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Christ in the Wilderness, Moretto da Brescia (Alessandro Bonvicino), ca. 1520
" … lurching contest to contest, certain only of losing what we already too willingly forfeited."

And it came to pass that the people became prideful, proud of their many accomplishments and haughty within their identity; insufferable in the eyes of their neighbors, even formerly close friends. Where gratitude once swelled in their chests, an insolence replaced it and a definite arrogance overtook them. They suddenly seemed to know better the choices others should make, and even took it upon themselves to lean over others' plates to cut their meat for them without even being asked. How unappreciative 'they' seemed! Polity degraded into a me-ity, a me-for-me-and-nobody-for-all self-centeredness. Invisible hands and "wise" markets subsumed human agency and they segregated financially. They claimed The Best In The World without considering. "For whom?", and were subsumed by the promise of ever-expanding profitability. They funded their military more lavishly than they supported their progeny. They devoted themselves to promoting identity, touted as both brave and free to one another, but seemed to forfeit their former Humbility for a venial form of vanity. Then all was lost.

The ability to humble one's self might be the most human capability.
Retain it and never lose your way. Mortgage it or lose it gambling for improved fortune and be cast from The Garden, for all human living seems in relation with others, genuine sisters and brothers, not in slavering competition. Turn competitive and transactional and forfeit your soul, for there's no lower position than the one into which competition forces you. Win or lose, even playing that game seems determined to shame someone, and there can be no winner if the loser's shamed, and only losers when any game turns cut-throat, for only murderers and victims remain, shills and losers. Friendly competition seems oxymoronic, like exquisite pain or joyful cruelty, both utter impossibilities while retaining sanity. An absence of Humbility seems like an absence of humanity, for so much can never be accomplished without it. Families thrive within its beneficence, societies, too. Its absence commands continual struggle, survival of only the fittest as defined by self-importance. Surviving without thriving, one of the sorrier states of existence.

Proud Boys show up to defend their misconceptions, armed with ignorance, paint guns, and bear spray, determined to inflict their way upon those demanding mere equality, as if there weren't plenty to go around. Scarcity, or the convicted delusion of it, forces hands to joyfully degrade themselves in attempts to elevate their position. They insist that they're losing something they've willingly forfeited, and nurture grudges even larger than their resulting deficits. They conflate humility and humiliation and further humiliate themselves and their once-great nation. Nobody was ever free of any sacred obligation, regardless of contrary legislation. Meanness produces punishment as its just reward, charity produces justice undeserved. Only the undeserving ever deserve charity, it might otherwise be mistaken for an investment. No one should properly profit from another's loss. Humbility, always its own reward.

Our Humbility should properly always be under serious threat. It should not be easy to humble one's self. Easy was never the purpose of anything honest, and promises to the contrary should properly sour enthusiasm. Something for nothing equals nothing for something, a hollow exchange. One must contribute genuine treasure, not just tattered leftovers. It should hurt a little to do good. It should irreplaceably diminish your larder if only so you can see what that larder was actually worth. It was worth nothing until needed, regardless of who consumes its contents. Living for self diminishes self into a paradox of self-absorption. We extend to become, not to diminish ourselves. We exist only in relation, only it seems with considerable Humbility. The alternative seems a zombie existence, lurching contest to contest, certain only of losing what we already too willingly forfeited.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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