From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.English
Date: Fri, 02 May 2003
The way you talk about humility, it's as if you think it's a virtue. If that's the case, then I have to disagree with you. Why on earth would anyone want to diminish the value of who they are? I take pride in who I am. Humility is for people with poor self-esteem.
There's a difference between being humble and being objective. As I said to you previously, if one cannot add and subtract, then obviously there is no reason to take a course in calculus. That is a fact. Why deny the facts? Why do you think that college courses sometimes have something called "prerequisites"?
You asked me what I do for a living. Currently, I am unemployed. I used work as a computer programmer for a small company in Chicago.
Date: Sun, 4 May 2003
From: Katinka Hesselink
Subject: Re: humility
Humility being a virtue is a rather standard thought in the older spiritual traditions. It is the opposite of the sin of pride. Our present culture, with its focuss on a healthy self-assurance goes against this. Even Krishnamurti seems to agree that self-confidence is a strengthening of the personality and as such, a problem.
For instance from Blavatsky's Voice of the Silence:
>> Build high, lanoo, the wall that shall hedge in the Holy Isle [The Higher Ego, or Thinking Self], the dam that will protect thy mind from pride and satisfaction at thoughts of the great feat achieved.
A sense of pride would mar the work. Aye, build it strong, lest the fierce rush of battling waves, that mount and beat its shore from out the great World Maya's Ocean, swallow up the pilgrim and the isle - yea, even when the victory's achieved. >>
>> Be humble, if thou would'st attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still, when wisdom thou hast mastered. >>
The thought can also be found in Sufism. For instance in the following quote:
>> Meaning modesty and humility, the virtue of tawadu is the opposite of arrogance, pride and haughtiness. We can interpret it as a man’s awareness of his real position before God and behaving both toward God and among people according to that position by seeing himself as one from amongst people and an ordinary, individual part of creation. If a man has been able to convince himself that he is like a threshold of a door or a mat spread on a floor or a pavement stone or a pebble in a stream or chaff
and if he can sincerely confess, as Muhammad Lutfi Effendi did, "Everybody else is good but I am bad; everybody else is wheat but I am chaff", then those of the highest stature in the heavens are kissing him on the head. In a narration attributed to the Truthful, Confirmed One, upon him be peace and blessings, it is said: Whoever is humble, God exalts him, and whoever is haughty, God humiliates him.This means that being really great is inversely proportional to behaving as if great, as is being belittled by others to being small.>>
From: Islamic Sects and Followings Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism
Katinka (below some more thoughts)
> From: "brasher"
> Subject: humility
> The way you talk about humility, it's as if you think it's a virtue. If
> that's the case, then I have to disagree with you. Why on earth would
> anyone want to diminish the value of who they are? I take pride in who I
> am. Humility is for people with poor self-esteem.
The general opinion is, though I haven't made up my mind in this myself, is that self-esteem builds up the personality.And that very personality is a construction that obstructs the understanding that there is really no seperateness.That all is One.
Still, it has also been said that we have to trust our soul-wisdom. The divine is in us. If you can't find it in
yourself, then it is useless to find it elsewhere. Etc. But this is more about trusting that each of us has a drop of the Divine in us, than it is about trusting that our personality is sufficient to itself.
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003
Subject: Re: humility all over again
I tend to agree with that last statement. The personality usually requires nourishment from without. The Soul (which is beyond names and labels) is a source unto itself. Self-esteem is based on what the world may or
may not be thinking of us at any given time, and who wants to be held aloft amidst a crowd of humans whose opinions and judgements change with the winds in accordance with their ignorance or knowledge-either one, it matters not. All we need to know in that regard is that the Creator Loves us.What greater sense of well being could there be?
Humility, in its truest sense I believe, is a virtue for those who comprehend it's true meaning, and a vice for those who confound it. Virtue. Vice. Just words. Just words.
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003
From: "Ruth Rivera"
Subject: Various writers on humility
Humility cannot be an observance by itself. For, it does not lend itself to being deliberately practiced. It is, however, an indispensable test of 'Ahimsa.' For one who has 'Ahimsa' in him it becomes part of his very nature. -- Mahatma Gandhi
Unto the humble He revealeth His secrets, and sweetly draweth nigh and inviteth him unto Himself. -- The Imitation of Christ, ii. 2.
True humility,The highest virtue, mother of them all. -- Tennyson, Holy Grail.
