The Sin of PRIDE

In the 21st century, it’s more difficult to see “pride” as a sin. We think of LGBT pride, Black pride, national pride, Bono singing “In the Name of Love.” Isn’t that song about Martin Luther King — surely he wasn’t a sinner?

Here’s a different take on pride. Actually let’s call it ‘hubris’ so no one gets confused.

Hubris is about insisting on your own greatness. In fact, that’s why Lucifer fell from heaven and ended up on the dark side. He insisted that he was greater than the rest of the crew.  But, Kanye not withstanding, most creative people seem to have a problem with low self-esteem, not grandiosity.

But whereas they would never say that they are better than others, they insist that their work be. They judge their art too harshly, dismissing what they produce with contempt.They demand a higher standard than is reasonable, possible, necessary. They are absolutely intolerant of anything but perfection. It’s hero or zero. Whatever misses the mark gets binned.

If you can’t accept your own normal human weakness, isn’t that hubris? If you are completely intolerant of your own mistakes, isn’t that vanity? Aren’t you saying you can and should be perfect? If it’s a sin to judge others that way, why doesn’t the same apply to how you look at yourself?

If you are unwilling to be vulnerable, you are limited by fear. Overwhelming fear of any form of weakness, of being irrelevant, of being rebuked by others, of falling even slightly below the mark, can prevent you from taking chances. If you are so wary of falling on your face that you won’t take risks, you will never achieve anything great, no matter how high your standards.

Do great work, please, and be proud of it. But don’t let perfectionist, monkey pride stop you from expressing your real, human self.

Third in a series on seven deadly creative sins. Incidentally, and I say this with all due humility, the original list of seven deadly sins was written by Pope Gregory I. Probably no relation.

13 thoughts on “The Sin of PRIDE”

  1. Thank you for your posting Danny. I wonder if there is any correlation between how close you hit everyone’s mark (a pun on sin) to the amount of responses you get? I do not remember if I had forgotten about Pope Gregory but thanks for the reminder. By the way on tumbler there is a section called graphic virtues, graphic vices (I think I got it right). A lot of material for art.

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  2. I think I just have a lot of Chutzpah! I post everything I do, the good, the bad and the ugly. I find it fun how different people react. Some things I think are pretty bad others praise, you just never know what appeals. So why not just share it all? And feel okay that I am drawing at all. I mean really, it is some sort of miracle in process anyway! Praise be to Pope Gregory AND the likes of you! You bring out the best in others!

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  3. LOVE THIS. When I teach it is the most common problem and what stops many from continuing to share of even learn. I know how to encourage people now because I wrestled with this deadly sin myself. Well said!

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  4. Amen to that Danny! I’m embracing these thoughts by posting all my Inktober sketches, however scrappy (and some are REALLY scrappy – ooh, nearly missed the s off that 😉 ). Like Flash said, I am just celebrating the fact that I’m drawing right now, and for me to sit down anywhere and ‘knock off’ a quick sketch is cause for huge celebration indeed. Proper pictures can come later. 🙂

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  5. I always say that only God is perfect. Striving for perfectionism is striving to be God, on some level. Therefore, perfectionism is pride… and very destructive. There is so much beauty in imperfection. The more perfect a person appears, the less approachable they are. I think it would be very lonely up there at the top of the pile of people beneath one so lofty.

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