PRIDE (by C.S. Lewis)

According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘how much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, of show off? The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wantend to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while other vices are competititve only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it then the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would nothing to be proud about. It is comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not.

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