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Stefan's Florilegium


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Pride-art - 1/31/01

An article on Pride by an unknown author. Specific application to the SCA.

NOTE: See also the files: A-Peer-Within-art, Fndng-T-Dream-art, The-Blow-art,
Chivalry-art, fealty-art, Baronial-Lead-art.


This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org

NOTE: The original author was not credited in this email I received. If
anyone can give me the name of the author so that I may credit him or her,
please contact me.

Subject: Fw: long but worth the read
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 19:15:29 -0500

I forwarded this to the Trimaris List for the reason that it is one of
the finest difinitions of how we must act within the SCA and the
differences between the emotions we feel considering our acts,
acheivements or goals.
- YIS, ELric

There is nothing wrong with Pride but it must be tempered.

Pride, is a vice of inequality. A prideful person will want no equal or peer
and wishes to stand above or alone. So preached Lull in his 13th c. Book of
Chivalry. But pride is also what drives us to better ourselves.

If we take pride in our fighting (or other endeavors) we attain a higher level
of prowess or achievment. It can lead us to seek a higher level of integrity
and responsibility. Our actions are better on the field, we care how we treat
ourselves and others as well as how we are perceived by ourselves and others.
It is what makes us do a job well done.

Where we must show temperance is when Pride becomes its more evil and darker
manifestation of Vainglory. It can and has been said that Vainglory is the most
dangerous of sins combating virtue. Possibly because its danger lies in the
fact that it is a part of human nature and therefore is always present. It is
this foggy and murky border that causes most of the problems we encounter
within the SCA (and probably society in general.) The darker side of Pride,
that most damaging to honor, Vainglory, is inflicted on even the most puissant
of individuals, the detriment being that paramours that we hold in high esteem
can easily succumb to its effects. Its seduction being the desire to be right
and they can no doubt rationalize the reason for their actions with very solid
explanations and valid arguments only to have integrity lost. A few truths
acting as supports to hold up a decaying building of lies and denial and
rationalization. Whenever the building caves in the only thing left standing
will be those supports, yet we will still weep at the loss of the building as a

On a darker note it is that inequality that makes individuals desire something
or an accolade so much that they will sell out honor for it and then become
bitter and disillusioned when and if they do not receive it.

Watch someone who thinks they are on the "short list" for peerage. It is in the
search for this self perceived glory or renown that people will go through the
motions and tick off a checklist but do they really believe in what they are
doing? Is there integrity in their actions? Or are they going through the
motions in the hope that they will be recognized for their efforts looking only
for the recognition and perceived glory not the outcome.

Honor is lost through the absence of integrity. A simple question to ask, but
one that speaks volumes in my frame of reference is "Why do you want to be a
Knight?" The only real difficulty in the question being that will they answer
honestly or what they think you want to hear? So you can see how that simple
pride can easily lead to more dangerous and darker regions, bolstering anger,
envy and worse vainglory.

We have tools at our disposal to combat these opposites of virtue. Weapons in
our arsenal that if used in time and properly we can avoid the pitfall and only
achieve virtuous renown. Those weapons being the virtues of strength and
courage, integrity, faith, and most importantly humility. The importance of
humility in that true humility or sincere humility keeps vainglory contained.
If it is false it only leads to self denial and delves deeper into the abyss.
By maintaining humility we do not allow praise, false or true, to dictate our
actions and thus succumb to vanity's allure.

By maintaining an awareness of our actions, our limitations and our faults we
stay firmly planted in reality. We borrow from integrity to keep this
foundation firm. Our strength and courage in that we know what is right and
wrong and even if it works against our desires our strength and our faith in
virtue will see us through. There may not be big rewards, but that is what
humility is about. The reward comes in knowing that honor is maintained and
served. A good example might be, we fought our best fight and even though we
lost, we are strengthened in knowing that we fought our best, honestly and that
we gracefully accepted defeat.

This is demonstrated much more visibly in the recent pas d'armes movement in
Trimaris. The emphasis is not put on the outcome, but in the action. Thus pride
is put second and we keep vainglory in check. When an action sours and is
counterproductive, it must be corrected. This is the physical attribute of
humility. A righting of the wrong, so to speak. Some sort of correction through
action or words must be made and the value of this action is in the sincerity
of it. To be able to admit you were wrong or that you beg forgiveness for some
wrong done, that you are truly and sincerely sorry goes a long way to correct
things and perpetuate chivalry. Those that go a step further and demonstrate
some act of contrition that furthers the cause of honor is the mark of true
honor and sincerity. Because it is for the sake of furthering honor and to
perpetuate honorable behavior.

Earl Brion Thornbird adds the attribute, nobility of grace to humility. In his
words, "humility is a virtue that confers a gentleness that does not denude
from strength, courage or any honorable virtue."

If we were truly happy with our actions and confident in our abilities we would
be less seduced by pride and vainglory. We love to beat on the drum of self
awareness and independence, taking great pride in our ability to be individuals
and how different we are. We throw to the wind our worries about what others
may think of us when it comes to relationships, physical appearance, dress,
foibles and likes and taste. It mystifies me why then we become so worried by
what others think of us based upon a belt or chain or medallion. Is it not
satisfaction enough that you feel that you are doing a good job, or that you
fight well or are an artisan with a desirable craft or talent? It is easy to
become so enamored with pride that we overlook that which must be returned for
this renown. It opens the door to vainglory and thus the loss of virtue. By
being so over prideful or vainglorius we cheapen the value of virtue. The
desire outweighs the reward and thus is meaningless. It is through virtues like
humility that we combat the wrong in our actions and keeps us striving for that
something better. Self improvement is never a bad thing, especially when many
usually benefit from its journey.


<the end>

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Comments to author: stefan@florilegium.org
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