Published on December 18th, 20141
An exploration of pride
By Ben Allison
When was the last time you were proud of yourself?
Did you get a HD for the essay you started the night before it was due?
Did you win a free McFlurry in the McDonald’s Monopoly?
Did you successfully complete a shift at work with a crippling hangover?
Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but, you’re a sinner.
I knew I was a sinner long before writing this article (for a plethora of reasons I care not to admit here), but until I was researching the etymology of the word ‘pride’, I had no idea that I was actually committing the ultimate sin on a daily basis.
As part of the editorial team of this very magazine, I take a great deal of pride in what we have accomplished this year. Look at our fancy new cover, our fancy new spine and our fancy new paper. What’s not to be proud of?
However, I should heed caution because pride is the original and most serious of the Seven Deadly Sins. Gluttony, lust, greed, wrath, sloth and envy are all born out of pride.
In fact, pride created the Devil.
So the story goes; Lucifer was originally an angel. In fact he was God’s favourite angel. However, Lucifer’s pride caused his incessant desire to compete with the holy G.O.D. Pride became his downfall and he was subsequently evicted from the house behind the pearly white gates. His fall from Heaven resulted in his transformation into Satan and that’s how the Devil came to be.
As Marsellus Wallace from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction says, ‘the night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps’. And that was certainly true for our good ol’ friend, Lucifer.
But why is pride, of all the emotions to feel, the most destructive sin there is? Gluttony, lust, greed, wrath, sloth and envy are all very undesirable traits and I can understand why they are sinful (to a degree), yet every day we reinforce to our younger generations that they should be proud of who they are and where they have come from.
Children yearn for their parents to be proud of them, and parents in turn are quick to tell you how proud they are of their kids.
Journalists continually ask celebrities what they are most proud of, and we continue to applaud them for their answers.
Adele is proud to represent the majority of women, Jim Carrey is proud to be a Canadian, JK Rowling is proud of her accomplishments, Drew Barrymore is proud of her mistakes and Ariana Grande is proud of her organic vegetable garden.
As a society we commend those who take pride in their bodies, their sexuality, their nationality, their heritage, their lack of plastic surgery or their honesty at having had plastic surgery, and of course, their organic gardens.
So what has caused this shift in the acceptance of pride?
Is it that the very meaning of the word has loosened and transformed over the years, now representing a noble and self-affirming emotion?
Is it because secular societal influences have dictated that pride is now a virtue?
Or is it the work of the Devil himself; to cause a paradigm shift in the way society perceives the original and most destructive of the Seven Deadly Sins (the very sin that got him kicked out of Heaven)? Has he convinced us that the most evil and immoral sin a person can commit is now a virtuous trait to be nurtured? Has this been his plan all along?
After all, as Kevin Spacey famously says in The Usual Suspects, ‘the greatest feat the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist’. Perhaps now he has also convinced us that the very reason for his downfall is the same trait we must declare loud and clear for the world (and God) to hear, thereby securing ourselves a seat right next to Lucifer himself in the fiery dungeons of Hell.
Well, regardless of the reasoning behind it, I still urge all readers to stand tall and share their pride in themselves, their work and their accomplishments. To all the students graduating at the end of this semester: congratulations. What an achievement. Lucifer would be proud and so should you.