"The great spiritual leaders have always said that humility is the surest sign of true understanding. What is meant by humility or meekness? Are we not talking about humility when speaking of a sense of wonder? Can any man who stands in wonder of anything be other than humble! The truly humble man recognises his own uniqueness, but he also recognises that he has a way to go. Through his sense of wonder he is aware that there are still newer vistas of knowledge, still greater heights to climb. The meekness, too, is not being meek to the things of the earth, not grovelling before the idols of the world. On the contrary, the meek man is meek in his wonderment of the glorious knowledge that must be behind outer appearances. He is full of wonder, knowing that much truth remains invisible to his sensory system. Humility and meekness both enable us to wonder, to ponder, to be in awe. Perhaps our first step towards wisdom, towards God-consciousness is getting rid of our know-it-allness and adopting an attitude of true humility. We should begin to stand in awe, to wonder at the infinite good, orderliness and unity that exist in the universe. We shall never take the first step if we close our minds and hearts to the visible in the invisible, says a thinker. Humbly we must look with eyes that see, and ears that hear, rather than with the superior attitude of "I know all that." It is a sign of self-destroying egotism never to be impressed, never to be moved to wonder by anything or anyone. It is a sign of wisdom to question, to wonder. We learn only through the process of wondering. He is foolish who believes that he must always act in a sophisticated manner as if he is in possession of all knowledge; the wise man recognises that he knows not. God gave us three essential abilities to develop the total consciousness: to reason, to know that we know, and to know that we know not. The man who hopes to raise his consciousness should develop his reasoning power, and ability to sort and analyse what he knows, and should know that he still has much to learn. The humble man knows this and comes into a higher consciousness. Why do we lose our sense of wonder and humility? Because of the fear of appearing naive. If one has real faith in God-force, one should express all the more clearly one's sense of wonder. If we approach anything in life with contempt due to familiarity and assumption of know-it-allness, we are kept in ignorance. We have to be humble to be creative or to rise to a higher level of consciousness. The person who is contemptuous dwells in the lowest level of his consciousness, and he suffers much, as all men suffer who leave their humility buried in the mud of ignorance in which they are wallowing. In what manner do we begin to reactivate this child-like, but very mature and wise sense of wonder? The strength to sustain a sense of wonder with humility against the great pull of habit does not come easily; it has to be willed by conscious action over and over again. It takes very real effort and patience, but it is most rewarding and it will spark our creativity, and new horizons will be opened to us,—a great new awareness and a higher consciousness." -
Humility—The Hall-Mark Of True Wisdom by Swami Madhavananda
"Wisdom grows amidst humility, not with arrogance, just as a seed sprouts in the soft land of the desert as opposed to the hardness of the mountains." --From: Anecdotes of the Pious Ones, # 60, v.1
And [Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (NAS, Matthew 18:2-4)
Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of self. --T.S. Eliot
The Bhagavad-Gita is a dramatic episode of the ancient Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, which has lived through the centuries of man's struggles and confusion, reaching to our day in various translations and expressions to become the inspiration of philosophers, and a handbook, spiritual and practical, for those who are questioning the mysteries of life and death and the impinging circumstances of the world about them. A number of years ago the Bhagavad-Gita was the subject for discussion on a radio program in which one scholar classed it as "one of the world's greatest poems, which begins with a battle and through a burst of rapture gives a picture of the kind of discipline necessary to attain knowledge." In this dialogue the god Krishna looks with compassion upon the warrior prince Arjuna who, at the shrill alarm of battle and survey of the contending forces, with friends and relatives on the opposing side, was overwhelmed by despondency and confusion. Putting aside his weapons be refused to fight, and questioned the god Krishna how he was to know, to understand, the truth of his divinely spoken words and admonition: "Arise with determination fixed for battle." How could he attain to wisdom in such matters of difficulty? Among many formulas Krishna gave him is this:"Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions and by humility." Simple enough, we say. But what is service, and what humility? What constitutes strong search, and what shall be the nature or urgency of our questions? Even here we must search for the answers.
A few elementary definitions may, hopefully, stimulate consideration of these basic words.Service: that which is done for the benefit of another; a benefit or advantage conferred. Strong Search: to explore thoroughly, as if to find something concealed or lost; to pursue with ardor and undaunted energy some hidden goal, as the search of the scientist, the explorer, the expedition, the rescue squad; and, as in the epics of Jason and the Golden Fleece, and Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail, the divine reality.Questions: inquiry of ourselves and of others into high, pure realms of thought and action that baffle the mind; into the mysteries concealed in common things; into the law of justice that governs all life. "The wise who see the truth will communicate it unto thee."
Humility: a true evaluation of oneself; a consciousness of the fundamental principle that all men are equal in spirit and destiny, all made in the image of God, the idea of separateness residing only in the mind and in the senses over which the Mind holds dominion. "He who hath his senses and organs in control possesseth spiritual knowledge."
As we begin to serve, to seek, to question and to hold ourselves in humility we shall begin to understand the spirit of these principles and shall by degrees come nearer to a realization of our own responsibility and strength. We shall begin to realize that the technique for their application to the problems of living is our
job, our discipline, our field of battle and our final victory. (From Sunrise magazine, April 1975; copyright © 1975 Theosophical University Press)
My thoughts on it: It sorta reminds me of the Ka'aba - that big black square stone in Mecca that Muslim pilgrims circumambulate seven times. We are out here perambulating the circumference of this reality while at the center endures the nucleus of ourselves and the world. We need to see humbly that we each are the
living electrons and protons in this living organism and the nucleus is One of which we all partake - or something like that.
Date: Sun, 04 May 2003
I'd like to address something written by the person who calls himself/herself "N5". N5 wrote: "Self-esteem is based on what the world may or may not be thinking of us at any given time, and who wants to be
held aloft amidst a crowd of humans whose opinions and judgments change with the winds in accordance with their ignorance or knowledge." This statement is false. Self-esteem is not something that can
come from anyone but oneself.
