Humility

Nobody wants to be humble. It seems not a thing to aim for.
Weak, wishy-washy, lacking in get-up-and-go, etc.
But is that what it is? Maybe not. Maybe we should take a look at this…

The opposite of humble could be arrogant. And what does arrogance have to recommend it?
So we have two seemingly undesirable states here. Which to choose?

Why choose at all? To aim for either one would be to surrender the state we actually possess, and to go after one we do not. Which might be called development, or, depending on how we look at it: regression.

Both states are actually where we might end up, as a result of a process. They are consequences, not causes. Let’s see…

I build a tower. It falls down on my head. I get a big lump on my head. This is a consequence of not building the tower well enough. It hurts.

I build a tower. It falls down, narrowly missing my head, not by design, but by sheer good fortune. The tower is demolished, which signifies failure. Yet I escape a big lump on my head. Which enables me to try again to build a tower that does not fall down. I feel fortunate, and have a new respect for the dangers inherent in tower-building. I have humility.

I build a tower. It falls down on the head of my enemy, who gets a big lump on his head. It hurts. I decide I built this tower specifically to achieve this effect. A brilliant piece of planning and execution. (And delusion). I build more towers, to fall upon the heads of more enemies. I am arrogant.

Both examples are commentaries I carry out upon myself, and display for others.
I may wish to be humble. But in fact I am not. I am just a crappy tower-builder.
I may wish to appear clever, but I am not. I just build crappy towers.
All I have done, in reality, is build a failed tower.

What if I build a tower that stays up? Did I fail to achieve humility? Did I fail to achieve arrogance? Do I even remember why I decided to build a tower in the first place?

The tower stays up. And I decide a higher power aided me in this achievement.
“By the Grace of God”, I declare. Humility.

The tower stays up. I decide I am a genius. Arrogance.

There is a third way: Detachment.
The tower stays up. I survey my work, feel appropriate satisfaction, then go off to clean out the soiled cat-tray…

There is a hierarchy here.
Arrogance: to make more of myself than my achievement warrants.
Humility: to realize that many things are beyond my control, and to accept that.
Detachment: to do my best for result I hope for, and then to move on to the next job.

The first is out in Left-Field. This sort of fantasy commentary can go anywhere at all.
The second is more desirable, but somewhat limiting.
The third is probably the most useful: to do what I can, see what happens, then be ready to do it again.

It is said that humility is a good thing. And that may be so. As long as it is true humility, and not merely the appearance of it.
It is said that arrogance is a bad thing. And this may be so. Although the appearance of arrogance may not actually be arrogance, at all.
Detachment? Such a state is its own reward. It has no appearance. It exists or it does not. A neutral state that observes results. Not a bad thing to go for. Balance.

So you see: I started out to make a case for the value of humility.
And ended up making a case for detachment, instead.
Which goes to show, that, clever as I am, I am forever unable to stick to a plan.
Which is why I favor detachment: wherever it goes, I deal with the new reality I have arrived at.
Knowing I do not control where things ultimately go.
Knowing the best I can do is to influence events.
Knowing that no result is a guaranteed one.
Knowing my own limitations, and, suddenly, seamlessly…

I have arrived at humility.

17 Comments

  1. josef H says:

    but…what about SODOMY?

    1. crow says:

      What about it? Have you something to contribute?

      1. Jason says:

        This article strums in my mind as poetic, like an updated page of the tao te ching. One of the aspects of that book I thoroughly enjoyed was the detachment from seeking or longing for, what appeals to my modern mind as, the spotlight. Just do your thing and allow the merits of your work and character to hold their own, rather than shouting “look at me! praise me!”. I’m not always able to keep my inner sunglasses wearing narcissist at bay, but I am aware of when I would see myself as acting without taste.

        Crow, I’ve been a long time lurker, and your posts are always inspiring.

        1. crow says:

          Aha! A man of taste. Possibly even wisdom…
          If you have managed to see tao-te-ching for what it is, you are a rare specimen, indeed.
          The internet is full of so-called “taoists”, that are nothing of the sort, and almost always left-wingers who see support for their pet delusions in its words.
          Taoism is non-political, being wholly about balance.
          And its value, to me, in our particular context, is to absorb its wisdom to de-politicalize politics.
          There’s nothing so divisive as modern politics.
          There’s nothing so tribal as balance.
          (Maybe tribal is not the right word. Anyone?)

