Saturday, December 5, 2009
“The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.” - Marsellus Wallace
The first thought that comes to mind when thinking about pride is enjoying something that I have created (writing a blog for example). After I have finished, I am pleased with my output - I often read it over with a smile on my face taking "pride" in the fact that I was simply able to collate a bunch of ideas that were in my head. If I were a painter, I would surely feel pride after finishing a work of art. This type of pride is felt by all people, and the resulting emotion is happiness; so far so good.
There is however another phenomenon I associate with pride, and that is Nationalism. This is not to be confused with Patriotism, and up until the point of writing this article I thought of these as one in the same. But from my new-found wiki-knowledge, nationalism is basically being a part of a cultural or ethnic identity within a state - whereas patriotism is the love of one’s country/homeland. There is much more to these ideas, and to save repetition I won't summarise the Wikipedia articles - this blog isn't an Encyclopedia.
On a strictly high-level view of nationalism, having pride in a collective cultural identity is very important. However, when taken to another level, nationalism is the devil. Take this quote from George H.W. Bush, "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." How is uber-nationalism of this sort beneficial to anyone? And this sort of nonsense isn't restricted to right-wing American nuts, it spans across the globe into the minds of many power-hungry world leaders. See: (Kim Jong-il, Robert Mugabe, and Adolf Hitler). In these cases, pride of nation (or pride of ethnic background), has seen the deaths of many people - pride gone too far.
Then there's patriotism. Like nationalism - prima facie it is a good thing. To be truly patriotic, you must want the best for the country that you live in - ethics, law, and devotion to the common good. However, when you become so patriotic that you view your own country (and possibly your race) as superior to another, that's when patriotism sucks. For me, I don't really care about being Australian. Don't get me wrong, I love this country, and growing up and living here is probably the reason that I love it, but that doesn't mean that I think being Australian is any better than being Chinese. If I were Chinese, I would love China etc. etc..
Pride also gets tossed around when talking about sexual preference (no pun intended). Gay rights have come a long way since the 1960s, and "Pride" is a big reason why. I know a few people that would automatically think of gay pride when the word pride is mentioned. This is a good thing.
There is one facet of life where I find myself taking immense pride, and that is sport. No other thing I can think of gets my blood running and emotions flying more than an intense game of sport; the physical contest, the extreme athletic ability on display, the pressure! OK, I won't go on about sport, but what I was getting at was how taking pride in a sporting team that you support, a team you play on, or an individual performance such as a triathlon is pretty special. And when you think about it, pride in sport usually stems from nationalism/patriotism anyway - I know that I can't stand England winning, well, anything.
Coming back to the quote from Marsellus Wallace. When he says that pride only hurts, it never helps - that made me stop and think for a moment. What would the world be like without pride?