Hubris – when reality slips away and false belief sets in, when new money and sudden power settles over someone like a layer of thick dust, 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.”
The term hubris embodied 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, falls prey to hubris. In Greek mythology, Narcissus’ hubris led to his death when he starved himself while admiring his own reflection.
Hubris has remained a never failing salience of humankind. Arrogant people have been knocking down others to wield more power and to get more limelight than they already do. Clout and top positions are regarded as a ticket to harassing the faint of heart 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 continues to malign the human psyche.