Surely pride isn't such a bad thing? It must've been a mistake when it got listed as one of the "seven deadly sins." It's even been held to be the original one, and the source of others. Isn't it good to say we're proud of our kids - whether for their achievements, or for the people that they are? I certainly think both of mine are wonderful individuals. We may even refer to them, or our girlfriend/
boyfriend/spouse, as our "pride and joy," although admittedly sometimes blokes might refer to their car (or guitar) in the same way. Stevie Ray Vaughan even wrote a song on subject - tho' personally I prefer Bonnie's guitar tone to SRV's shrill rough Texas twang. And she delivers liquid medicine outa that pill bottle on her finger...
"Well you've heard about love givin' sight to the blind..." Preach it Stevie/Bonnie!
Or if blues isn't your thing (I pity you), how about some Marvin?
Any other things which it might be good/acceptable to be proud of? Our own achievements? Military success abroad? Sport, individually or nationally?
What else might we feel it's right to be proud of? Our sexuality? On a quick video or picture search on Google for pride, the first few pages of returns (at least) are dominated by what used to be called Gay Pride marches/emblems, until they were rebranded simply Pride, claiming to be more inclusive than merely being proud of being LGBT. Sometimes those who have been or felt oppressed, or discriminated against, need a period of 'compensatory' recognition but, whether we're talking about the societal status of women or ethnic groupings, or sexual orientation, I expect that most groups seek equality and parity of esteem in the medium to long term, rather than special recognition.
The old adage warns "Pride comes before a fall." Is that adage redundant in an age where we are told we can't esteem others if we don't hold ourselves in esteem? If we all want parity of esteem, how can we be individually proud? Is there a difference between pride and self-esteem? Are they separated by clear blue water, or are they just part of a continuous spectrum of feeling and attitude? Interestingly this particular 'deadly sin' was categorised early on in Greek as Ὑπερηφανία, which is often translated "hubris", but Eastern Orthodox traditions have rendered it "esteem." Is all this just semantics?
Even those who don't accept a concept of 'sin' may feel that, at least at times, pride/hubris can be an unattractive or unpleasant characteristic. So is it situation or context rather than the focus of our pride that determines when it's undesirable? Or is it more agreeable as a characteristic if the focus is someone other than ourselves? Is it a matter of whether pride is misplaced? But then who is to judge what is misplaced and what is "valid?" Many of us feel it's appropriate to tell folk they should be proud when they have succeeded in overcoming some obstacle or handicap or adverse circumstances. We may feel that they should "hold their head up high." That seems to be the notion behind John Fogerty's Proud Mary - tho' interpretations vary widely as to what or who Proud Mary was - from marijuana, or a Lard Company (!) to a washerwoman, or a paddle steamer. The last two seem the more likely, and Fogerty is reported to have said that bits of the song came from various different song drafts, one of which was about a washerwoman. It's in the tradition of river songs, celebrating hardworking locals. The original's great, but Tina Turner gave it new legs!
Mind you, John came back with a pretty fine version in 2010 (be sure to click the hi-def option):
How are pride and confidence related? Do we need a certain amount of pride before we can act effectively? When does too much become ugly? Is just the right amount required for mental health? Or is just the right amount a consequence of mental health? (Mental illness is often considered to be associated with low self-esteem, yet megalomania/delusions of grandeur can be a characteristic of the manic phase of bipolar disease, or of schizophrenia).
Is pride something those not burdened with mental illness have control over? Is it a matter of choice whether we indulge it or not? Joey and the boys seemed to think so.
I have long wondered what the intended meaning is of the title of U2's song. I have featured a more vintage version of it before - here's a more recent blast.
