Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pride, the Virtuous Vice?

Besides touring about in Arizona, Monsieur and I have visited an entertainment centre called Bookman's. While primarily a gigantic used bookstore, Bookman's is more like a curated collection of books, music, memorabilia and music equipment. Monsieur has been lusting after a vintage Sunn bass amp but he has so far restrained himself. When he was young, M. Là-bas used to drive to Seattle to hear the Kingsmen for whom the amp was developed. Performing music was an important part of my husband's family and social life and it seems that for him, music is a way of making a connection.

While visiting Bookman's, we have discovered The Seven Deadly Sins series, a group of books published by New York Public Library. Monsieur and I were joking about with which one we each most identified. My operating system definitely is based on pride. The little brown book, by Michael Eric Dyson, may be a purchase as I skimmed the first few pages and Dyson reflected that pride might be a "virtuous vice".

So as I am wont to do, I have been thinking about the role that pride plays in my life. I have always been a very earnest person so I believe that it is my responsibility to make my best effort. I'm not sure that effort is so much pride as utilizing those "god-given??" gifts to the utmost. Unlike my husband, I have absolutely no sense of rhythm or pitch. I sing in the car, in the shower and quietly at church. I could take singing lessons and improve but musical talent is not one of my gifts.

On the other hand, I was born talking (slight exaggeration) and loving words. I used to write my Christmas lists in poetry and once wrote a poem to my parents requesting a set of encyclopaedia. I read and ponder and wonder about everything. Street names, native peoples...the list goes on forever. I never got my set of encyclopaedia but now I have the Internet. In areas of study, I have always worked to the best of my ability and have encouraged my students to do the same.

This being said, the best of our ability is different in different situations. When I was an undergraduate with a preschooler, I did not have the same time to devote to my studies as when I was a 60 year-old alone in Paris. Through no efforts of my own, I was not born with fetal alcohol syndrome or dyslexia. If I were to develop Alzheimer's or macular degeneration tomorrow, my life would change, again through no fault of my own.

Pride in our accomplishments or our belongings is likely more foolish than sinful. These things are given to us through circumstances and can be taken away just as arbitrarily. Pride in appearance is an even more foolish behaviour. It changes throughout our lives and again is based on "the luck of the draw".

In Christian doctrine , all of our "talents" are a reflection of God. They are handed out to be used to the good of all.

I am probably going to read the book which deals with pride just because I am who I am and I do enjoy thinking about these things.

1 comment:

  1. Your desert home sounds fabulous -- not just the openness and the welcome heat, but oh, to be that close to a bookstore that also meets M.'s interest in music. I haven't heard of the series you're referring to, but I admire your commitment to learning as much as you can -- and I'm a bit envious of the time you have to fulfil the commitment. Enjoy!

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