Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm more proud than you are

Interesting. After the post yesterday... I read in Mere Christianity today about pride. C.S. Lewis says, "There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others" (121).

He also says...
(121-122) "According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind."


(122) "Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off? The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise."

(122) "Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is ESSENTIALLY competitive - is competitive by its very nature - while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others... It is the comparison that makes you proud."

(123-124) "...it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or chaste people. But pride always means enmity - it IS enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God."

(124) "A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

(124-125) "Whenever we find our religious life is making us feel that we are good - above all, that we are better than someone else - I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object."

(125) "Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, of contentment, or even common sense."

(126) "The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you."

I could have just written out the entire chapter. You know, to be honest, I've always thought I was somewhat humble (at least more humble than you!). But I think pride might be a problem for me. I've never noticed it, but C.S. kinda nailed me on some things here. Hmm. This was a good chapter for me. My toes hurt.