Each of us forms ideas about what kind of person we should be. When something indicates to us that we are, in some way, not this person, we may feel hurt. You cannot form an identity without having
these ideas about the way you should be. Our perceptions have a lot to do with who we think we should be. In childhood, we develop reflexes to enable us to look at the world and model ourselves after the things we see in it. Reflexes build an identity and cause us to feel bad when we do not conform to that identity. The need to maintain an image places restrictions upon us. People continuously work to support
their self-image to prove to themselves and the world that this is who they are. People can get their identity from other people through what they express about them. However, all of these ideas that people have
concerning their identities are created by thought. So we need not base our identity so much upon what others express.
I would also like to address something that Ruth wrote. She wrote: "We need to see humbly that we each are the living electrons and protons in this living organism and the nucleus is One of which we all partake."
With the exception of the use of the word "humbly", I agree with your statement, Ruth. I see no reason why I should have to throw away my self-esteem to do what you said.
Hi, Katinka. I have a few questions for you (and anyone else that would like to provide their response). If I didn't have self-esteem and therefore didn't value myself, then I'd feel indifferent toward myself. If I felt indifferent toward myself, then I wouldn't desire anything. Isn't love characterized by a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward another person? How can a person who feels indifferent toward himself/herself be capable of loving another person?
Should two lovers feel indifferent toward one another?
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003
From: "nathan voirol"
Subject: Re: Re: humility
Are humility and self esteam the same thing? I don't believe they are. You can have a person with low self esteam who is not humble and vise versa. I think this is quite common. I think that you can also have
someone who has high and low self esteam simultainously. Either they vasilat back and forth rapidly, or we have multiple esteams attached to different self conceptions, such as feeling confident in school verses feeling lame at social situations.
Low self esteem is certainly unhealthy. I am sure that we all know persons with this problem. Being around them is uncomfortable and there negative feelings can inturn affect us as well. My aunt is like this. I don't like being around her because she is allways cutting herself down. It becomes very unpleasent fast.
In Buddhism one is supposed to chip away at ones ego and cultivate humility, yet at the same time they are supposed to pracitce metta-loving kindness. They don't say I love everyone except my worthless self,
but start with themselves. Once they establish a strong love of self, they spread it out to others( including those they dislike.)
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003
Subject: Re: love
My fellow Philosophers, In my mind self-esteem is of course a valuable tool, and if used in the right way would be extremely beneficial.But are we discussing it from the point of view of one of the many, many
interesting phases of a persons outer life or are we getting down to the bedrock.It is usually the 'personality' aspect (that which is an outer clothing also of the Soul)that requires it (self-esteem, I refer to). But sooner or later, when the aspirant enters through the door of self realization, the 'idea' of self-esteem would
vanish .As would the changeable, impermanent personality which we all so cherish. In order to find oneself one must lose oneself. Self-esteem is to be found in the illusion of duality. When one grasps the oneness of his/her true nature with the Great ineffable being in whom we live and move etc. I could hardly think that self-esteem even enters into it.Must our precious minds, when illumined by the very Heavens themselves and by the Divine Sparks within us all, after lifetimes of experience and learning, suddenly stop for a moment and think, "Gee, I am definitely feeling better today than I was yesterday." When I said "..self-esteem is based on what society thinks etc..." I merely implied that a good portion of people use the
outer world as some sort of measuring stick.I didn't mean that it ONLY came from outside.Actually, if you think about it, it comes from both sources anyway- the world, whose sense of 'judgement' is renowned, and the single individual,who decides in some form or another to be judged by those collective views.I wonder whether it comes down to the simple question of do you believe you are the personality through which the Soul endeavours to find expression or do you identify yourself with the Soul itself? Of course,
in the whole infinite Universe one is as much correct as the other....That darn old Universe.
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003
From: Katinka Hesselink
Subject: Re: love
Your one comment to Truth has sparked a lot - thanks for that. Your question is very difficult to answer for me - but I'll give it a go below.
> From: "brasher" <-*-*-@*_*.com>
> Subject: love
> Hi, Katinka. I have a few questions for you (and anyone else that would
> like to provide their response). If I didn't have self-esteem and
> therefore didn't value myself, then I'd feel indifferent toward myself.
Would you? I don't know. Sometimes I have self-esteem, and sometimes I loath aspects of my personality. If I had neither, I'd probably be able to love the world a lot easier, because my feelings and pre-occupation with myself would be gone.
> If I felt indifferent toward myself, then I wouldn't desire anything.
So all your desires centre about yourself. Is that it? You don't desire world-peace, for instance? What does world peace have to do with you personally? (assuming you live in a peaceful country and are relatively rich - since you have the time and opportunity to even send this e-mail).
> Isn't love characterized by a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward another person?
Well, I can't say I'm an expert on personal love - but the little I have experienced in this direction does lead me to say: yes: romantic love for a person leads to a feeling of intense desire and attraction to that person.
> How can a person who feels indifferent toward himself/herself be capable of loving another person?
