Virtues and Sins part V: Humilitas vs. Superbia

“Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real”. (Thomas Merton)

It is ok to ask for help. True strength comes from the ability to admit ones weaknesses. According to the article “Interpersonal relations and group processes – Alone in the Crowd: The Structure and Spread of Loneliness in a Large Social Network” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Cacioppo, J.T., Fowler, J.H., and Christiakis, N.A. 2009, Vol. 97, No. 6, 977-991, the discrepancy between an individual´s loneliness and the number of connections in a social network is well documented, yet little is known about the placement of loneliness within, or the spread of loneliness through, social networks.

Valtonen, J. (2011, Psykologia. Quoted 12.3.2014) states that loneliness weakens the immune system and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer and mental illness. It is also contagious.

Valtonen writes: An American student, Kendall Palladino, traveled to Kolkata in order to work with Mother Teresa who he admired. Kendall insisted that he´d study to become a doctor as soon as he had graduated a priest in order to take care of leprosy patients in developing countries. Mother Teresa did not understand why. “Your home country is infected by the leprosy of the West”, Mother Teresa said, and continued: “Poverty and suffering much worse than in Kolkata”.

What Mother Teresa meant was loneliness. Palladino, later on, revealed publically that the appointment changed his life. He abandoned his dream about medical studies, and works today in the United States with terminal care patients, helping sick and lonely people.

Often we cannot see the wood for the trees.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow-man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” (Ernest Hemingway)