Liberal arts strike again!
When I first heard of this idea about humility it was in the context of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in something he calls the master-slave morality, which is similar to what you just described (people on the top wanting everyone else to remain 'humble' for the 'good' of society).
Nietzsche says this is bullshit. He argues we are all capable to release immense levels of creativity through the 'will to power' (rising above the general herd instinct of the masses) and by living an unconventional lifestyle. However, VERY few people choose to do this. (According to Nietzsche it's only something like one person a century).
Nietzsche's philosophy is brilliant, but is also the most misunderstood of the many philosophers I have read. I'd highly recommend his books to anyone. On the Genealogy of Morality is a good one to start out with.
Your liberal arts friend and philosophy major, Amanda Hochstatter
I just want to take care of my family and help people. If that can happen that I will give the world.
Well put Brian,
I myself have trouble being modest because the culture I come from requires that whoever puts the most emotion into the story wins. No matter how big or small the story, or even having to be a story at all. ...Plus when your at the bottom, sometimes the only way to make yourself feel good is to exaggerate the situation. Which is how I got through most of my life.
I'm not trying to give an excuse here. I agree that it is more important to be modest, especially the higher your status grows.
On another note (that also relates) my father always told me that "the honest man has nothing to worry about." I've said that many times over the years and it helped me get through tough situations focusing on that if I am wrong in a situation or if my feelings are misunderstood, it becomes a learning opportunity (no matter how hard.) So it's a win win motto regardless and if your honest with your emotions. Then who really cares what anyone else has to say? Just respect others feelings as well, especially if the crows requires it to be toned down.
I think you outline a very powerful point, Sebastian.
I think to supplement what you've said, which I do agree to some extent with, humility is often co-opted by the vain to supercharge their achievements.
I know of many people who have accomplished a lot, and will intentionally act humble, not because they are self-aware enough of their shortcomings or ignorance, but because they know others will be able to praise not only their achievements but also their character.
I find that sickening. It's inauthentic and disingenuous.
Be humble because you are thoughtful and self-aware. Not so that others can inflate your ego even more.
Weeeelllll, I do respect experience a lot. It's not like, *applicably* useful a lot of the time (what with the rate of change being what it is) but it also grants perspective.
I agree, though, that being humble is a way to make the younger generation conform to "the way things are done." Look at it this way; the troops have to be 'paid' and you have a whole generation who showed up and did what they were told, which makes both them, AND those in power extremely vested in putting your in your place.
Don't let them stop you, but don't ever expect them to like you for it. The old guard is dying, and they blame us.