Is the bit in brackets just a longer version of the title (ie the pride mentioned is in the name of love), or is 'In the Name of Love' an alternative title, or a subtitle, to Pride - cos it's the recurring hook in the chorus? Is there such a thing as pride in the name of love? Pride only gets a single mention in the song, and seems to refer to Martin Luther King's pride. Was MLK proud? Did Bono & Co. really mean dignity, rather than pride? (Of course dignity doesn't rhyme with sky, and might have been harder to metre...!) The song parallels MLK's vision, impact and martyrdom with those of Jesus the Christ, suggesting that He too came in the name of love. Views vary on whether He had delusions of grandeur (ie misplaced hubris in claiming to be God), whether He never claimed to be God, or whether He was who he implied He was through use of specific terminology, and pronouncing forgiveness of sins - presumably including pride, ironically - and announcing his inauguration of the Kingdom of God. Yet, as presented in the books of the New Testament, proud seems a wholly inappropriate term for him, and at odds with the nature of love.
Maybe the problem with pride is self-importance, reaching too high for things we shouldn't, overconfidence in our own abilities. Or, as I've put it before, 'arrogance in the face of Googol.' Pride can also be self-centred.
Are these not recurring themes in the biography of mankind? From the multi-disc album, Biograph:
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"He reached too high, was thrown back to the ground
You know what they say about bein’ nice to the right people on the way up
Sooner or later you gonna meet them comin’ down
Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
When your foot of pride come down
Ain’t no goin’ back"
Dylan doesn't leave you in any doubt that he's not talking about Icarus.
"There’s a retired businessman named Red
Cast down from heaven and he’s out of his head
He feeds off of everyone that he can touch
He said he only deals in cash or sells tickets to a plane crash
He’s not somebody that you play around with much."
As Dylan points out, Pride affects preachers as well as sceptics. Both can be so sure their interpretation of things is the only valid one, and both can profit from their positions of influence.
"Yeah, from the stage they’ll be tryin’ to get water outa rocks
A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks
They like to take all this money from sin, build big universities to study in
Sing “Amazing Grace” all the way to the Swiss banks..."
In the liner notes of the album, John Bauldie gave the following analysis of the song:
"Foot of Pride," crammed as it is with Biblical allusions, seems to be offering one primary warning - about the perils of vanity. Having presented an extraordinary series of images in its opening section, only in verses four and five does "Foot of Pride" become direct rather than allusive in its condemnation of those false prophets who misuse religion and faith, abuse trust, hoodwink the gullible, all in the pursuit of earthly riches. But although they'll seem to prosper in the world, making "all this money from sin," and, apparently, never have to face any kind of comeuppance, as the song's chorus insists, there is a price to be paid, eventually and irrevocably, when "the hot iron blows" and when "the foot of pride comes down," as it will - "ain't no going back."
Dylan's never painted as convincing a picture of the fallen world, of a 20th century Babylon, as he does in this song...
Or, as Dylan noted in another song:
"Power and greed, and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is."
Dylan has a habit of firing an arrow into the doorpost, highlighting where his land stands condemned.
In 'Song and Dance Man (Vol 3),' one of his massive tomes on Dylan, Michael Gray asserts that Foot of Pride is inspired by the O.T. Book of Daniel in which "God's punitive foot comes down and splats Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King." Man can abuse authority and privilege, but there will be consequences.
Michael may be right about the spirit of the account in Daniel (with respect to the pride of both Nebuchadnezzar and his successor, Belshazzar). However, the phrase "foot of pride" can't be found in the book of Daniel, whereas it is found in Psalm 36 (in the old King James Version).
The following is another excerpt from the Biograph liner notes:
...That lie about everybody having their own truth inside of them has done a lot of damage and made people crazy. Did you ever hear that to conquer your enemy, you must first repent, fall down on your knees and beg for mercy? Does West Point teach that? I don't know. I do know that God hates a proud look.
So once more Dylan's turned the spotlight on his own nation, its attitudes and its military hubris.
MLK also turned a spotlight on his own nation, and he had a vision for a better one. He had his own failings, and it turns out that he was proud of one thing at least - tho' it's kinda paradoxical - sort of proud not to be proud, proud not to think better of himself than others.
I reckon that kind of pride is just fine.