same token, superior.
I looked up the synonyms for humility and 'submission' seemed to be their theme, and I certainly reject that.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:

I looked up the synonyms for humility and 'submission' seemed to be their theme, and I certainly reject that.

I think you're onto something. I felt like the thread was skirting around the issue, redefining it as something like charity or trying not to feel too terribly superior to others, but I think it's probably more than that and much harder than we would like it to be.

Because, in today's world, being submissive is an awful idea to so many people. A woman who might once have been viewed as humble might now be considered a doormat, failing to put herself forward. A humble man might be seen as lacking in ambition at work and henpecked at home.

I really don't know what we mean by humble. Is it the same as "meek?" Is a perpetual state of awe and gratitude? Are we meant to be humble before God or other people or both? How do we reconcile being humble with using our gifts and not hiding our light under a bushel?

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
The thread title, beginning with After you,' is interesting, but that is basic courtesy and good manners, isn't it? It is not really humility.

I suspect good manners (as trained into our children!) is intended as a substitute for real humility--that is, it gives you a template for how to behave when you're actually on the arrogant selfish side, but don't want to betray that fact to everyone. [Biased]

A truly humble person would probably get 90% of good manners right just by acting naturally, and the remainder is just the arbitrary things like which fork to use.

One thing that fascinates me--Jesus is clearly humble, perfectly so, in fact, and yet he can be aware of his own humility ("come to me and find rest... I am gentle and humble in heart..." ) and still not be corrupted by that awareness. That sort of awes me. (meant to write, "like, DAMN" and then figured it was inappropriate. [Razz] )

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
I grew up in a world where bragging was a really bad thing. Any hint of it earned a hard punch on the arm from a brother. If any of my fellow high-school kids had admitted to being smart or pretty they were harshly scorned for it.
Twilight - I suspect I might be a bit younger than you, but this describes my upbringing very strongly too. I used to think it was healthy, or at least 'never did me any harm', and that the way things have changed is a bad thing.

I still cringe at folks rattling off their achievements - it happens a lot on TV and radio. I guess I have been conditioned to find that kind of narcissism really distasteful, and I shy away from it so strongly as to have perhaps hastened the demise of my own career, such as it was.

But at the same time, I have come to realise that my father's 'who the hell does he think he is' came with a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder. Likewise his punch on my arm; something in him thought, and thinks, that esteem is a zero-sum game, and that he could not afford to lose any of the little he had within himself.

As folks have suggested up-thread, this is not humility. I have become less enamoured the culture I came from, and less quickly dismissive of where we have ended up, as I have digested this.

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ChastMastr
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:

I looked up the synonyms for humility and 'submission' seemed to be their theme, and I certainly reject that.

I don't, but that's arguably worthy of its own thread.

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Cathscats: When my father thought one of his children was getting uppity he would simply say airily, as though it were a quote, "Humility, and how I achieved it." [Smile]
Hah, nice one [Smile]

quote:
Twilight: I grew up in a world where bragging was a really bad thing. Any hint of it earned a hard punch on the arm from a brother. If any of my fellow high-school kids had admitted to being smart or pretty they were harshly scorned for it.
This is very recognisable to me. In the village where I grew up, children would shout "Hey! There goes the professor" when I was walking in the street, just because I liked books and atlases. And they didn't mean it in a flattering way.

quote:
Twilight: So the self-esteem movement was, and still is, rather strange to me.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean with 'the modern self-esteem movement'. Are those the people who are into a certain kind of self-help books, pick-up artists etc.?

As I already told elsewhere, I work a lot on self-esteem with children and young people in Latin America and Africa. This is because we believe that low self-esteem can lead to bad school results, unemployment, substance abuse, criminality, teenage pregnancies ...

Hmm, it seems that there are two sides to self-esteem too.

quote:
Twilight: I don't like false modesty or phony humility anymore than the next person, but I'm not sure that the "no one's worse than me and no one's better than me" is really it, or that thinking of others and being charitable is the same thing as humility.
I think I agree with you here. The Buddhist article Ikkyu linked to talks of letting go of all standards of measurements of status, until there is no rod anymore on which we can measure if we're 'higher' or 'lower' than someone else. Like some people on this thread have said, just focus on the job at hand.

While I believe there is some wisdom in that, I also think it can be taken too far. It is okay to look up to someone sometimes, like the nuns working with Ebola patients.

quote:
SusanDoris: The thread title, beginning with After you,' is interesting, but that is basic courtesy and good manners, isn't it? It is not really humility.
I agree, this is what I could think of when I started the thread. Politeness isn't the same as humility, although I do think there is some overlap.

quote:
SusanDoris: I looked up the synonyms for humility and 'submission' seemed to be their theme, and I certainly reject that.
To me, humility isn't the same as submission. In my mind, humility has much more to do with letting go of your hubris, your arrogance.

