I love the quality of commenting and discussion on this site - with how bad comments are on most of the internet, I've been really blown away with the amounts of wisdom and smart things we've gotten in the comments.
I try to take sharp and thought-provoking comments and make them into their own top level post, so they get full exposure. I try to do especially do this for comments on older entries that otherwise wouldn't be seen.
Now, it's really exciting when comments on comments are generating good discussion. This is what I've been looking for - a place where smart, ambitious, expansive, cool, good people communicate and talk and work on things.
Anyways, a while back Stefanie left a comment that became the entry "Life Manifest."
Roy just replied to her work with an exercise that I think worthy of some consideration -
I just started reading Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. This paragraph surprised me:
And lastly (I may as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity [by writing this]. Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of his life.
Fascinating! Thank God for vanity? Wow...
But you know, it makes some sense. It seems to me that modesty is good when it helps you achieve what you set out to achieve, and modesty is bad when it stops you from achieving what you set out to achieve. Whether modesty is effective or not depends on the situation. Some situations call for it. Some don't.
It seems to me that there's a certain kind of pragmatic humility that'd always be good to have. Knowing what you don't know, knowing that there's a lot of skills you don't have, understanding that even your best reasoned judgment of a situation might be overlooking some details...