I frequently hear the lament that, in the age of cell phones and social media, conversation is becoming a lost art. It’s common to see a group of people sitting together, eyes glued to their phones and thumbs twitching, as they interact on-line, rather than face-to-face. In the process, our society is losing a sense of intimacy and personal empathy.
An even greater loss, and one I think is responsible for much of the current coarseness and hostility in our society, is the absence of genuine humility.
After decades of the “have it your way” and “I’m worth it” philosophy, underscored by an educational system with a focus on building self-esteem, rather than capability, a me-first mindset has infected our culture. Rather than humble gratitude for our blessings, we are an entitled mob, marching roughshod over others with a huge chip balanced precariously on our shoulder, on the constant look-out for slights to which we can become outraged.
While a mass of self-important people, each one convinced he or she is the most entitled, may influence the culture, as though working together for a common goal, each individual feels more entitled that the rest. Look at the flow of evil oozing out of Hollywood since the sex abuse scandals burst into the open: this is what happens when someone feels entitled to use others. The self-entitled inevitably step on each other while clamoring to the top of the heap.
What’s the antidote to this painful situation? Humility. A humble person respects all people as being equally worthy of respect. A humble person is grateful, not demanding. A humble person gives the other guy the benefit of the doubt.
Genuine humility may be a lost art, but it is one anyone can learn by sitting at the feet of the Master.