But it is interesting, that people can have such different associations with this word. We Christians, we encounter the words 'humble' and 'humility' rather often in the Bible. And no doubt, these text are frequently being preached about from the pulpit. Sometimes I wonder: do these preachers realise that people have different associations with the word humility? I have always thought of humility as a positive thing, yet other people seem to have an almost visceral reaction against it.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
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LeRoc: What I call "the modern self-esteem movement," is the change in teaching from giving prizes only to those who have done well, to giving everyone a little trophy. (A mixed message, I think) Teachers and parents doing more praising and less criticizing, (A good thing up to a point!) I hear young people say about another, "She's insecure!" or "She has low self-esteem!" in the same tone where they once might have said "She's a slut!" (A weird thing to me.)

I think my own parents were overly critical and it resulted in under-achievers who were afraid of failure. On the other hand, I've read that today's young prisoners test above average on "self-esteem." They've learned to think highly of themselves no matter what evidence to the contrary and barely understand the concept of doing wrong.

All this high self-esteem, while seemingly positive from the stand point of mental health, seems rather contrary to the concept of humility.

IMHO [Biased]

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:

I looked up the synonyms for humility and 'submission' seemed to be their theme, and I certainly reject that.

I think you're onto something. I felt like the thread was skirting around the issue, redefining it as something like charity or trying not to feel too terribly superior to others, but I think it's probably more than that and much harder than we would like it to be.
May I ask whether you mean harder to define, or harder to be humble? [Smile]
quote:
Because, in today's world, being submissive is an awful idea to so many people. A woman who might once have been viewed as humble might now be considered a doormat, failing to put herself forward.
Not so much failing to put herself forward, as failing to realise she is a woman in her own right, withthe the right to be considered equal to anyone.
quote:
I really don't know what we mean by humble. Is it the same as "meek?" Is a perpetual state of awe and gratitude? Are we meant to be humble before God
The more I think of this from my ancient point of view ?) the more I am so glad I was born with the genetic make-up which made me naturally confident and at ease in any company. There was always the general instruction that we (my siblings and I) must be humble before God, but this was never really explained.
quote:
...or other people or both? How do we reconcile being humble with using our gifts and not hiding our light under a bushel?
Well said!
The terms humble and humility do not appear much in general conversation, on radio, in books and, as far as I am aware, magazines,do they?

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
A truly humble person would probably get 90% of good manners right just by acting naturally, and the remainder is just the arbitrary things like which fork to use.

I think such a person would be thoroughly well-adjusted, not humble!!
In fact I think the more one tries to define humble or humility, the more elusive such a definition becomes.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Lamb Chopped
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IMNSHO humility IS a form of well-adjustment. It's being spiritually well-adjusted--which doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with being emotionally, socially, or mentally well-adjusted. But a human being who is truly humble is neither an arrogant asshole nor a cringing slave. He's in the sweet spot where he knows his own value and doesn't obsess over it--and that sets him free to be truly useful to other people.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Anselm
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John Dickson's book on humility, called "Humilitas", is an excellent meditation on this virtue.

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carpe diem domini
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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselm:
John Dickson's book on humility, called "Humilitas", is an excellent meditation on this virtue.

I think Lamb Chopped, in the post above yours, has a sensible summary of the subject of thisthread. I do not think humility and being humble is a virtue. Does the book you refer to say why he thinks it is?

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
He's in the sweet spot where he knows his own value and doesn't obsess over it--and that sets him free to be truly useful to other people.

Well said. I think of a humble person as able to step aside for others out of a quiet confidence that has nothing to prove and so doesn't need the affirmation of titles and promotions. Then the "after you," in the thread title doesn't just mean good manners but truly allowing the praise and glory to go to someone else.

I think examples of a humble person might be letting the other person take credit for the job they did together. Noticing that the other soprano in the choir really, really wants the solo part and encouraging them to take it. Giving up a prestigious job to stay home and be a caretaker when needed.

As I said, I think humility is hard, both to define and to do. Part of it is giving up some prestige and control for the sake of others.

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
SusanDoris: I do not think humility and being humble is a virtue.
I still think that it's a semanthic issue, and that it has more to do with your understanding of the word 'humble'.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I do not think humility and being humble is a virtue.

I guess we'll have to disagree there. Can I ask why you don't?

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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