Spiritual traditions usually say that there are (at least) two kinds of love: personal love and impersonal love. The former was well described by you above. But the latter includes the kind of love that just wishes the best for a person, regardless of whether they are in your company or not. Impersonal love is the kind that does not seek its own reward. For instance if I love a child, really love it, then I will want that child to grow up happy, wise,intelligent and not dependent on me or anybody else. I will protect that child, be happy to be around that child, but when the time comes for the child to go out into the world, I'll be happy that it is ready for that. The personal aspect of that love will pine for the child, but the impersonal aspect will wish it well regardless of whether it ends up coming back to me. Precisely my indifference to myself (though I can't say I live up to that ideal) will help me let the child go and love it in a more real way.
> Should two lovers feel indifferent toward one another?
Obviously not. But then again, the romantic love between two lovers is only one of the many types of personal relationships we are capable of. It is an example of personal love.
For the spiritual traditions the love-relationship between two lovers isn't more than a practice-ground for the kind of impersonal love tentatively described above.
To complete the story:
Impersonal love is can grow into something even less selfish: namely universal love. The kind of love that the sun shows us: shining on all, irrespective of background, skincolour etc. In this kind of love there isn't even supposed to be (much) room for friendships, because attention for one friend may take away attention for somebody else that may need our atttention, love and wisdom more.
Date: Tue, 06 May 2003
Subject: humility & suicide
Nathan asked: "Are humility and self-esteem the same thing?" No. If I was humble, then I'd think little of myself. If I thought little of myself, then I'd obviously have poor self-esteem.
Maybe an example will help clarify my point. If I was humble and my country was attacked by a foreign power, I might choose to become a suicide bomber. However, killing yourself is a violation of your own
right to life. No self-respecting person would choose to ignore this right. This example illustrates why humility is sinful and why pride is not.
Nathan wrote: "In Buddhism one is supposed to chip away at ones ego and cultivate humility, yet at the same time they are supposed to practice metta-loving kindness. They don't say I love everyone except my worthless self, but start with themselves. Once they establish a strong love of self, they spread it out to others (including those they dislike)." I found your comments interesting, but, unfortunately, you contradicted yourself. If I was humble, then I wouldn't love myself.
It's like you're saying that a humble person isn't humble.
If I love someone, this implies that I value that person. But if I think little of someone, then obviously I don't value that person. This principle also applies to yourself. In short, you can't love who you don't value--including yourself! Suppose our friend Angus said to his wife: "I love you, but think very little of you." That doesn't make any sense.
Katinka wrote: "What does world peace have to do with you personally?"
Without world peace, my own well being is threatened. Aren't I a part of the world? Secondly, I don't want other people to suffer needlessly. That's why it made me feel good to protest the war in Iraq.
Katinka also wrote: "So all your desires centre about yourself. Is that it?" Yes, all my desires are centered around myself. If desires are centered elsewhere, then they obviously aren't mine.
Date: Wed, 07 May 2003
From: "Ruth Rivera"
Subject: Re: love
--- In Young-Theosophists@yahoogroups.com, "nemostar5"
<flybrator@h...> wrote: But are we discussing it from the point of view of one of the many, many interesting phases of a persons outer life or are we getting down to the bedrock.
Ruth: I believe we are discussing it from both points of view with either side not relating to the viewpoint of the other. :)
> I wonder whether it
> comes down to the simple question of do you believe you are the
> personality through which the Soul endeavours to find expression or
> do you identify yourself with the Soul itself? Of course, in the
> whole infinite Universe one is as much correct as the other....That
> darn old Universe.
Ruth: Or there is the third possibility of believing you are the personality through which the personality endeavors to find expression.
Humility may be one of those things in life that (as depicted in this ongoing discussion) appears to be what it isn't. One of those things that can't be communicated but can only be known by each on their own.
And maybe like playing a musical instrument - the more you practice it, the better you become.
Date: Wed, 07 May 2003
Subject: Re: love
I agree.I think humility is a virtue when wisdom is present, and wisdom is, by and large, gained by the mistakes (relatively speaking) we make in our wonderful lives. Perhaps humilty, in that sense, could be defined by accepting the 'downs' as well as the 'ups' and humourously aknowledging that we will probably make plenty more of 'em as we traverse the Path. Does anyone wonder if humour is almost more important (relatively speaking again) than humilty for if one can laugh at oneself then....
Thu, 08 May 2003
Subject: What is humility?
I sent carbon copies (CC) of my previous messages to 6 people and one of them, Katherine, says that there isn't a direct correlation between humility and self-respect. Of course, I disagree. However, I do agree with her that Nathan's question implies a link between respect for self and respect for others and that a closer examination of this link would be beneficial.
As I told my friend Truth, there is a difference between being humble and seeing things as they are. For example, I recognize that when it comes to the subject of theosophy, I am a novice. That is a fact. It's a fact because I haven't read one book about the subject. But that doesn't mean that I'm being humble. Similarly, I wouldn't be acting humbly if I chose not to take a course in calculus if I didn't know how to
add and subtract. That's just being realistic. I'm not really diminishing my own value or ability.
What would make me humble? Well, if my friend Nathan explained his ideas to me and I accepted them purely because I felt the need to pay homage to him, then I'd be acting humbly. In effect, he'd be telling
me what to think and I'd be at the mercy of his command. If I let him do that to me, then I'd clearly not be respecting myself. If I didn't respect myself, then I wouldn't be able to respect him either.
