Seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.
As always my messages aim to be relevant at a personal level, while bringing understanding how the personal can also be political, especially for those who tend not to follow politics as closely as I do.
In a post-truth world where feelings not facts count, immorality is being rewritten as: racism, transphobia, sexism, climate change denialism and colonialism. Pride, as one of the seven deadly sins, seems positively archaic. Yet the adage pride goes before a fall is an ancient saying that still applies. Not the boastful vanity one normally associates with pride, but that of sensitivity, authority, knowledge and complacency. A closer examination will show just how relevant the saying is today.
Understanding how each of these manifestations of pride affects our communications in family, work, business or administration, offers some help towards more meaningful, harmonious relationships.
Pride of Sensitivity
Probably most of us know people who are way too sensitive, always ready to be offended, lacking resilience, ever victims. From personal experience it is hard to have a decent conversation while walking on eggshells. Consequently, rarely is truth disclosed and neither party is enriched. The relationship withers.
In a workplace, a worker who cannot take correction or advice will never improve performance, dragging down the business. Same applies in a sporting team. No use being too sensitive when much is at stake: people have to toughen up a bit.
In the broader political sphere under the new moralities, an empire of hurt and victimhood floods the daily headlines about something said, often taken out of context and misrepresented, to fan the pile-on and blame. Arbitrarily, the career and life of the unwitting can disappear without redress.
Who can forget AFL legend Adam Goode taking serial offence at comments deemed racist, while being enriched and lauded for his playing skill and being awarded Australian of the Year. I’ll have some of that racism! Prime Minister Julia Gillard claimed misogyny against a startled Tony Abbott and more recently Eddie Maguire losing his job for misspeaking in this politically correct world.
I give a pass to people who choose to be offended while not listening to discussion, so deliberately misrepresent according to their own predisposition to project resentment and victimhood. No ready cure for that. Shake their dust off my sandals.
The groundswell of emotional vitriol emanating from pride of sensitivity, often on behalf of someone else, clearly has very high social and financial costs. Those costs are additional to the failure to mature, which tends to be enduring. We all fall.
Pride of Authority
The high social and financial cost of pride of authority over the COVID panic is there for all to see in the behaviour of Labor Premiers, Daniel Andrews, Anastasia Palaszczuk and Mark McGowan. Each orchestrated fear to terrorise the populace into submission to ever changing rules against constantly moving goal posts. Their decisions had a devastating impact on businesses and jobs whose taxes are necessary to support public sector employees without skin in the game, yet who were making rules.
Each of these Premiers failed to follow recommendations according to Harvard Business Review’s Cyneform decision-making model: to reduce command and control once the crisis has passed.
Pride of authority can also surface in families, schools and businesses, generally leaving the “leader” in absolute control, with little scope for development in those operating below leadership level, which would avoid a leadership vacuum. Ultimately all fail to flourish, as it is in the initiative of individuals that opportunities bloom.
Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg’s book, Hidden Hand: Exposing how the Chinese Communist Party is reshaping the world provides a detailed, well documented analysis of the determined authority being exercised by the CCP to achieve world domination. Obedience and compliance are mandatory. Individualism is not allowed.
Over COVID how easily have we slipped into the Chinese pattern of obedience and compliance at the cost of our freedoms? How easily we have fallen.
Pride of Knowledge
The knowledge class elites have certainly demonstrated they know what’s best for we Neanderthal deplorables merely trying to get on with our lives and do the best we can in our families, jobs and communities. Take Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and other tech billionaire oligarchs, who felt their leftist ideas should be imposed on the rest of us. They conspired to influence what was allowed and who was allowed media on their platforms to suppress and distort information to influence the USA election and opinions beyond. Apparently Iranian mullahs and paedophiles were okay, though not Christians or conservatives.
At a lesser scale we have the indoctrination of school children on issues such as climate change, negative impact of colonialization on Aborigines, gender fluidity and racism, mostly big on emotional self-hatred and short on facts. Kids must bow to the knowledge master or fail. We all fall.
Conversations with know-alls become one-sided and tedious very quickly. Instead of being open to new knowledge or debating challenging concepts respectfully, only one voice is allowed. Opportunities for enrichment are lost. We fail and fall as a consequence of the pride of knowledge.
Pride of Complacency
Those proud of their disinterest in politics, staying beyond the fray, may find themselves falling as events overtake them in their powerlessness as policies with which we would never agree become law to our detriment.
Having taken the “easy” path to child raising asserting little correction or discipline, parents may find in time they have nurtured an uncontrollable, unproductive adult that returns grief. Remediation is often fraught and costly.
Similarly policies of government to which we have paid little attention can build to overwhelming and untenable, if we do not take any interest, speak up at the time or lend support to those who do represent our point of view.
In our complacency, we have seen how tacit support for same sex marriage has morphed into promotion from kindergarten upwards of gender fluidity, transgender, sexual choice at whim, unisex toilets, trans men in athletic competition against women and girls and abolition of female denominations of girls, mother, breast feeding, and other biology defying basics of language.
Any protest is labelled homophobic or transphobic (pride of sensitivity) rather than merely another point of view that respects the LGBQTI+ rights and expects the same for others. After all we are all in this together.
Loss of freedoms
Power and control is common to each manifestation of pride, whether sensitivity, authority, knowledge or complacency, as freedom of others is restricted. Whether freedom of thought, speech, movement or association, increasingly we seem to come under greater controls of elites in authority or of knowledge (e.g. Chief Health Officers).
Early indications of patterns of control were evident to me in the feminist movement of the 70’s and 80’s. At that time, women who boasted the number of abortions still wished to control the minds and futures of the children of others, using policy agenda to fragment intact families and direct school curricula. Since then, Marxist philosophies have gathered strength in the march through the institutions, demanding compliance at risk of being cancelled.
Ironically, should, through Australian complacency, the CCP ultimately be successful in dominating this country, we will truly have fallen. Those who have assumed powerful elitist positions may find themselves without the freedom they have long denied to others.