Sunday, May 28, 2006

On the Recursive Nature of Pride

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  The others are greed and sloth and a few others I can't remember.  Pride is the one I remember best, because of its curious mathematical properties.  Things with unexpected properties are easier to remember than ordinary things like greed and sloth and so forth.

The thing about pride is this: once a person becomes aware of it, he or she tends to recognize that it is a sin.  That person then takes steps to banish the pride.  Then the person is proud for having banished the sin, thus becoming a paragon of virtue.  Rather naturally, the person then realizes that excessive pride in one's own virtue is itself a sin.  Then the whole thing starts over again.

Some people do manage to get little bit wiser with each iteration.  Others do not.

I have never been able to figure out what makes the difference.  Nor have I been able to find an objective way to determine if I am one of the ones who is getting wiser.