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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Pride & Principle

It is said that the war in the heavens began with the idea of Man. When God showed Lucifer, his most exalted angel, that He would destine man to be the lord of all creation, including angels, Lucifer was aghast and appalled. Aghast to realize that his exalted position will be decimated with man's creation and appalled by the thought that he would be serving a lowly creature for all time.

And so, he gathered a host of like-minded angels and stormed the gates of heaven, only to be put down by Michael and his hosts of archangels cherubs, seraphims, powers and principalities. To this day, Lucifer, now called Satan, refuses to bow down. And the words of pride he spoke against God reverberates till this very day: "Non Serviam" - I will not serve. And so, as they say, pride goes before the fall.

It is all too easy to identify pride especially when the cause for such pride is specious and shallow. For instance, someone who refuses to queue up because he is rich or someone who refuses to concede defeat because they think the voters are too dumb.

But sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish pride from principle. How do we know if one is fighting for his principles or just being too proud to admit he is wrong? Was Thomas More fighting for his principles when he refused to swear an oath to the Act of Supremacy passed by Henry VIII's rubber stamp parliament? Is it pride or principle dictating France not to admit that the US invasion of Iraq has created a good fledgling democracy in a predominantly Islamic state?

On a more personal level, we have encountered the tug between pride and principle. And it is infintely more difficult to distinguish the two. When one gets hurt, is it pride or principle that stops us from reconciliation? When one quarrels with one's parents, would one rather be right with oneself or would one rather be right with one's parents. Change parents to siblings or to friends and you still get the same dilemma. More often than not, to appear justified and righteous, we say we fight for our principles. Or are we?

Sometimes, the fine line between pride and principle can get blurred. We can not afford to be judgmental but there are matters that can guide us. One is that little thing in our minds that bothers us we call conscience. Regardless of how we feel, our conscience eventually tells us what is right and principled and what is wrong. It is the fear to carry out the dictates of our conscience that prevents us from doing the right thing.

Another good thing is the counsel of real friends. We will always have sycophants around but it would do us well to keep the company of real friends who will confront us with the ugly truth when our conscience has been overshadowed by our own emotions.

And another indicator of fighting for principles is if one is willing to go the distance and die for the cause. Thomas More died a king's good servant but God's first when he refused the entreaties of Henry VIII. It was not pride but principle that brought Ninoy home and unto his death. No man will knowingly die for false beliefs and certainly, no man will knowingly die for pride.

We can go on and certainly, the list is long. But however winding the path may be, we need to pray for the virtue of humility. If there is humility, we can listen to our conscience, the counsel of friends and hopefully, pride will be vanquished. As to our principles, living by them is indubitably the preferred moral thing to do. And dying by them will certainly earn us the admiration of our family, friends and neighbors, not to mention the eternal fealty of the Big Man and His angels in heaven when He welcomes us home as His good and faithful servant.






9 Comments:

Blogger TRIFECTA said...

I liked the story you told about the war in heaven. What book sir can i find that and read about them I am planning to make a superhero who is an archangel. I want to make unique names of angels and demons so just as a guide for me sir. But truly for me pride is one of the deadliest sins ever known. Pride has truly made this world a very evil place. making lots of people enemies. But for me, when humility arises among us and cooler heads prevail, there is always hope for a new beginning. I Like movies that teaches us about humility like Bruce Almighty. I loved that movie so much.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Starr Jordan, in his 'Philosophy of Despair' stated that "Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it." When faced with making a difficult decision, IMHO, we should all pray for the wisdom to choose wisely and the courage to carry out that choice. I found inspiration in this in the strangest and unlikeliest of places...the cartoon network, that is, while I was watching with my 3-year old son, one of the cartoon shows "Courage, the Cowardly Dog". Courage lives with a couple, but the wife Muriel I think her name is, is very kind to him, while her grumpy and mean husband is well... mean and grumpy to Courage. And yet, in all their adventures together, Courage never faltered in doing the right thing. He was always scared when he had to save Muriel and her grumpy spouse from the perils of their daily adventures.. but he always saved both of them. No exceptions. Yup, he even saved the grumpy husband.

So, no matter how scary it might be, The right decision is really more often than not, just an arm's reach away. All it takes is courage.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Kristhine said...

i think if we learn to let go of our pride, this world will be a better place to live in. i used to be with a proud person and it was a challenging experience whenever the pride gets in the way. nawawala ang pagiging cheerful ko sa kanya!

4:58 PM  
Blogger jhennie caldito said...

well i agree when you say that the two has sometimes a "thin" line that separates them. one cannot admit whether he is figthing for his principle or plain pride. i experienced the "tug" of these two terms so many times. i guess there's no way out for as long as people will care so much to their ego rather than to what they should believe is true and just.

6:34 PM  
Blogger joy said...

"Principle" is a confusing concept...we can use that word to our favor if we want to...and use it to somebody else's harm if the need arises...

"Pride"...this is the mother of all shattered relationships I guess...

11:40 PM  
Blogger kid_peklat said...

It's hard to reason out that why you did a thing was because of principle...pride seems to be more obvious to be distinguished

7:47 AM  
Blogger yoniman said...

Wow! That was a well written piece of blog.
The mercenary-read freelance in me has neither pride nor principle. I have worked for Noli's campaign and continue to work for Lucio Tan.

10:52 AM  
Blogger au said...

HI SIR,

ANGELOGY is a popular science in this post-modern
age... the irony of boom technology people still
wants to find meaning in life...

work seem not enough to give meaning to life
and family anchored on faith is the lasting
legacy of mankind after he leaps into heaven...

the next person to you is an ANGEL... maybe
so ordinary... so weak... and insocnsistent...
but can be your angel

thank,
au2

6:46 PM  
Blogger sarichairul said...

The thin line between pride and principle makes it had to distinguish. We sometimes claim things to be our principle to cover up our pride. One also thinks using his/ her heart instead of mind at times. But only our conscience can determine whether what we do is right or wrong. That is true…

10:51 AM  

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