Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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PRIDE AND VANITY


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Thu, 25 Aug 2011 #1
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

The relationship between envy and jealosy is often brought up. K has dealt with it. But the relationship between pride and vanity is little covered.

I wonder how people see pride and how they see vanity? Which is more dangerous, more intractible, more serious as an obstacle to self-knowledge?

I leave it as an open question but I will ask one more. Which has the thickest hide, pride or vanity?

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Thu, 25 Aug 2011 #2
Thumb_avatar Angela Moody United States 12 posts in this forum Offline

Pride: a feeling of self-respect or self-worth, satisfaction with one's (or another's) accomplishments.

Vanity: Feelings of excessive pride; the trait of being vain or conceited; false pride.

Are these working definitions for this question? And may we also ask about "arrogance": overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner towards inferiors?

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Thu, 25 Aug 2011 #3
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Angela, to arrogate is literally to assume powers one does not actually have. To put it another way, it is to be above oneself, in the social or pecking order. We talk about 'arrogant young men' precisely because it is thought acceptable that authority comes with age. So I do not think that arrogance is quite the same as pride, although they may be concurrent.

But pride and arrogance have this in common, that they both assume a certain height, both the proud and the arrogant posture and stand above their peers, at least in their own estimation. Therefore they do not see the need to gain others' approval. Their posture is self-supported and does not rely upon affirmation.

This is not so with the vain, who always seek affirmation in the eyes of others. They are most sensitive to how others see them and are eager to be affirmed. They are more easily hurt, therefore. They are good actors and always putting on a show and so can be entertaining. The vain are vulnerable whilst the proud are invulnerable.

And this is not to make a typecast or to judge others but to see where each one of us, ourselves, is either vain or proud. Because vanity and pride are both huge obstacles to each one of us. Both attitudes serve self. They are the main supports of the ego. We should find out more about them.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Thu, 25 Aug 2011 #4
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Oh yes, by the way, I accept that the word 'pride' can be used in a positive sense, such as pride in one's appearance or one's work, respect etc. But this too breaks down into the ego-led and the right-action led. One has to get behind the word and see concretely what motivation lurks there.

Perhaps the issue of 'identification' arises. Is such pride a spontaneous caring for what one does or has one identified and therefore the thing one is proud of is also a representation of one's own self-image, as in, "I am a self-made man and proud of it."

A psychologist once said to me, "I am a psychologist and if you attack psychology you are attacking me."

Does pride involve denial?

Whereas vanity is ever unsure of itself.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

This post was last updated by Paul Davidson (account deleted) Thu, 25 Aug 2011.

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Fri, 26 Aug 2011 #5
Thumb_avatar Angela Moody United States 12 posts in this forum Offline

Paul, I think that pride, arrogance, and vanity may all be the result of ego seeking power. Individuals with power carve a niche for themselves within society. If we comply with societal expectations, we can have the satisfaction of our acheivements, distinguished as pride. If we need to clear a swath around us, to set ourselves apart more greatly, we can do it with arrogance. And vanity will help us rise to those lofty (often delusional) heights. The power-craving ego has countless mechanisms to sustain itself. However, I agree that vanity may produce the most vulnerable and unbalanced individual, one likely to take the hardest fall if criticised.

So in our lives to what degree are we vain, arrogant, or proud? And what brings about humility?

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Fri, 26 Aug 2011 #6
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Yes, Angela, they are all part of ego. And much more is part of ego. That is one thing. That is the explanation of the general process which gice rise to pride and to vanity. It is quite easy to attribute cause and more defficult to go right into the question of vanity, as it arises continuallly in us.

I would like to probe deeper. And for me, it is not a question of merely saying what a vain person or a proud person is like. We all have these two qualities, they swell up and die down, sometimes separately, sometimes in combination. And I want to look more deeply into what each one is, beyond some casual or causal definitions.

I don't want to bring in arrogance for I feel it is derivative, secondary.

Let us start with one thing, maybe vanity.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Fri, 26 Aug 2011 #7
Thumb_flower_4 Ana Flavia Lucas Brazil 28 posts in this forum Offline

Paul Davidson wrote:
Let us start with one thing, maybe vanity.>

Dear Paul. As a Portuguese speaker, I need to look at the definition and found:


  1. The quality or condition of being vain.

  2. Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceit. See Synonyms at conceit.

  3. Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness.


  4. a. Something that is vain, futile, or worthless.
    b. Something about which one is vain or conceited.


Is it vanity an excess of pride? Is it just a quantitative issue?

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Fri, 26 Aug 2011 #8
Thumb_avatar Angela Moody United States 12 posts in this forum Offline

Here's a precious quote from K (4th Public Talk, Bombay December1969):
"Most of us are vain people. We are very proud. Our vanity stops us from learning to observe vanity in oneself and therefore understand what it is to have humility and it's only a mind that has great sense of humility that can learn. And when one observes this vanity one can learn a great deal by mere observation because what we are going to discuss or talk over together this evening demands a certain quality of mind that is capable of attending, that is capable of close intimate observation. When one becomes aware, or watches one's own vanity, how does one observe that feeling? Do you observe it, watch it, not only the feeling but also the reaction to that feeling?..."

