Pinoy pride is a must have for the growth of the Philippines
By Dr. Rebekka Volmer
Ugly pride can turn a culture down and lead into ultranationalism…but the same applies to good pride. Studies on pride by a psychological research team lead by Dr. Jessica Tracy, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, explain that there are two different kinds of pride: authentic and hubristic pride. Authentic pride is what a person feels when they achieve a goal they worked hard for while hubristic pride is a feeling somebody has, because of a trait they already have.
Red Tani, president of the Filipino freethinkers, criticises in his article “The ugly side of Pinoy Pride” published in the inquirer, that Filipino pride is partly nourished by the victories of idolized persons, like Pacquiao, simply because they are Filipinos. Red further explains that pride felt by our boxer Pacquiao after winning because of going through a hard and disciplined training, is authentic pride. But if Pacquiao would think he has won because of he is genetically gifted or divinely predestined because of being Filipino, that would be the ugly hubristic pride, explains Red Tani.
From my perspective as an evolutionary biologist and archaeologist, Red Tani is only partially right. We all agree, that if Pacquiao would spend all day in a hammock and drink 7 nights the week, he would never win a fight only because he is a Filipino. Hard training and following strictly a diet and lifestyle is the major factors of his success. However, we should never underestimate the role of traits a person or a culture is carrying in their genes.
The way we are, our body and character, is always shaped by our genes and the environment we grew up in. For example the height of a person is determined through the genes, but also the quality of the food. If you experience diseases and malnutrition during childhood, you will not gain your full destined genetically height. However, an undernourished child, with a genetically determined high height, might still grow taller than a person with a genetically low body height. If our ancestors had an advantage in being tall, genes for tall sizes were naturally accumulated within a population. The genes we are carrying in us are also a result of natural selection, meaning what was successful in the past.
However, humans were more shaped by a cultural rather than the biological evolution. Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a society. It is also a form; a community is successfully dealing with the environment. From a biological perspective, we can observe pattern of differences in cultures around the world. In tropical environments, we can find community oriented cultures more frequently, while in the colder regions competitive oriented cultures are dominating. This pattern is a consequence of preparing for a cold and deadly winter, which made people more competitive in the Northern regions. Although there are exceptions, like the Inuit for example, we can see this pattern roughly applying. The challenges in hotter regions of the world were probably better to tackle by shaping strong bound communities.
Since empathy is promoting success of a community oriented culture, individuals must have had a better advantage. Thus, we can also conclude that genes implementing empathy became more frequent in community cultures than in competitive cultures. The genetically constitution we have is also shaped by our past, and this is a hidden truth in the hubristic pride.
However, we need to be cautious with dealing with hubristic pride. If I am obese and sitting on a couch munching chips and drinking beer, watching the German football team, and feel proud because they win, that is definitely a form of ugly pride. It is the hubristic pride, without any authentic pride. This is the form of pride that can lead to racism and ultranationalism. This pride will block the forthcoming of us and our nation.
But if pure hubristic pride leads to nationalism, is authentic pride the only good pride? Hard working and achievements make things happen – and this is good and promotes ourselves and our community. However, if you consider a slave of the Nazi regime, the person was also achieving through very hard and tough work. But it is needless to say that the concentration camps of the Nazis were aiming for the opposite of building up pride of their prisoner. They were meant to brutally destroy the pride of the Jews as part of their genocide. Although this might appear as an extreme example, we still can find the ugly side of authentic pride today. It can be found in useless overworking, in inhuman working environments, in being exploited for profits of others own sake. If too much authenticity is missing, we end up in burn outs and depression, and the feeling of being unfulfilled. This is the ugly side of authentic pride.
The character we have developed today is shaped by the success of our individual past, what we achieved (the authentic pride) and the past of our family and nation (the hubristic pride). It is the balance between authentic and hubristic pride.
If no Filipino would be proud about Manny Pacquiao wining a boxing fight, he would have never went through the training. He is doing it for himself and his pride, but at the same time he is brave for his nation. He is a proof that every Filipino can achieve excellence – and herewith balances authentic and hubristic pride.
Maybe our individual excellence, based on our genes and experiences, is not to be a grateful boxer, but the best writer, the best carpenter, the best friend, or even the best drinker. If we combine our belief and purpose nourished on our hubristic pride, and combine it with hard work of authentic pride, we can achieve excellence in our genuine strength and become an example inspiring idol like Pacquiao. This is the example of good pride, it is a way we can serve our community the most. It means being bold enough to become a leading example through training, in order to inspire others to achieve their best.