Cardinal Sins I: Pride
Pride is not hubris, nor snobbery. It is neither devoid of context, nor based on a comparison to others.
Many people who encounter Objectivism for the first time - specially those who came from a background that rejects pride, such as a religious or collectivistic family - are somewhat shocked by the fact that it holds pride to be an important virtue. Those people often have, not an objective definition of the term, but an image that comes to mind when they think of pride - one of a narcissistic person who thinks they are always right, or fundamentally better than others. That image is wrong.
Pride is not a primary. It is the consequence of rationality, i.e. the choice to use one's rational faculty. By being honest, it is possible to know that one is an individual, and therefore has no choice but to make one's own choices. By acting rationally, it is possible to produce one's own values. Pride is the recognition that, because of Man's nature as a rational individual, he is his own highest value, and has the potential for greatness - that no one has the right to your sacrifice.
Hubris, on the other hand, is an irrational, intrinsicist idea that mimics pride. It is the implicit premise that one is inherently good, devoid of context. Hubris is not a form pride, but its opposite. It is the inversion of "I can perceive reality, therefore I can do great things, therefore I can be great" into "My greatness is axiomatic, therefore whatever I do will be great, regardless of reality". It is a form of primacy of consciousness.
Snobbery is the belief that one is better than others. It is a form of second-handling, and therefore the opposite of pride. A proud person is individualistic - it recognizes itself as its primary value, is its own standard of values, and needs only its own validation. A snob has others as his standard of values, and must validate his assessment of himself by comparison to them.
A proud person would never reject the facts of reality, the perception of which makes him great in the first place. A proud person would never forsake his control over his self-esteem to others.
Do not be snobbish or conceited. Be proud.
- January 8th, 2020