          1. Ryan says:

            well I think a “(white) nationalist” would say tribal and liberal (in line with todays particularly psychopathically insane establishment) would say primitive in the case of balance. both ideologies use balance, but in different ways: one works toward it to gain control, and the other, using the chaos from destroying said balance to gain control. (of course this is all just my opinion and perhaps totally out of context of your question)

          2. crow says:

            Nothing considered is out of context.
            I see tribal as the largest social circle capable of actually caring for its parts. Go beyond that and you’re into the business of appearing to care, but not really caring any more.
            I see balance as – well – balance: not aimed at either gaining control, or wrong-footing the opposition.
            When there is balance, there actually is no opposition.
            Good observations :)
            Thanks Ryan.

  2. Ryan says:

    i agree, outside of the genuine roots of say: your extended family, or your local “religous parish”, the culture (to use the “freudo-marxist” term, he-eh) of your tribe is most ingrained in you. you work for the benefit of your group because you are a part of that group. the problem in our world as made clear to us through such “politically incorrect” material as this essay, and you state it perfectly here: “Go beyond that and you’re into the business of appearing to care, but not really caring any more.” is that the power structure is forcing the west to “care about” the rest of the world. we have to save the starving orcs in africa, and protect the goblins from the trolls, because globalist-liberalism still assumes that we are better than them and they need our help. not that we are just the lucky winners in a 1000 year “liebensraum” assault by islamic civilization and turko-mongoliod “civilization”.

    1. crow says:

      I feel, sometimes, that men are programmed to see only out to their horizon, and that is the “caring-zone”.
      Anything beyond that really shouldn’t concern them.
      Technology has pushed that horizon outwards, beyond all reason, and far beyond man’s ability to keep up with it.
      He now feels he “should” care, and so, even if he really doesn’t, he feels compelled to appear to.

      1. Jason says:

        I think we are all islands now.

        I have no words to describe the direction modern life has pushed me in. It seems to me that most human beings I meet are all little salesmen. Do you ever feel people are selling themselves?

        Maybe it is PUA shit that put the idea into my mind. I find that the more you are genuine with people, the less they believe you. The way you state that men are taught they “should” do anything is exactly my point. There are so many arbitrary expected reactions now, and so many people following what they believe in, rather than who they are, nobody can trust each other.

        This girl here can’t understand that I don’t respect cheating(I’m an amateur photographer which puts me in all sorts of situations)

        http://imgur.com/SFyXP

        I don’t know if honor is even in the vocabulary of other human beings.

        1. I think we are all islands now.

          It seems that way — there’s no unifying ideal joining us in a shared goal.

          It seems to me that most human beings I meet are all little salesmen.

          When we’re all equal, we need to distinguish ourselves with fundamentally commercial messages or an aesthetic of uniqueness.

          There are so many arbitrary expected reactions now, and so many people following what they believe in, rather than who they are, nobody can trust each other.

          Ideology has replaced common sense?

          I don’t know if honor is even in the vocabulary of other human beings.

          Honor is unequally distributed. Therefore, comrade citizen, it is anti-egalitarian and must banned (or shot, if we can find it personified).

        2. crow says:

          Honor is a suit of plate armor, useful only to a select few. It’s expensive, heavy, and out of place at a cocktail party.
          But those who must, wear it because it is what they must wear. Their cross to bear.
          Do we know what honor is?
          It might make a good topic for a post…

        3. Ryan says:

          well said jason, i agree whole heartedly

    2. Nicholas Marville says:

      Liebensraum is something else I think ^^

      1. Ryan says:

        yes i was making an ironic reference to the european third reich’s aggresive cultural expansionism and the “similarities” to islamic/turkish jihad/sistimatic extermination of christian minorities, and how their respective “belief system” justified such activity. wasn’t the turkish invasion of the balkans “liebensraum”? if not, please elucidate me

  3. People talking about humility are like the fake taoists you mention. They are acting in a way that makes them seem profound or deep to others, and they don’t really care about the consequences of their actions or whether their “ideas” are true or not.

    1. Queequeg says:

      Acerbic, I think you are reading into subtext that isn’t present in this post. While I do agree it can be tricky to talk about humility and suggest it as a great thing without sounding hypocritical (by sounding arrogant.)

      I didn’t see Forest trying to brag about how humble he was, I saw him using examples to try and get others to understand humility and detachment and/or promote them as being better than arrogance.

    2. crow says:

      The thing is, Acerbic, that all too often, people are – as you say – acting a part.
      It is a worthwhile undertaking, to train oneself to be able to differentiate between an act, and authenticity.
      I’ve often run into this phenomenon. In a world of fakes, it can be difficult to tell true from false.
      But only you can decide which is which, or if there even is, a difference.
      What you decide, changes nothing outside yourself, but it changes things for you.

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