By Geraldo Goulart
Several philosophical-spiritual currents affirm that pride is the greatest curse that plagues humankind. It is difficult to understand this statement without reflecting on the effects of pride concerning ourselves.
Very few people admit that they are proud and when they do it, it’s like a justification for what they believe is a virtue rather than a defect. A friend of mine once confessed to me, “I never guessed that I am proud, but when I analyzed my behavior, I immediately realized reactions that even I classified as irrational, I identified myself to be a proud creature that moved in the muddy ground of vanity”.
What is observed is that with some knowledge already acquired on the subject, anyone can identify and modify, if they want to, his or her behavior, distancing themselves as much as possible from that feeling. It is true that one will not achieve immediate success in this endeavor, for we must admit it is very difficult to remove pride.
While we do not realize presence of pride in us, and if we do then we are not willing to fight to smother this from our life, because the satisfaction provided by pride. We feel pleasure in the apparent “victory” that we think we have reached by our own effort. This feeling feeds our ego, as if releasing heady massive doses of corporeal chemistry. In these moments we feel satisfied, happy, fulfilled!
This reaction induces us to be even more and more proud; we boast of our achievements and ability, because the recognition from others make us feel again that emotion and pleasure of a realization that no one else could reach.
On the other hand, when we begin to realize the futility of such recognition just for our pleasure, and when we identify ourselves to be far from deserving the merit we believe we deserve, then the realization begins to affect our self-esteem.
Our conscience, renewed, and bothered by the new knowledge acquired, lights a warning headlight
against the old feeling of pride. This awareness promotes an inner struggle because, on the one hand, the ego, remembering the already experienced pleasurable emotions, refuses to not promote another exhibitionist session. Although we realize our achievements should remain anonymous. We need to demonstrate the strength of the Spirit who seeks the path of renewal and growth and that understands the need for help to mastering the threat from the pride.
If we do not allow the still weak voice of our conscience to prevail our pride will strengthen influence of our ego. This would take us off our path to ascend in the spiritual world.
Note that the generation of our “new selves” only by acquiring new spiritual knowledge, is not easy, not even a little. We must eliminate, at every opportunity, physical satisfaction generated by the exaggerated pride, improving the moral tone that will serve as the antidote to nullify the deleterious effects from that consequence in the Spirit.
However, there is an easier and more objective way for the start of the “good fight” against pride: just admit that the origin of any positive momentum that we can show and offer does not belong to us, but – yes! – to the friends from higher. Thus, with so simple way, we learn to set aside our personality that, in fact, is not the author of most of the good deeds that we allow ourselves to undertake.
The Book of Spirits, by Allan Kardec teaches us that pride is a powerful enemy of the spiritual evolution of man because it does not allow him to glimpse the truth but only what is in their own interest.
Below are some of the passages in The Book of Spirits which caution us about excessive pride:
Question 823 in THE BOOK OF SPIRITS:
Whence comes the desire of perpetuating one’s memory by means of funeral monuments?
“It is the last act of pride.”
– But is not the sumptuousness of funeral monuments more frequently due to the action of
relatives desirous to honour the memory of the defunct, than to the defunct himself?
“In such cases it is an act of pride on the part of relatives who desire to glorify themselves; for
assuredly it is not always for the one who is dead that all these demonstrations are made, but
rather to gratify their own vanity by making an impression on others, and to parade their
wealth. Do you imagine that the remembrance of their loved ones is less durable in the hearts
of the poor, because the latter have no flowers to lay upon their graves ? Do you imagine that
marble can save from oblivion the name of him who has led a useless life upon the earth?”
Teaching about natural liberty, in question 828 the instructor says:
How can we reconcile the liberal opinions professed by some persons with the despotism they themselves sometimes exercise in their own houses, and among their subordinates?
“Their intelligence is aware of the law of nature, but this perception is counterbalanced by
their pride and selfishness. When their profession of liberal principles is not hypocrisy, they
know what ought to be done, but do it not.”
There are persons who, being utterly without resources, though surrounded by abundance, have no other prospect than starvation. What course should they take under such circumstances? Ought they to allow themselves to die of hunger?
“No one should ever admit into his mind the idea of allowing himself to die of hunger; a man
could always find the means of obtaining food if pride did not interpose itself between want
and work. It has often been said that ‘No work is dishonorable it honestly done;’ but this is
one of the aphorisms that each man is more prompt to apply to his neighbor than to
Here, below, about unhappy marriages, question 940:
Is not the lack of sympathy between persons destined to live together also a source of sorrow, and one that is all the more bitter because it poisons an entire existence?
“Very bitter it is, undoubtedly; but it is usually a misfortune of your own causing. In the first
place, your laws are in fault; for how can you suppose that those who dislike one another can
be intended by God to live together ? In the next place, you yourselves are to blame, for you
often seek, in those unions, the satisfaction of your pride and ambition rather than the
happiness of a mutual affection; and, in such cases, you undergo the natural consequences of
The natural consequence is (complementary answer):
– But, in such cases, is there not generally an innocent victim?
“Yes, one for whom it is a heavy expiation; but the responsibility of such unhappiness will,
nevertheless, be brought home to those who caused it. If the light of truth have reached the
soul of the victim, faith in the future will give consolation under present suffering. But the
causes of these private misfortunes will disappear in proportion as your prejudices are dissipated.”
About weariness of life, suicide as shown in question 947:
Can we consider as having committed suicide the man who, becoming disheartened in his struggle with adversity, allows himself to die of despair?
“Such self-abandonment is suicide; but those who had caused the crime, or might have
prevented it, would be more to blame for it than the one by whom it had been committed, and
the latter would therefore be judged leniently. But, nevertheless, you must
not suppose that he would be entirely absolved if he had been wanting in firmness and
perseverance, or had failed to make the best use of his intelligence to help himself out of his
difficulties. And it would go still harder with him if he had been one of those whose
intelligence is paralysed by pride, who would blush to earn their living by manual labour, and
would rather die of starvation than derogate from what they call their “social position. (…)”
Further instructions and explanations about the attitudes derived from pride and that compromise the spiritual evolution of creatures can be found in THE BOOK OF SPIRITS and also in The Gospel According to Spiritism. These two books were compiled by Allan Kardec, the Encoder of Spiritist Doctrine, and deserve to be read. Its contents certainly enlightens the reader’s understanding and facilitates decision-making in many common situations in day-to-day lives.
Get them and have a good reading!