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Hubris

From Academic Kids

Hubris is exaggerated pride or self-confidence often resulting in retribution.

Hubris in ancient times

Hubris is a common theme in Greek tragedies and mythology, whose stories often featured protagonists suffering from hubris and subsequently being punished by the gods for it. In Greek law, it most often refers to violent outrage wreaked by the powerful upon the weak. In poetry and mythology, the term was used of those individuals esteeming themselves as equal to or greater than the gods. Hubris was often the "tragic flaw", or Hamartia, of characters in Greek drama.

There was also a goddess called Hubris (or Hybris), the personification of the above concept, insolence, lack of restraint and instinct. She spent most of her time among mortals.

Greek and Roman mythological characters punished for their hubris:

Punishment for arrogance also appears as a theme in the Hebrew Bible:

  • Adam and Eve are tempted to be like God and are expelled from the Garden of Eden.
  • The Tower of Babel was erected to reach the sky, but was destroyed by God.

Some ancient sayings

  • Those whom the Gods would destroy they first make all powerful.
  • Those whom the Gods would destroy they first make proud.


Hubris in modern times

While hubris in minor matters is not uncommon, it is considered particularly dangerous when present in those who control great power. Military organizations have long realized this and many take great care to build in organizational structures and procedural controls to limit its dangers. Such restraints are less likely to be found in other fields.

Modern negative consequences of actions stemming from hubris appear to be associated with a lack of knowledge, interest in, and exploration of history, combined with overconfidence and a lack of humility.

Hubris as a pejorative term is often applied in the political realm. As hubris is associated with power, it is usually used by persons associated with political parties that are out of power against those who are in power.

Hubris has been suggested as one of the three virtues of successful programmers, according to Larry Wall. It is "the quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won't want to say bad things about." The other two virtues are laziness and impatience.de:Hybris es:Hibris fr:Hybris nl:Hubris pl:Hybris

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