keskiviikkona, elokuuta 19, 2009

Humility and Envy

Today I'll write in English again, as my topic was inspired by an international crowd. I'll start off with a hypothesis: If there were no envy, there would not be a need for humility.

Clearly, at least, humility is tool against envy. A humble man does not raise envy among his peers. If you are humble and do not brag about your new car, obviously that diminishes your friends envy.

The really interesting question is, however, more subtle. Does humility have a purpose also if there were no envy? Is humility a virtue also in a world without envy?

I don't know. But let us imagine a world without envy. My friend comes to show off his new car. It is a cool car. Expensive. Practical. Beautiful. Still, I do not get the negative feeling of envy, since there exist no envy, but what would I feel then?

One possibility is that I would feel excited. My friend is excited. What a day! He has a new super car! I am empathetic to his excitement, I get enthusiastic. Wow! What a car! I almost feel like I would have got a new car. Excellent! A great day! We enjoy the new car together. What better than a day like this when you can enjoy it with a good friend. Can you feel the excitement, too?

So, what is it with humility? In this utopian world we clearly could enjoy life more if there were no humility. But how is it in our world, our real world? Would we here enjoy life more if we could, without envy and without humility, get excited about our peers success? I dare to claim that we would and we can enjoy life more if we can throw away envy and humility.

The final question is then, can we throw away envy and humility, and should we throw them away? I am of the positive type, I would say yes, although I am not sure if I can argue it solidly. Basically, I would argue that I have faith in people. If I show my faith in them, I have noticed that they live up to my faith. They simply become better if I believe them to be good.
Therefore my claim is that if I throw away extra humility, I can get my friends excited about those successes I might have.

Now, as a final note, I must take a little back and emphasise that I claim only that humility is not necessarily only a virtue. It should be used with moderation. Envy exists in our world and although I do believe that we should fight it by having faith in people (that they do not fall for it), we shouldn't over-do it. Perhaps awareness of the relationship between envy and humility is alone enough?