"...So, by observing the vanity, you have discovered your reactions to it, and your reactions further reveal that you have an image about yourself and that image is a form of self-protection which is based on fear..."

"...There are various kinds of energies, but it's always energy. There is no good energy and bad energy, it's only energy. Vanity is energy, humility is energy, anger, jealousy, every form and there are many, many forms of energy, but it's always energy..."

"...You are actually watching this movement, how you separate, how this energy has separated itself as the 'me', the observer and the thing observed as vanity, as fear..."

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Fri, 26 Aug 2011 #9
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Vanity and pride are continually confused, one with the other. The two words have become interchangeable in common language, as have 'jealosy' and 'envy.'

The dictionary definition provided by Anna demonstates that fact. I don't think we will get far with dictionaries on this one, or with K, who may not have come across a good reason to make the difference.

Vanity and pride may run together but they are not the same, nor is one an excess of the other. You have to go deeper to find the meaning.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Sat, 27 Aug 2011 #10
Thumb_flower_4 Ana Flavia Lucas Brazil 28 posts in this forum Offline

Dear Paul,

I was talking with a friend and he started to be very excited telling me the success he has been doing in his work. I realise he was trying to impress himself and myself about his achievements and was delighted with his image. I rejected it immediately as ego play, and then found out in myself the very same vanity - his vanity was mine... And then I saw vanity.

It is targeted to impress others, so it is linked with allowing others to judge you and to be lead by others' opinions.

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Sat, 27 Aug 2011 #11
Thumb_avatar Angela Moody United States 12 posts in this forum Offline

Notes from the Vanity Inquiry:
I took the question seriously and began an internal scan for vanity. At first I couldn't see anything, just a little pride here and there. Then, while watching a documentary later in the evening, vanity made an appearance. I had to do a double-take. Was this really vanity? Indeed, there it was lurking. A report had placed me in the upper 95th percentile of all of humanity. I was intoxicated by vanity, separate from the "quagmire" of the rest of the world, blessed. Then gradually, one by one the vanities began piling on. They intertwined appearing as a triangular beam to support the torsion of my ego. How did I feel? I was elated, my vanities were measurable by percentiles, documented, and indisptuable. I was somebody! Then I asked what does humility feel like? I thought about it, toured my feelings. What would it feel like to be nothing in the sea of humanity, nothing in the waves of eons, not even a separable drop in the vast ocean? A glimmer of freedom shown through, non-attachment, emptiness. How did it feel? Unlike anything experienced before.

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Sat, 27 Aug 2011 #12
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Ana Flavia Lucas wrote:
It is targeted to impress others, so it is linked with allowing others to judge you and to be lead by others' opinions.

Yes Ana. This is how it seems to me. It is interesting to see the specific movement of this. Vanity seems to direct us . . . me. It directs us through the gaze of others. We seek their approval. It shows a weakness in ego that it needs to be continually affirmed. And it is so often and so easily disappointed.

I guess it is better the ego is weak. It allows some chance. It is the proud and strong ego that does not care what others think for it is sufficient unto itself, that is the more dangerous beast. And this self-pride can easily become an unbearable arrogance. That must be surely a much harder disposition to break down.

From the point of view of movement towards deconditioning, vanity seems a less fixed obstacle than pride. Vanity can be disappointed and this can lead to questioning. Pride is a brittle force and if it breaks it is crushed, totally. A proud person can be destroyed by their pride whereas a vain person is used to taking many knocks.

But we are all both vain and proud. These are sub-personalities, strategies for coping. It seems to me they often work in unison and can be their most dangerous when combined. The very proud person who is also vain can be a monster. Maybe many politicians are of this type. A very uneasy and volatile mix.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Sat, 27 Aug 2011 #13
Thumb_stringio Paul Davidson United Kingdom 3659 posts in this forum ACCOUNT DELETED

Angela Moody wrote:
I took the question seriously and began an internal scan for vanity.

Yes, Angela, you were pleased at the social recognition of your 'type.' That is vanity. But then you became proud of your type. You see how they work together? The result of vanity can move into pride. They are both postures and can interchange in importance.

Perhaps you started to look for other evidence of your superiority and seek evidence of it through social approval. Is that what was happening?

But still, a pride that depends upon the outcomes of vanity is very fickle. It hhas to prove itself again and again. This is on way to becoming neurosis with the repetitive action of attention seeking moves, especially from those higher that you in the pecking order. One is vain before one's boss but proud in front of one's underlings. The boss loves you so the proles better watch their step!

The compulsive gathering of 'qualifications' is a symptom of that behaviour. Qualifications show that power has recognised you as worthy (vanity) and they allow you to lord it over others (arrogant pride). Knowledge can serve the same purpose, especially academic conquest.

"The ego is first and foremost a body ego." S. Freud

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Sat, 10 Sep 2011 #14
Thumb_rao kamarajugadda Mallik ArjunaRao India 903 posts in this forum Offline

Paul Davidson wrote:
I wonder how people see pride and how they see vanity? Which is more dangerous, more intractible, more serious as an obstacle to self-knowledge?

Let alone self-knowldge,will pride and vanity allow the individual a free moment of interaction with people?

nothing

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