On pride and vanity

ON PRIDE AND VANITY

Pride is rooted in desire for self-creation, pursuit of power and fear of failing to seem perfect.

Pride impairs one’s ability to learn and one’s social relationships.

Thus, pride needs to be replaced with humility.

Ozodi Osuji

      My main issue in life is pride. I have total pride. Pride is such that if a person does something, even asks a question that seems to detract from my sense of imaginary worth, my pride is hurt.

    My injured pride and vanity trigger a train of thoughts in me, including leaving the presence of the person who hurt my pride, not doing what he asked me to do, telling him or her off. I often feel angry, fearful, anxious and talk loudly when my pride is hurt, and I am defending my wished-for existential significance.

      I feel insignificant and desire a compensatory sense of false significance, importance and worth. To live in body that would die and get eaten by worms makes me feel not special and unimportant.

IS PRIDE LEARNED OR INBORN?

     I did not learn my pride for it has been with me since I was born. It is rooted in something spiritual and biological.

     Gnostics, as articulated by Helen Schucman, in her book, A course in miracles, say that the world of time, space and matter came into being because of pride, that we wanted to displace God and replace him as the creator of ourselves and creator of other people and creator of the universe. God created us and we resent his creation of us and want to create ourselves, hence made our ego separated self and defend it.

     God created the son of God, and the son resented that creation of him and left God and invented his ego self and placed it in body to hide it from God and is proud of the new ego self and body he made; he feels angry when it is hurt physically and psychologically.

     Pride is rooted in spiritual arrogance and rooted in one’s problematic body. Because of my inherited problematic body and pain, I reacted with a desire for superiority and pride. This is what (Alfred) Adler’s psychoanalysis and Karen Horney’s psychoanalysis would say.

      Scientific psychology does not explain pride but merely describes it as part of many normal and abnormal states of being.

PRIDE HAMPERS LEARNING AND MAKING FRIENDS

     Whatever its etiology, pride is not good for me or for anyone. When I was completing elementary school and was preparing to take what was called Common Entrance examination to go to secondary school, my senior brother, Eugene Osuji, who had already completed secondary school (at a prestigious boarding school) was teaching me and another boy, George Njoku, a book that describes and explains the tests that we would be asked (arithmetic, English, Geography and nature studies and history).

    I understood the book, all right, but the other boy understood it better and would quickly provide the answers when my brother asked questions. I felt like he knew more than I did and felt embarrassed.

     When no one was present, I threw the book out of the window. Later, my brother asked me where the book was, and I said that I did not know.

     Eventually, I went and retrieved the book, but it had been rained on!

     My pride made me afraid of not doing well and being afraid of failing; I had intense desire for perfection and superiority, power and felt diminished by the other boy doing better than I was doing in front of my brother.

   Pride and vanity lead to the drive towards perfection and fear of failing and losing social face; it leads to a feeling of imperfection.

    Some school pupils avoid school, even drop out of school because of fear of failing and making mistakes at school, all rooted in pride.

     I know that my pride hurts my learning ability. If I did not have pride and was not afraid of making mistakes and failing, which is predicated on my desire for perfection and superiority, I would have done better at school.

      I was mediocre at elementary school, above average at secondary school and outstanding at college (because here I had reduced some of my fear of making mistakes hence studied diligently).

      If one does away with pride one learns better, has a good relationship with people (by not being afraid of rejection that leads one to avoid people) and does better at work because without pride you simply do your best and leave it at that.

       It is blessed to be humble and not proud. Therefore, do away with your pride and live humbly. Humility is not humiliation, as I used to fear, but sign of accepting our human imperfection, sameness and equality and accepting a higher power (Unified spirit self, aka God) to have created us and have authority over us.

DISCUSSION

      There is a certain group of people who defy natural sexual practices; they have what they call pride week in which they parade around their cities proclaiming their pride in their sexual practices.

     Their unconscious minds, in calling what they do pride, is telling them that their behavior is rooted in pride.

    The Ego is what religious folks call Satan and the devil. Proud people are driven by Satan.

     Only behavior based on forgiveness and love for all human beings is appropriate behavior.

     Behavior based on attraction to the body and ego is narcissistic and self-destructive.

 We must all strive to let go of our ego pride and live from love, aka the Christ, the real son of God who is one with God.

    God created us as one with him, as unified with him; out of pride we separated from God and invented our egos and now live as egos in bodies. The ego and its house, the human body, is our handiwork, our idol and, as such, we are proud of it and defend it.

      We must now let the ego go and embrace our real selves, the spirit selves that God created us as.

      Here is another example of pride at work. Ken is immensely proud. His pride is rooted in his belief that he created himself. Because he denied the reality that God created him, he lives in fear. The man is full of fear and anxiety, as arrogant people are.

     In his infantile pride he boasts of what he is going to do to folks (folks who can deconstruct his bloated ego). He is afraid of failing and, as such, does not put out one hundred percent effort; thus, he is mediocre.

     He usually runs away from effort due to his neurotic fear of failing and making mistakes; monetary investment on him is wasted money. He must be left alone to sort things out for himself and give up his childish pride and learn to persist at work, hence make some progress.

CONCLUSION

      The authority question: who created one, one or God, must be answered with a resounding affirmation that God created one.

     One must obey God’s will, which is that one must have love for God and for all human beings; one must give up one’s ego wish to seem the powerful creator of oneself and the universe.

     One must ask God and his representative in the temporal universe, the Holy Spirit, to guide one.

Note

When I began attaining a Hindu temple, several times a week, the Swami (priest) and I used to meet once a week in his office, in the evenings and talk, sometimes to midnight. He said that I am a Brahmin (the priestly class of India…I am the high priest of my people). He instructed me on every aspect of his people’s religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism etc.). At some point during our interaction, my marriage was breaking up. The Swami made extraordinary effort to persuade me to return to my wife. I said that what she did is unforgiveable. The Swami, one evening, looked me in the eyes and said, Dr. Osuji, you are an immensely proud man. Your pride was hurt by what your wife did. You must learn to overcome your pride. If you can overcome your pride and vanity during this lifetime, you will have the God experience (overcome Moksha and have Samadhi). Until a person has had the experience of oneness with God and all people, he cannot know peace and joy. When one has that experience, one is enlightened and illuminated and becomes a teacher of God. The man ended by saying that my function is to become a monk and eventually a teacher of God. A teacher of God is a teacher of love and forgiveness. Such a person must live total love because God is love (it is love that unites all existence into oneself, one mind and one being). I must strive to overcome my immense pride and see if I will finally live the life of a teacher of love.

Ozodi Osuji September 11, 2022

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