Humilty vs Hubris

It seems clear that Nixon knew Ford would eventually be President when he appointed him Vice President in 1973. The two appear to be polar opposites in retrospect. One the symbol of corruption and graft, the other a symbol of statesmanship. But their contributions to the office confirm what we all suspect and want to believe... that humility, in the end, is a greater force than hubris in the hands of a leader.

Now looking back on that time, and on our own, we can see that the greatest disasters of the American drama are the product of narcissistic personalities that have squandered their position. Scandals, Wars, The Great Depression - disasters which inevitably had to be healed by the warm humilty of a compassionate leader. We seem to have this yin/yang balance between the proud and the prudent, and until we learn that we will continuously repeat that cycle.

The paradox of our competitive culture is that it creates Narcissists by simultaneously promoting self-worth while restricting opportunities for achievement. This puts millions teetering on the fulcrum of their dreams plagued by a false perception of personal failure. Young people with a healthy and balanced sense of self-worth have been on the endangered list for decades.

A broken self-esteem must be replaced with a false sense of self-worth. This makes narcissists seem plastic and shallow which is appropriate since the word comes from the Greek word "narke" which means numb (as in narcotic.) It is no secret then that Narcissists have the worst self-esteem and are the first to deny it when confronted. It is at once their greatest weakness and greatest strength.

The other extreme is a dysfunctional abundance of humilty that prevents many from taking action in the face of abusive leadership, or from taking on roles of leadership leaving a vaccuum that will be filled by narcissists and dictators. We cannot fully blame the dictators when we pave the way for them and then reward them with the power we should have kept for ourselves.

We leave ourselves the only option of waiting for the inevitible crisis to make way for the healing leadership we should have had the courage to promote in the first place.