Pride, humility & being really self-honest

(Yes, I’m talking about Breaking Bad again.)

Hey how you doing?

Here’s what’s on my mind today:

🦠 Coronavirus update
🧪 Breaking Bad is a lesson in self-honesty
😃 Stuff I’ve enjoyed lately
💡 Something to think about

🦠 Coronavirus thoughts

Is it just me or was this past week harder on folks? It felt like everyone I know felt it was a tougher week than previous ones have been. And it wasn’t like anything new happened, just more like all the weeks of self-distancing was finally getting to people. Did you feel that too?

It's been a bit different for me, because I’m still going to work as a medical doctor, but I get it. A helpful view on it that I read somewhere pointed out that how much it affected folks was less about their being introverted or extroverted, and was more about if before social distancing where they already felt like they were in a good place socially. And the point was that if they felt overwhelmed then this would likelier feel like a time of rest, but if they were okay it would feel worse, and if they were already lonely, then they might be at risk of significant effects on their mental health. Does that resonate with you?

Me, personally, I’ve had a tough past week, but that was less due to the coronavirus and more due to work being a bit more stressful even before the pandemic hit, so I took this week off to catch a breather.

🧪 Breaking Bad is a lesson in self-honesty

Yes, I’ve still got Breaking Bad on my mind, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I think was the main point of the show: that it’s easy to lie to ourselves. Walter White, the main character (it’s hard to think of him as a protagonist, when in some ways he’s kinda the villain of the show) repeatedly insists throughout the show that he does what he does for his family, and actually believes it. It was clear to me by halfway in the first season that he was seriously deceiving himself, but what struck me was that a friend who’s really smart didn’t catch until the final season.

I don’t think that it’s special that I caught on to it so early, though. I think it’s more related to the fact that I realised years ago that pride was a problem I had. Thing is, I'm not sure most people who know would think of me as proud, but that’s partly because in a sense we think of pride primarily as vanity or arrogance, and not as simply the instinct within us all to put ourselves above anyone else. (It was from CS Lewis that I realised my own pride, by the way.)

I immediately recognised Walter White’s pride because I am familiar with mine.

CS Lewis didn’t only teach me about pride, though, but also about what humility really looks, like, contrary to the misconceived view most people have of it. But I’ll let him speak for himself:

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
— CS Lewis, in
Mere Christianity

😃 Stuff I’ve enjoyed lately

Chris Evans has gone from playing Captain America in the MCU to playing conflicted lawyer and father in Defending Jacob (and, in between, arrogant playboy Hughes Ransom in Knives Out). It’s a great show: a family drama wearing crime drama clothes, but it’s less about the crime and more about the effect on the family and their connections. If you love seeing how people navigate relationships in times of crisis, you’re in for a great time.

Also, Chris Evans—if you know, you know.

(It’s on Apple TV+, though, which isn’t free, except you recently got a new Apple device which comes with a year free.)

💡Something to think about

“It’s not always easy to be both interesting and accurate, but…it’s better than being exciting and wrong.”—Maria Konnikova

What’s that quote spark for you?

Until next week, take care!

Doc Ayomide