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Lowell Brueckner

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The Syndrome of Hubris...


... the sickness of those who believe that they know everything.

The illustration for John Milton's Paradise
Lost  by Gustave Doré(1866).The spiritual
descent of Lucifer into Satan is one of
the most  famous examples of hubris...
This is a personality trait that we find sometimes among believers and always among cultists. The word "hubris" came to my attention a few years ago, through reading a critique of Rob Bell's book called LOVE WINS. Bell challenged teaching on eternal punishment as something "toxic", thereby defying all the carefully analyzed and accepted beliefs of church history. What kind of mentality can make such assertions? This short article gives us the answer to that question. 

I copy for you the Wikipedia definition of "hubris":
"Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over-confidence. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris."

"The adjectival form of the noun hubris is "hubristic". Hubris is usually perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may unintentionally suffer consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities. Contrary to common expectations, hubris is not necessarily associated with high self-esteem but with highly fluctuating or variable self-esteem, and a gap between inflated self perception and a more modest reality."

"Hubris is generally considered a sin in world religions. C. S. Lewis writes, in Mere Christianity, that pride is the "anti-God" state, the position in which the ego and the self are directly opposed to God: 'Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.'"

The title of a Spanish article states: ¨"The Syndrome of Hubris¨... the sickness of those who believe that they know everything." I translated the following... "It is narcisism that imagines that all that he believes is correct and other opinions are all wrong. He believes that all who oppose him are his enemies. Those who have these attitudes can be driven to make erroneous decisions, because the person totally loses the perspective of reality and only sees what he wants to see."


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