As I said, I do see a link between self-respect and respect for others. If you don't respect yourself, then you don't have the ability to respect other people. So if someone respects other people, then it is obvious
that that person respects himself (or herself). For example, since I respect myself, I make an effort to respect my friends. Consider Nathan again as an example. If I didn't respect him, maybe I'd choose to bully him around. If I did so, it might be because I feel resentment or hatred toward him for what has achieved and what I have failed to achieve. Obviously that would be an indication of a self-esteem
Katinka wrote previously about her preoccupation with herself impairing her ability to love. That's not true at all. A computer isn't preoccupied with itself either. But does it have the ability to love?
No. It's a lifeless, loveless machine. Human beings tell it what to do and it does it. That's it.
A computer can't love anything because it never does anything for itself. In order to love anyone or anything you must have this preoccupation with yourself because YOU are the one who is doing the loving. YOU are the one with the impulse which directs you to love or not to love. YOU are the one who experiences the emotions that one feels when you love someone or something--in any sense of the word "love".
Love requires desire and not the forfeit thereof--which is required by the doctrine of humility. This is true for both kinds of love Katinka was referring to earlier--"personal love" and "impersonal love". For
example, I haven't met any of the people in Iraq, but on the night that the blitzkrieg in Iraq had begun, I experienced a significant emotional reaction (and it was not a feeling of elation). Thought and emotion
influence each other and are really two parts of the same process even though thought tends to create a sharp division between them. I knew intellectually why the war was wrong and my emotions responded accordingly. So don't think that just because I am focused on my own desires that I don't care about other people. Sometimes I DESIRE good things for other people, but please note my emphasis of the words "I DESIRE". It may be the desire of the people in Iraq to not be the victim of a bombing raid, but that doesn't mean that my attitude toward them was dictated by what they wanted. I ultimately made the choice to desire the same thing they desired for themselves. No self-respecting person would allow anyone else but himself/herself to make that choice.
The real reason people are asked to be humble and therefore give up their desires for others is often because they'd like to control you. Consider the classic novel written by George Orwell, 1984. I'm sure many people in this forum have read this book or at least have an idea of what it is about. In the story, desire itself is considered to be a crime. This law was established to keep people under control and prevent them from being capable of rebelling against the government.
I hope this resolves everyone's confusion about humility and why it's wrong. Unless anyone has any further questions or comments regarding this issue, I think it may be best if I stopped posting to this list and started investing my time in reading about theosophy. Currently, I am reading about American history and when I am finished with the book I am working on I will turn my attention to theosophy. It's pretty hard to participate in a discussion about theosophy when you hardly know anything about it. I will pass along any questions or arguments that I have after I have done more reading about the subject.
Thanks for your time and patience.
Date: Fri, 09 May 2003
From: "Truth Collins"
Subject: humility/ humble definitions
Hi everyone. I have been reading your messages. A lot of really cool messages! I figure on rereading them when I have the opportunity.
I look at the etymology(roots phonetic/sound roots or otherwise) when I have the opportunity to check. My definition of humility: humility, humbleness- 'grounded in reality.'
"ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin humilis, low, lowly, from humus, ground. "
Humility has a like meaning to hypo-stasis, where I think we get under-standing from. I would not say that understanding is low-class, submissive, slavish, easily punked or subservient. People who are understanding can appear meek or however they choose to appear.
I do not tend to call people who are very understanding deferential, 'an appeaser'(someone who always shows submissive self-respect),cowardly or of low self worth (unless the word low is given a more positive significance in this instance). A "low center of gravity," a.k.a. balanced, may be a more accurate significance or "low" in relation to humility. Latin humus, ground, earth,"grounded" and therefore not more than one is, harmonious, healthy, firmly rooted, stable,/knowing ones center of gravity a.k.a. balanced equals knowing ones limits. That is where humility is not arrogant or prideful because they are disproportionate ones true identity, having a weak foundation, a foundation that is not properly
grounded. So yes, "grounded" is a synonym for objective though it is used to cover different area of meaning. They cover some of the same ground meaning-wise. Ob-ject means out-thrown though while
humility is grounded. The rest of the meanings for humble and humility, seem to me, to stem from there semantically. An example of what I mean by semantics: it is like the word cool, that was mentioned in
the Voice of the Silence in the phrase "cool headed." It like an unruffled mind is generally seen as something good and pleasant to deal with.
Though cool comes from cold and cold is not necessarily good- as in there are some freezing hells that are mentioned as well as hot burning ones.
I thought that you were close in your first message, as you reclairified, when you mentioned that it seemed like I was talking about objectivity instead of humility. In that message that I sent to your personal email address, your right, it does appear that I was talking about objectivity according to the definitions of
objectivity and humility that are in our common Websters and other reference dictionaries. These dictionaries are good but misleading. Dictionaries have been getting better. I am confident that many
dictionaries will keep getting better.
