Humilitas – Speaker and historian John Dickson shows how the virtue of humility was an important character trait for the ‘greats’ of history and figures prominently in the findings of psychology and sociology. Developing humility can transform your personal relationships and professional dealings.
Fascinating book on the topic of humility. It was interesting to learn the history and origins of humility–how an “honor-shame culture” was slowly transformed into a “cruciform culture” through Jesus. Dickson also does an amazing job at showing the beauty of humility in specific people’s lives and by helping me better understand what true humility looks like.
Dickson acknowledges the difficulty of talking about humility without being seen as pretentious or all-knowing about this trait (contradicting the nature of humility) and he is able to avoid this predicament by describing the actions of others. Although Dickson clarifies that his book does not intent to advocate for Christianity, he devotes an entire section to the importance of Jesus’ influence on our modern view of humility. In ancient times, Dickson explains, humility was not a desirable trait. In ancient greek, it literally translate to “being put down” in a way that degrades someone. In this case, humility was often used to describe the relationship between people and greek gods. Greek gods often punished those who praised themselves or believed they were better than them (for example, Arachne). It was not until Jesus who transformed the meaning of being humble into something that involved lowering yourself (assuming you are at a higher position) for the good of others. No other example from Jesus life captures humility than his willingness to be crucified. After reading this book, I feel like all Christians should follow Jesus footsteps and be more humble. It not only is a way for others to help each other but it also benefits the person who acts with humility. Seeking the humility for its benefits are not selfish, Dickson argues, because humility, in its true spirit will not allow it.