Whether pride is considered to be a vice or a virtue has changed radically over time. Which it is depends largely on what you contrast it with.
In the middle ages, in Europe at least, the opposite of pride was humility. It was in this sense that it became known as a vice or a sin – an improper inflation of one’s self, a taking up of a position that was reserved only for God.
But in ancient Greece pride was held to be the opposite of shame. Pride, in its proper place, was a way of standing tall in one’s achievements, in appropriately valuing and honouring what it is that you have to bring to the world. Without pride, understood this way, we collapse into shadows of ourselves, holding back a contribution that, perhaps, nobody else will bring.
Today is the second birthday of this project, On Living and Working, and I am proud of what’s here so far. Writing these 655 posts has been illuminating, stretching, sometimes frustrating, and a daily practice of deep, heartfelt joy. And, it turns out, writing is a wonderful way to learn.
From those of you who have written back to me, or who I have met, I also get a sense of the meaning this work has had for others, and of its practical use in the world. I’m enormously grateful to the many hundreds of you read and who share what’s written here with people who are important to you.
It’s an enormous privilege to find that my voice in the world has an audience to whom it matters.