I have been busy, still physically tired (as this body rebuilds and repairs itself). Your last message seems to prompt a response. So here I am putting one together, (not because of subservience or thinking I am less than I am). If not for your message... I would be doing other things at this time, like working on some of
those prerequisites you were talking about. Work has it's prerequisites too, as you know- having a background with computer programming. I too have programs to learn in order to work, to get the job
done, in order to just get the job. I will send a private message about the question about work that you asked. I have some friend that I can ask about computer related work out here.
(this is an anecdote, so skip it to go to the less personal part of the message)When I looked at our modern dictionaries definitions of humility and humbleness I am reminded of an anecdote(personal story) of when I was busy learning definitions in my second 5th grade. Our teacher told us_ that the definition of energy was the ability to do work_, therefore we should all be 'good boys and girls and obediently do our work.' He repeated this rationalization that was very usefull to him. If the kids believed that this-then-therefore
rationalization about behaving in the classroom it made his job go more unimpeded. I gasped at that definition of energy and at the rest of what I found in my dictionary. I knew very little of vocabulary, but I knew that definition of energy was wrong, incomplete, and that there had to be better dictionaries. To my
disapointment after looking in the library all the way through highschool I found none. Dictionaries with Latin and Greek were o.k. but there was no explanation of how it got from there to here. I was happy when I later found Etymology(the roots of words). I was similary disapointed when asking for advice on the best translation of the New Testament, when I was told that there aren't any so far, though I was told one that I bought and still was not satisfied. I did not want to believe it but I am still not satisfied what I have found. There is a Greek/English interlinear bible that I found not too long ago that is o.k.. Anyone know of any good bible links? links to interlinear translations?(greek english, or hebrew english
next to each other, or aramaic)
Looking at these following definitions I can see where you got your definitions, where they are reflected in the definitions found in these dictionaries.
Best regards, Truth
copy and pasted from the following:
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin humilis, low, lowly, from humus, ground.All the definitions that I found are implied meanings that offshoot from grounded. If I can picture "grounded" then I can see how it applies to each of these meanings. Though humility is ready to be
applied, as are other adjetives, to an almost anything even if it doesn't apply.
1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful. 2. Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology. 3. Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage, freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness. Serving the Lord with all humility of mind. --Acts xx. 19.
2. An act of submission or courtesy.
ADJECTIVE: Inflected forms: hum·bler, hum·blest
1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
2. Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.
3. Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: hum·bled, hum·bling, hum·bles
1. To curtail or destroy the pride of; humiliate.
2. To cause to be meek or modest in spirit.
3. To give a lower condition or station to; abase. See synonyms at degrade.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin humilis, low,
lowly, from humus, ground. See dhghem- in Appendix I.
OTHER FORMS: humble·ness —NOUN humbler —NOUN
humbly —ADVERB humility
NOUN: The quality or condition of being humble.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English humilite, from Old French, from Late Latin humilits, from humilis, humble. See humble.
TC-From this definition I can see how it could be seen as a trick where someone over-ruling like a captain could say to people to be subservient to him/her, to be obedient to them(humans) and they will be rewarded by God because God glorifies and blesses the humble.
Humility - a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Ps. 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).
Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam. 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honour (Prov. 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5). It is a "great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."
TC.- I consider this to be a wrong definition of humility that is influenced by the "man ruling over the earth" that is taught in many Christian circles as I kow it. The earth as applied to persons has a submissive rub to it sinse men are supposed to be the rulers therefore humilus/grounded/earthy in its physical sense is
confused with its spiritual sense. The rest of it stems similarly. Psychologically unconfident people may feel uncomfortable with the words, "modest in his own self worth," though there is nothing negative about the statement. The Dalai Lama has said many times that I am "a simple monk" without insecurity in making the
statement. It is actually a strong statement to make for those who see it.
Catholic Encyclopedia Humility
The word humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness an it is derived from the Latin humilitas or, as St. Thomas says, from humus, i.e. the earth which is beneath us. As applied to persons
and things it means that which is abject, ignoble, or of poor condition, as we ordinarily say, not worth much. Thus we say that a man is of humble birth or that a house is a humble dwelling. As restricted to persons, humility is understood also in the sense of afflictions or
miseries, which may be inflicted by external agents, as when a man humiliates another by causing him pain or suffering. It is in this sense that others may bring about humiliations and subject us to them. Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest
estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others. According to this meaning no man can humiliate another, but only himself, and this he can do properly only when aided by Divine grace. We are treating here of humility in this sense, that is, of the virtue of humility.
The virtue of humility may be defined: "A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake." St. Bernard defines it: "A virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself." These definitions coincide with that given by St. Thomas: "The virtue of humility", he says, "Consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out
to things above one, but submitting to one's superior" (Summa Contra Gent., bk. IV, ch. lv, tr. Rickaby).
To guard against an erroneous idea of humility, it is necessary to explain the manner in which we ought to esteem our own gifts in reference to the gifts of others, if called upon to make a
comparison. Humility does not require us to esteem the gifts and graces which God has granted us, in the supernatural order, less than similar gifts and graces which appear in others. No one should esteem less in himself than in others these gifts of God which are to be
valued above all things according to the words of St. Paul: "That we may know the things that are given us from God." (I Cor., ii, 12).
