Hubris – When false belief sets in and reality slips away, when new money and sudden power settles over someone like a layer of thick dust and fogs their perceptions, when psychotic delusions and manic energy gushes through the veins, and when the line between virtue and vice diminishes.
Alexander Pope sums up the impact of hubris well, “the difference is too nice – Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.”
Hubris appears as a stark flaw in ancient literature across all cultures. Because of this flaw, the angel Lucifer suffered in the eternal fires of Hell. Ravana, one of the most learned men as depicted in the Indian epic Ramayana, fell prey to hubris. He was given a boon by Brahma that he will be indestructible by Gods or demons. In his pride, he forgot that a human, Rama would destroy him. In Greek mythology, Narcissus’ hubris led to his death when he starved himself while admiring his own reflection.
Hubris has remained a never-fading salience of humankind. Arrogant people have been knocking down others to wield more power and to get more limelight than they already do. Political and social clout and top positions are regarded as a ticket to harassing the downtrodden, economically unstable and faint of heart people, and as an access card to bringing down the less powerful.
Literature and movies have been shown to have hubris. Macbeth, Wolf of Wall Street, Scarface, Doctor Faustus: scores of examples can be added to this list as avarice, arrogance, and bigotry continue to malign the human psyche.