The Seven Deadly Sins are:
- Greed and
Of these sins, theologians and scholars often single out pride as the greatest of the sins, the root of all evil and the beginning of sin. The Bible says that pride comes before the destruction or downfall of a person and that God opposes the proud.
New research out of University of Montreal and UCSB suggests that maybe pride is not a sin. It actually might be an evolutionary survival mechanism. In the paper, the authors claim that pride leads us to balance societal values vs. personal values which leads to greater “mutual assistance” among members of groups which has been shown to confer a reproductive advantage.
As reported by The Current, from UCSB , lead author of the study Daniel Sznycer explained: “People evolved to have a selfish streak, but they also needed a contrary pull toward acts that would make others value them in a world without soup kitchens, police, hospitals or insurance, [and] the feeling of pride is an internal reward that draws us towards such acts.”
How does this work? Research has found that we feel pride about things that our own society values. When we graduate from college, get a promotion at work or volunteer for charity we likely feel pride as these all represent things our society values. From the paper: “the feeling of pride is an internal signal of the estimated social valuation payoff—a payoff that can motivate, for example, status-seeking behavior.”
This means that pride causes you to consider others’ views – what society values – in making decisions. According to Daniel Sznycer, “one implication of this theory is that those around you benefit, too, as a side effect of your pursuing actions they value. Thus, pride is more a win-win than it is a sin.”
Pride appears to be a universal human trait. Building on previous studies conducted in industrialized nations, the researchers studied pride in ten different small-scale societies in non-industrialized countries.
They found that “despite widely varying languages, cultures, and subsistence modes, pride in each community closely tracked the valuation of audiences locally.” In other words, whether living in advanced, industrialized societies or more basic, non-industrialized communities, people’s feelings of pride closely track their societies’ valued actions.
Be free! Go forth and feel pride without guilt! Have a nice Tuesday!