Neither does humility require us in our own estimation to think less of the natural gifts we possess than of similar, or of inferior, gifts in our neighbours; otherwise, as St. Thomas teaches, it would behove everyone to consider himself a greater sinner or a greater fool than his neighbour; for the Apostle without any prejudice to humility was able to say: "We by nature are Jews, and not of the Gentiles sinners" (Gal., ii, 15). A man, however, may
generally esteem some good in his neighbour which he does not himself possess, or acknowledge some defect or evil in himself which he does not perceive in his neighbour, so that, whenever anyone subjects himself out of humility to an equal or to an inferior he does so
because he takes that equal or inferior to be his superior in some respect. Thus we may interpret the humble expressions of the saints as true and sincere. Besides, their great love of God caused them to see the malice of their own faults and sins in a clearer light than that which is ordinarily given to persons who are not saints.
The four cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, and all other moral virtues are annexed to theses either as integral, potential, or subjective parts. Humility is
annexed to the virtue of temperance as a potential part, because temperance includes all those virtues that refrain or express the inordinate movements of our desires or appetites. Humility is a repressing or moderating virtue opposed to pride and vainglory or that spirit within us which urges us to great things above our strength and ability, and therefore it is included in temperance just as meekness which represses anger is a part of the same virtue. From what we have here stated it follows that humility is not the first or the greatest of the virtues. The theological virtues have the first place, then the intellectual virtues, as these immediately direct the reason of man to good. Justice is placed in the order of the virtues before humility, and so should obedience be, for it is part of justice. Humility is, however, said to be the foundation of the spiritual edifice, but in a sense inferior to that in which faith is called its foundation. Humility is the first virtue inasmuch as it removes the obstacles to faith -- per modum removens prohibens, as St. Thomas says. It removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace according to the words of St. James: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace to the humble" (James, iv, 6). Faith is the first and the positive fundamental virtue of all the infused virtues, because it is by it we can take the first step in the supernatural life and in our access to God: "For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him" Heb., xi, 6). Humility, inasmuch as it seems to keep the mind and heart submissive to reason and to God, has its own function in connection with faith and all the other virtues, and it may therefore be said to be a universal virtue.
It is therefore a virtue which is necessary for salvation, and as such is enjoined by Our Divine Saviour, especially when He said to His disciples: "Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to our souls" (Matt., xi, 29). He also teaches this virtue by the words, "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very
great in heaven" (Matt., v, 11-12). From the example of Christ and His Saints we may learn the practice of humility, which St. Thomas explains (Contra Gent., bk, III, 135): "The spontaneous embracing of humiliations is a practice of humility not in any and every case but
when it is done for a needful purpose: for humility being a virtue, does nothing indiscreetly. It is then not humility but folly to embrace any and every humiliation: but when virtue calls
for a thing to be done it belongs to humility not to shrink from doing it, for instance not to refuse some mean service where charity calls upon you to help your neighbours. . . .Sometimes too, even where our own duty does not require us to embrace humiliations, it is an act of virtue to take them up in order to encourage others by our example more easily to bear what is incumbent on them: for a general will sometimes do the office of a common soldier to encourage the rest.
Sometimes again we may make a virtuous use of humiliations as a medicine. Thus if anyone's mind is prone to undue self-exaltation, he may with advantage make a moderate use of humiliations, either self-imposed, or imposed by others, so as to check the elation of his spirit by putting himself on a level with the lowest class of the community in the doing of mean offices."
The Angelic Doctor likewise explains the humility of Christ in the following words: "Humility cannot befit God, who has no superior, but is above all. . . .Though the virtue of humility cannot attach to Christ in His divine nature; it may attach to Him in His human nature and His divinity renders His humility all the more praiseworthy, for the dignity of the person adds to the merit of humility; and there can be no greater dignity to a man than his being God. Hence the highest praise attaches to the humility of the Man God, who to wean men's hearts from worldly glory to the love of divine glory, chose to embrace a death of no ordinary sort, but a death of the deepest ignominy" (Summa Contra Gent., tr. Rickaby, bk. IV. ch. lv; cf. bk.
III, ch. cxxxvi). St. Benedict in his rule lays down twelve degrees of humility. St. Anselm, as quoted by St. Thomas, gives seven. These degrees are approved and explained by St. Thomas in his "Summa Theologica" (II-II:161:6). The vices opposed to humility are, pride: by reason of defect, and a too great obsequiousness or abjection of oneself, which would be an
excess of humility. This might easily be derogatory to a man's office or holy character; or it might serve only to pamper pride in others, by unworthy flattery, which would occasiontheir sins of tyranny, arbitrariness, and arrogance.
The virtue of humility may not be practised in any external way which would occasion such vices or acts in others.
humility /hju:"mlt/ noun humbleness; meekness.
·deference, humbleness, lowliness, meekness, modesty, self-abasement, self-effacement, servility, shyness, unpretentiousness.
\Hu*mil"i*ty\, n.; pl. Humilities. [OE. humilite, OF. humilit['e], humelit['e], F. humilit['e], fr. L. humiliatis. See Humble.]
1. The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness;
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind. --Acts xx. 19.
2. An act of submission or courtesy.
With these humilities they satisfied the young king. --Sir J. Davies.
