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Humility In America

It's said 100 million Americans watched the Superbowl, which like a religious event is held on Sunday. I wonder if 100 million Americans have ever gone to church on a Sunday. Now I love a good football game: it is a brutal and beautiful sport, replete with a gladiator's violence and a ballerina's grace. But I don't understand why we make so much out of a game! Look at parents who get into fistfights at their kid's Little League games. In Europe there is often mayhem or even a riot following a soccer, sorry, football game. But we Americans seem obsessed with winning like no other nation: we really, really hate to loose. So whether it's a game, a job hunt, finding a mate or waging war, we tend to go ALL OUT. And when we win, and we often do, we take great pride in that. And there's the problem:pride, be it in a person or a nation.
Humility may still be called a virtue but only in those churches largely empty because folks are home awaiting, not the Second Coming, but the Super Bowl.Who wakes up and says, I need to be humble today? I don't, though I know many of my conflicts arise out of my pride (not of wealth or prowess but intellect). Regardless of which side you're on, if you're really aware, it seems obvious that most of our politicians are vain, shallow, arrogant, hypocritical, self-serving: all the worst attributes of pride. And when was the last time you heard a doctor say, I don't know, this is beyond medical knowledge? Or an academic pontificate about society's ills when he's never stepped foot outside of his ivory tower into the messy, complicated, often tragic real world?

It has taken me 70 years to realize that pride, the ego, is a trap and that humility is a virtue because it is FREEING. Humility means honesty, recognizing that you need help, maybe from another person, maybe from another Being, one not impressed by our pride, by our 'wins', by our victories over other prideful beings. I have learned (the hard way as is my wont) that only when I give up my pride, any semblance of vanity and see my ego for the destructive trickster it is, only when my back is against the wall and I stand naked before God can I feel the wondrous freedom of humility for then I have put my soul into the hands of THE Other.

We 'modern' humans and especially Americans take such pride in our technology but fail to see how vulnerable we, the whole world is, for if death circles each life, so too does it the world:only foolish pride makes us take life for granted.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 5/4/2019 8:49:00 AM
I honor your feelings and agree with your views about pride. To be proud owning good qualities is always admirable but your pride should neither hurt nor humiliate other. Humility is the key word of Humanity. I am Bengalee. Both my daughters are educated in America and well settled there, I visit them almost each year and have developed a soft corner about Americans. In Bengali, a proverb says' True Education is blessed by Humility.'
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L. J. Carber
Date: 5/6/2019 8:38:00 AM
Thank you, Anisha. Like most human technology, the Internet can be used for good or evil. One of the best things about it is how it spans cultures and connects people on the other side of the world. I lived in the Far East for 2 years as a young man, including Cambodia in the mid-70's. We in the West have developed a rather subtle form of arrogance and, at least among many educated people, a godless, soulless outlook that I fear does not bode well for us or the world. But God/Allah/Brahman works in the world in every culture and all faiths, so who can say if we will survive ourselves?
Date: 3/11/2019 5:18:00 PM
LJ, there is so much truth in your words, Pride, can be wonderful but evil too, if it takes over, I must admit I have been caught in the web of "must win" and I am humbled to say, thank you for this poem, in my favs it goes ~~
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L. J. Carber
Date: 3/12/2019 3:58:00 PM
Oh, most of us have been caught in that web, DH-- as a young man I wanted to write (and be remembered) like Shakespeare or Tolstoy. It took me a lifetime to understand that it is the creation itself that matters.
Date: 3/10/2019 3:57:00 PM
LJ, very insightful observations. When collective humility in America is experienced, it will be far far to late. The scriptures teach that God's power is perfected only in our weakness. That though, is not the American way. Best regards . . .
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L. J. Carber
Date: 3/11/2019 10:14:00 AM
Yours words are, sadly, so true--I fear for where America, and the world is heading--but as I learned the hard way a long, long time ago, everything is in God's hands.
Date: 3/9/2019 11:46:00 AM
This my dear friend is gloriously deep, wise and well crafted prose! Truth and light will birth greater humility when one understands that we are but mere specks in this vast universe and in the never ending flow of Time! A fav and a deep glowing gem this tis..
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L. J. Carber
Date: 3/10/2019 1:47:00 PM
Thank you, my friend, thank you!
Date: 2/10/2019 7:47:00 PM
I enjoyed this very thoughtful reflection on humility vs. pride. I am probably somewhere between the two, hopefully more toward the humble side. I deplore football and the way it is made so much of!! But that is just a small part of what is wrong with society today. I just miss simple pleasure of talking around dinner table like i did as a child with my family!
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L. J. Carber
Date: 2/11/2019 9:29:00 AM
Yes, Andrea, I don't think each generation knows how much it misses that the previous generation had. I saw that with my grandparents-- from that insight came my poem,'In my grandmother's day'. The great irony is that all our instant communication seems to be making people lonelier, more isolated. My millennial nephews tell me their whole generation is depressed!