The Inner Struggle

Humility … and the cultivation of same …

Mikoto”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013)

The only thing for which you will not be envied, is the lowest place; therefore, the lowest place place  is the only one where there is no vanity and affliction of spirit.” (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897)

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 - 1897

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897

One of the great stumbling blocks to receiving God’s mercy is to live in the past. I am coming to believe that is what Jesus means when he states, in the Gospel of St. Luke, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

St. Therese of Lisieux in her “Little Way” understood this very well. She thought that we focus too much on our dark side, our ugliness, and not enough on God who is the Light of Light. She believed that we needed to have confidence in the consuming furnace of His Love for us.

Shortly before her death, St. Therese stated, “You may truly say that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into a flaming furnace. All possible crimes, a multitude of offenses, a drop of water in an immense furnace; that is the proportion”.

The Pool Of Worship

The Pool Of Worship

As I remarked in a previous post, I have finally realized that it is impossible for a proud man to give himself humility … it is impossible for an impoverished man to give himself wealth … it is impossible for a sick man to give himself health.

Therefore, to be truly humble, that is genuinely humble, I have to apply myself first of all to humility of heart and continue to deepen the sincere recognition of my nothingness, my weakness. An important part of that recognition is a sincere acceptance of responsibility for my thoughts, words, and deeds. Isn’t it funny how accepting responsibility shows up as the foundation of every attempt to know oneself.

I must acknowledge and accept my faults and my failings without trying to assign any other case or cause for them than my own miserable failings. There are no reasonable excuses for bad talk, or bad behaviour, or bad thinking. My bad is just that … my bad. I cannot slough off responsibility for myself and my conduct by blaming others, or the situation I find myself in, or the actions or faults of others now or in the past. I am responsible and I am to blame for what I do, or think, or say.

In a brief aside, a little wandering off the path, but on point regarding responsibility as a part of humility, is the occurrence of one of the greatest injustices, even tragedies, of the 20th century, namely the development of the cult of “repression” amongst Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and the cult continues to this day, alive and well, even amongst those who have become practitioners known as mental health counselors, sometimes known as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (at least in B.C.).

Katherine K. Young, 2015

Katherine K. Young, 2015

The cult of “repressed emotions” arose in concert with the development of psychoanalysis, which grew out of the theories Sigmund Freud.  A more current phenomenon related to important aspects of Freud’s “repressed emotions” theory has been the “modern”  Western teaching of contempt for men in our popular culture, known as Misandry.

A very lucid analysis of the impact of this “feminist” religious dogma can be had in “Spreading Misandry” (2001) and “Legalizing Misandry” (2006) by Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young. they have since come out with a third book which unfortunately I have not read, maybe I will get to it this year … just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

It is also interesting, and amusing,  that Paul Nathanson doesn’t get a mention in most search engines. It is affirming for one, like myself, who believes in a “left bias” in our culture to find again that anti male, anti conservative, bias in action in the “Wikipedia” search engine which I mentioned in another previous post. Katherine K. Young must have broken through the filters because she is a female PhD.

Sigmund Freud (sitting left), Sàndor Ferenczi, and Hanns Sachs (standing) Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones.

In Studies in Hysteria (1895) Freud proposed that physical symptoms are often the surface manifestations of deeply repressed conflicts. At the time Freud attracted many followers, who formed a famous group in 1902 called the “Psychological Wednesday Society.” The group met every Wednesday in Freud’s waiting room.

As the organization grew, Freud established an inner circle of devoted followers, the so-called “Committee” (including Sàndor Ferenczi, and Hanns Sachs (standing) Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones). At the beginning of 1908, the committee had 22 members and renamed themselves the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

So thanks to Freud and his true believers in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society every bad actor in the 20th century could get a “get out of jail free” card just by showing up and getting psychoanalyzed. Gee, I wish I had been psychoanalyzed … maybe then I would not have to suffer all this guilt for not being humble …

But, and it is a very BIG “but” (no dietary pun intended), Freud’s theory is good at explaining but not at predicting behavior (which is one of the goals of science). For this reason, Freud’s theory is unfalsifiable – it can neither be proved true or refuted. For example, the unconscious mind is difficult to test and measure objectively.

Overall, Freud’s theory is highly unscientific …  most of the evidence for Freud’s theories are taken from an unrepresentative sample. He mostly studied himself, his patients and only one child (e.g., Little Hans).

The main problem here is that the case studies are based on studying one person in detail, and with reference to Freud, the individuals in question are most often middle-aged women from Vienna (i.e., his patients). This makes generalizations to the wider population (e.g., the whole world) difficult.

However, Freud thought this unimportant, believing in only a qualitative difference between people. Freud may also have shown research bias in his interpretations – he may have only paid attention to information which supported his theories, and ignored information and other explanations that did not fit them.

Annnnd back to humility … seriously folks, I have to recognize that the good that is in me is a pure gift from God and never claim it for my own. Jesus Christ taught “responsibility” not “It’s not your fault, sweetheart.”

I suppose that it is normal to desire to  be humble, and I also suppose that it is normal not to desire humiliation. I pray for God to make me humble but I resist mightily any occurrences and events which I find humiliating. So, I figure that the self (my “self” anyway) started out life very proud, in fact the exact opposite of humble. I started out absolutely convinced of my own superiority. I loved myself with an absolute love.

Life seems to have been a more or less steady grinding away of that feeling of superiority. Now I ask myself, my “Self”, how is it possible to become humble without enduring humiliation? Today, this seems like a reasonable question, and looking back over the years I wonder why it never came up before?

And I think that the reasonable answer is that it’s impossible to achieve humility without experiencing and enduring humiliations. And it is probably reasonable to assume that the sturdier my self regard, the more extreme and enduring are the required humiliations to effect a change in my self regard.

Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Humility is truth, and and the practice of humility is sincere recognition of truth. If I was sincere in recognizing this truth I would find it very just to be humiliated and scorned and treated without consideration.

So the pain I feel when treated unjustly and without consideration is a sure sign that I have not embraced true humility.

I have read that the saints were so firmly convinced of  this truth that they never found the humiliations which came to them too painful. The saints always considered these humiliations less than they deserved.

I never heard anything bad said of me which I did not clearly realize fell short of the truth. If I had not sometimes  — often indeed — offended God in the ways they referred to, I had done so  in many others, and I felt they had treated me far too indulgently about these” (Teresa of Jesus, also known as Teresa of Avila, 1515 – 1582)

More coming on humility, and also on judgement, of oneself, of others, and Final Judgement …

Oh Joy


If it looks proud, and walks proud, and talks proud, it must be proud, right?

Humility are not us …