Syn: Lowliness; humbleness; meekness; modesty; diffidence.
Usage: Humility, Modesty, Diffidence. Diffidence is a distrust of our powers, combined with a fear lest our failure should be censured, since a dread of failure unconnected with a dread of censure is not usually called diffidence. It may be carried too far, and is not always, like modesty and humility, a virtue. Modesty,
without supposing self-distrust, implies an unwillingness to put ourselves forward, and an absence of all over-confidence in our own powers.
Humility consists in rating our claims low, in being willing to waive our rights, and take a lower place than might be our due. It does not require of us to underrate ourselves.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
n 1: a disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride; "not everyone regards humility as a virtue" [syn: humbleness] [ant: pride] 2: a humble feeling; "he was filled with humility at the sight of the Pope" [syn: humbleness] [ant: pride]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University
a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Ps. 69:32, 33), and makes us
patient under trials (Job 1:22). Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam. 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honour (Prov. 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5). It
is a "great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."
Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
hum·ble ( P ) Pronunciation Key (hmbl) adj. hum·bler, hum·blest
Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful. Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology. Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.
tr.v. hum·bled, hum·bling, hum·bles
To curtail or destroy the pride of; humiliate. To cause to be meek or modest in spirit. To give a lower condition or station to; abase. See Synonyms at degrade.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin humilis, low, lowly, from humus, ground. See dhghem- in Indo-European Roots.]
1. humility [n.] |ETYM| Old Eng. <humilite>, Old Fren. <humilité>, <humelité>, French <humilité>, from Latin <humiliatis>. Related to <Humble>. , 1. A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride; "not everyone regards humility as a virtue"; <SYN.> humbleness. , 2. A humble feeling; "he was filled with
humility at the sight of the Pope"; <SYN.> humbleness.
(from Cambridge Dictionary of American English)
humility noun [U] the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride
(n.) An act of submission or courtesy.
(n.) The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness. OPTED is a public domain English word list
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003
From: Katinka Hesselink
Subject: Re:What is humility?
When I think of humility I don't think of somebody just taking everything somebody else says as gospel. I can see that with your definition, humbleness is not good. why would being humble be the same as not thinking for yourself? I'm reminded of the Voice of the Silence quote:
" False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The "Doctrine of the Eye" (9) is for the crowd, the "Doctrine of the Heart," for the elect. The first repeat in pride: "Behold, I know," the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard" "
I don't think it is necessary to diminish your own ability. But since compared to the All, our personalities are small and insignificant, in a way it is realistic to be humble.
> From: "brasher" <-*-*-dascher@*_*.com>
> Subject: What is humility?
> Katinka wrote previously about her preoccupation with
> herself impairing her ability to love. That's not true at all. A computer
> isn't preoccupied with itself either. But does it have the
> ability to love?
> No. It's a lifeless, loveless machine. Human beings
> tell it what to do and it does it. That's it.
Well, now you are telling me how it is for me! I know that
my preoccupation with myself prevents me from giving that
energy (or love) to others. You can believe that or not,
that is your issue, but don't deny my experience, please.
> A computer can't love anything because it never does anything for itself.
> In order to love anyone or anything you must have this preoccupation
> with yourself because YOU are the one who is doing the loving.
Am I? Are you sure? It certainly doesn't appear that way to me. It seems more like my personality is watching on the sidelines as something loves.
> YOU are the one with the impulse which directs you to love or not
> to love. YOU are the one who experiences the emotions that one feels
> when you love someone or something--in any sense of the word "love".
Well - there is something in me that experiences that - I agree so far, yes.
> Love requires desire and not the forfeit thereof--which is required by
> the doctrine of humility. This is true for both kinds of love Katinka
> was referring to earlier--"personal love" and "impersonal love". For
> example, I haven't met any of the people in Iraq, but on the night that
> the blitzkrieg in Iraq had begun, I experienced a significant emotional
> reaction (and it was not a feeling of elation).
What personal desire was there then? What good was in store for you personally? I am not denying that there is an emotional reaction when there is love. Perhaps I am saying that there are personal emotions and impersonal ones. Emotions directed at, or starting with my personal gain, my personality - and emotions that aren't related to that at all.
> Thought and emotion influence each other and are really two parts of the same
> process even though thought tends to create a sharp division between
I agree with that totally.
> I knew intellectually why the war was wrong and my emotions responded
> accordingly. So don't think that just because I am focused on my own desires that I don't care
> about other people. Sometimes I DESIRE good things for other people, but please note my emphasis of
> the words "I DESIRE". It may be the desire of the people in Iraq to not be the victim
> of a bombing raid, but that doesn't mean that my attitude toward them was
> dictated by what they wanted. I ultimately made the choice to desire the
> same thing they desired for themselves. No self-respecting person would
> allow anyone else but himself/herself to make that choice.
I am not denying your responsibility to make your own choices. Each one of us has that responsibility. I totally agree.
> The real reason people are asked to be humble and therefore give up their
> desires for others is often because they'd like to control you.
Often isn't the same as always.
I wonder whether -*-*- is still reading this...
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003
From: Katinka Hesselink
Subject: Re: Re: love / humility
I think the ability to laugh at oneself is a form of humility.