Monday, October 25, 2010

Words I Enjoy: Part Two

If you didn't catch part one, you can find the introduction to my world of word nerdery here.  Part two is going to be a single word.  

Hubris - hyoo-bris - excessive pride or self confidence; arrogance.  

This word is often associated with statements such as "pride goes before the fall," or with infamous characters in literature such as Faust or Frankenstein.  Its origins go back to ancient Greece where it was actually a crime, albeit for actions much different than the modern usage.  Hubristic behavior now might not involve conscious malevolence, but it is usually damaging to somebody.  

Hubris is essentially a lack of humility.  The word can be a forceful accusation if directed against somebody else.  It is also a serious reminder if directed at oneself.  We exist in a society that values an impossible balance of self confidence and humility, and stepping back to check the scales every now and then can be a good exercise.  

You're good, but not that good.  You'll get most of what you want, but never everything.  You're often right, but not always, never always.

Cheers to the people and circumstances that keep me in check, intentional or not.

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