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The fatal flaw: Hubris

Hubris, first known to be used in 1884 by the Greeks is a way of behaving, becoming, and being extremely confident, arrogant and smug. One who is hubristic thinks they are way better than anyone else and that they are not required to follow the rules. Adolescent men and the rich are hubris in nature because they think no one is better than them. Someone who holds themselves in such high esteem often at the expense of others around them was said to have hubris. Be it powerful politicians, scientists, doctors, artists and leaders in business. People who have been successful in life and have been inflicted by self-confidence, excessive pride, arrogance and are in power. Power, unchecked and absolute power.

When leaders and politicians claim to be deciding on but instead their gain is stretched too far, that too at the expense of the community, hubris sets in. Poor judgement, extreme narcissism, cruel and deviant behaviour is something you will experience with a hubristic person. People who have hubris think they are better than the gods. And of course, if you think you are better than the gods, you will attract negative attention from the gods. And well, the Greeks would not let you get away with something of that sort. Sinning was alright for the gods but you cannot let them catch you in the act while doing it.

Hubris is no different than the commonly used phrase what goes around, comes back around. Which tells us how whatever bad we do or however we do will come back in the future to visit us in the same way. Treat people kindly and well, and the same will happen to you. Exactly how ancestors in India taught us the idea of Karma. Hubris and Karma, given to us by the Greeks and Hindus respectively are similar in nature, in belief. But, the Greeks were a level up when it came to punishments and rewards for their actions.

Well, if you were exuding hubris, according to the Greeks, God would send its enforcer. The cop of the enforcer, the goddess that you do not want to deal with in any shape or form, Nemesis.The goddess of divine vengeance and retribution. And it was her job to show up and knock down the hubristic person a few pegs in life. There was no escaping your punishment. The level of punishment also depended on the amount of hubris the person was putting out. And for the rewarding part, the Greek goddess Tyche, Nemesis’ twin sister would show up who is the goddess of good luck and fortune. She would fairly compensate and reward the ill fortunate and needy. This way the Greeks maintained balance in everything.

Sometimes a crime of hubris was so copious that Zeus, the king of gods himself had to step in, if that happened one can only imagine the hell they would have to go through as punishment. Definitely, something to think about? After all, Hubris is a prickly trait that can lead to negative and serious consequences, leaving hubristic individuals in situations they definitely do not want to be in.

A hubristic person might believe they are guaranteed success in everything they do, they believe that they are never wrong and that they are above the law. Well, more like Adolf Hitler. And we all know how that turned out. A notable historical example when Hitler, the supreme Nazi egoist placed himself above the law and initiated world war II. He was so blinded by his obsession with establishing the so-called Aryans supremacy that he was willing to torpedo the whole world for it. Hitler’s outre ambition was put to an end by the Nazi forces being vastly outgunned and outnumbered that it made him put a gun on hisself. With his power, influence and position he took the lives of nearly two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population during his time as the Chancellor. Now that’s hubris! Fearlessly putting people into concentration camps and gas chambers with not an ounce of mercy and humanity in his heart and apparently, in others around him as well.

In some cases, a hot streak of successive successes can bring out the hubris in the best of us. We may not acknowledge its presence initially but it is going to knock us down in the blink of an eye. This is why we should always be humble, humane and helpful to others. Because no sin goes unnoticed and no virtue goes unblessed.

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