Pride and egoism
- A discussion over spring break about pride has provoked my mind with
Pride is a virtue, provided that the basis of mans philosophy is
life. This is evident by the facts of reality. Man needs to work
to live. He needs his mind to produce anything of value such as
food, shelter, computers, art. These things keep him alive.
Realizing that he is a thinking person whose goal is his own
happiness and survival, it is only right for him to feel confidence
and hold himself in high self-esteem.
This led to a discussion about Aristotle's "Golden Mean", which
seems to me to be taken by most people as "everything in
moderation." Since I was little, I have always thought this
statement wrong. Everything in moderation? What about honesty? What
about courage? It would be absurd to say those virtues should have
an equal part in their opposites. The same should follow with pride,
shouldn't it? If my pride is based on a rational egoism, on the
facts of reality, how can I have too much of it?
Arguements brought up against what I just said were sort of
like "Well, you wouldn't want too much courage, because you wouldn't
want to rush into battle and die right away", but these seem to be
merely possible irrational reactions to emotions these virtues may
be producing. Having too much courage doesn't make you do crazy
stuff, just like having too much pride wouldn't either (once again,
provided that the pride in question would be based on reality, and
not some dreamed up fantasy about how great you are...which leads me
to another question).
It would be faulty to base your pride on lies and things you have
never done, but isn't merely having potential as a thinking,
rational human enough for at least some small amount of pride,
certainly more than humility?
Take this for example. Two men, on a desert island. Let's assume
they are both suffering from amnesia. Man A says "Well, I can't
survive here. After all, I am product of my environment, my mind is
impotent, etc". Man B says "Using my mind, I will be able to build
shelter, hunt and gather food, and live my life to the best of my
ability." Now wouldn't it follow that man B should have some amount
of pride for his thoughts alone if nothing else?
Just some thoughts.
Oh, also, I have heard it said that Ayn Rand has sort of finished
what Aristotle started. What exactly does this mean? can specific
examples be given? I know that she invented the whole idea of
concept formation, so what did Aris think of this? Any examples
would be welcome.