|Humility is the vice of presumption, the hubris of the inferior.|
A person entering a temple seeks release from himself. He wishes to humble his pride, to confess his unworthiness, to beg forgiveness. He finds fulfillment in a sense of abject humility. Man's proper posture in a house of God is on his knees. Nobody in his right mind would kneel within Mr. Roark's temple. The place forbids it. The emotions it suggests are of a different nature: arrogance, audacity, defiance, self-exaltation. It is not a house of God, but the cell of a megalomaniac. It is not a temple, but its perfect antithesis, an insolent mockery of all religion.
Toohey proved that the Stoddard Temple contradicted every brick, stone and precept of history. "I have endeavored to show," he said in conclusion, "that the two essentials of the conception of a temple are a sense of awe and a sense of man's humility.
[The Journals of Ayn Rand
16 - Two Possible Books
To Lorne Dieterling ("Sense of Life")]
Emotional abstractions. An emotional abstraction consists of all those things which have the power to make one experience a certain emotion. For instance: a heroic man, the New York skyline, flying in a plane, a sunlit "stylized" landscape, ecstatic music, an achievement of which one is proud. (These same things will give an emotion of terror and guilt to a man with the wrong premises; all except the last, which is impossible to him.) An opposite example: a humble or depraved man, an old village or ruins, "walking on the moors," a desolate landscape, folk songs or atonal music, the failure of someone else's achievement or ambition.
(The root and common denominator in all these things is self-esteem or lack of it; pro-man or anti-man; pro-life or anti-life.)
[The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 4 No. 1 January, 1965
Check Your Premises: Bootleg Romanticism]
For example, consider one of the best works of modern naturalism—Paddy Chayefsky's Marty. It is an extremely sensitive, perceptive, touching portrayal of an humble man's struggle for self-assertion. One can feel sympathy for Marty, and a sad kind of pleasure at his final success. But it is highly doubtful whether anyone—including the thousands of real-life Martys—would be inspired by his example. Nobody could feel: "I want to be like Marty." Everybody (except the most corrupt) can feel: "I want to be like James Bond."
[The Romanic Manifesto
8. Bootleg Romanticism]
This universal need is precisely what today's intellectuals cannot grasp or fill. A seedy, emasculated, unventilated "elite"—a basement "elite" transported, by default, into vacant drawing rooms and barricaded behind dusty curtains against light, air, grammar and reality—today's intellectuals cling to the stagnant illusion of their altruist-collectivist upbringing: the vision of a cloddish, humble, inarticulate people whose "voice" (and masters) they were to be.
Part Three / Chapter VII
"This Is John Galt Speaking"]
Accept the fact that the achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness—not pain or mindless self-indulgence—is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Happiness was the responsibility you dreaded, it required the kind of rational discipline you did not value yourself enough to assume—and the anxious staleness of your days is the monument to your evasion of the knowledge that there is no moral substitute for happiness, that there is no more despicable coward than the man who deserted the battle for his joy, fearing to assert his right to existence, lacking the courage and the loyalty to life of a bird or a flower reaching for the sun. Discard the protective rags of that vice which you called a virtue: humility—learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness—and when you learn that pride is the sum of all virtues, you will learn to live like a man.
[The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. 1, No. 14 April 10, 1972
The Shanghai Gesture--Part II]
And those who regard humility as a virtue, should ask themselves whether it is becoming to the President of a great country when he deals with its enemies. Of all the possible variants, Pragmatist humility is the worst: the silly reference to "infallibility" is embarrassingly awful in that context. This is an epistemological, i.e., a philosophical, issue. Infallibility is not a precondition of knowing what one does know, of firmness in one's convictions, and of loyalty to one's values. Since Mr. Nixon's Chinese adversaries have made it amply clear that they do not intend ever "to re-examine their own attitudes," the declaration served notice on them that Mr. Nixon does, that he is prepared to re-examine, to reverse—or to betray—anything.
[The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. III, No. 13 March 25, 1974
Moral Inflation--Part II]
Here are some of the things that men had to evade in order to think up a moral atrocity such as a "National Day of Humiliation."
Self-abasement is the antithesis of morality. If a man has acted immorally, but regrets it and wants to atone for it, it is not self-abasement that prompts him, but some remnant of love for moral values—and it is not self-abasement that he expresses, but a longing to regain his self-esteem. Humility is not a recognition of one's failings, but a rejection of morality. "I am no good" is a statement that may be uttered only in the past tense. To say: "I am no good" is to declare: "- and I never intend to be any better."
[For the New Intellectual]
The echoes answering them are the voices of the plain, medieval Witch Doctors that are beginning to be heard again, preaching the doctrine of man's innate, preordained impotence, of humility, passivity, submission and resignation—here, in New York City, the greatest monument to the potency of man's mind—and proclaiming that all the disasters of the modern age are man's punishment for the pride of relying on his intellect, for his attempt to improve his condition, to establish a rational society and to achieve a perfect way of life on earth.
[The Journals of Ayn Rand
14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech]
The vices of the Life Morality: non-thinking—which means the evasion of knowledge, the placing of anything whatever above your own mind, any form of mysticism, of faith, or denial of reality; dependence—the placing of others above yourself in any manner whatever, either as authority or as love; aimlessness—the non-integrated life; pain—the submission to it or acceptance of it; humility—the acceptance of one's moral imperfection, the willingness to be imperfect, which means: the indifference to moral values and to yourself, i.e., self-abnegation; the initiation of force—as the destruction of the mind, as the method contrary to man's form of survival, as the anti-man and anti-life.
Your morality disarms you and protects itself from your mind by making a virtue of imperfection: humility is a virtue, pride is a sin. It gives you a blank check on evil and forces you to give a blank check to others. If you cannot be proud of yourself, you cannot condemn any depravity. The man who is unable to praise himself is unable to blame anything on anyone.
[The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution
But humility and hostility are two sides of the same coin. An overwhelming hostility toward all men is his basic emotion, his automatic context for the concept "man." Every stranger he meets is a potential threat—a member of that mystic entity, "others," which rules him—an enemy to appease and to deceive.
[The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 2 No. 1 January, 1963
Check Your Premises: Collectivized Ethics]
Humility and presumptuousness are always two sides of the same premise, and always share the task of filling the space vacated by self-esteem in a collectivized mentality. The man who is willing to serve as the means to the ends of others, will necessarily regard others as the means to his ends. The more neurotic he is or the more conscientious in the practice of altruism (and these two aspects of his psychology will act reciprocally to reinforce each other), the more he will tend to devise schemes "for the good of mankind" or of "society" or of "the public" or of "future generations"—or of anything except actual human beings.