From personal experience, all those times when I have acted with pride, things have gone wrong, I have damaged the dignity of people, affected institutions and my reason has been obnuch, thereby weakening a logical argument that could sustain a balanced discussion and which would conclude in a fair agreement and decision. The lack of humility is a bad counselor, for some reason Confucius stated that it is «the solid foundation of all virtues».
In the family, work, as well as in the ward and in social life in general, respect for others implies humility, that is, to be aware of our qualities, limitations, virtues and defects, and to recognize the equal dignity of every person. Especially when you have greater responsibilities, more people depend on one’s decisions, or when the impact of an intervention will affect the existence of individuals, families, and communities, it is more necessary to listen to respect, to contemplate reality before judging, and to understand that the inspiration of those decisions must be love and justice.
Humility is said to «be a fundamental value for living harmoniously in society.» If so, why don’t we form and practice it more often? Why is it so hard for us to live it in our home and neighborhood, why isn’t it considered a ‘desirable’ feature to select who will lead any company, organization or government? The humble is not admired, he is valued at the aggressive and ‘pillo’; the modest is seen as weak and unable to carry out great tasks forward; the one who has patience and moderation is seen as a manager who is not for this time of competition and success; the single is associated with ignorant and often failure. In today’s society we «do well if we have material goods» (consume) and not if we live virtues such as «moderation (prudence) and justice», or if our existence is «simple and honest».
In democracy, the governer is chosen by his promises and power of conviction, those who vote trust what that person (with those around him) will achieve. Campaigns exacerbate disqualifications, «traps,» and arouse in many candidates and many candidates an aggression full of arrogance, there are those who feel superior and better than others and others and others, and to prove it, humiliate their rivals, seek to destroy their dignity by digging into their private lives to denote it and cause citizen scandal (always with a quota of hypocrisy). But when we come to rule it is supposed to end, those who assume power must exercise it for all and all who inhabit the nation.
Making the fiction of dialogue without agreeing or translating is a lack of humility that mortgages the confidence and the possibility of facing together the difficult moments we live. Governing humbly could change the course of humanity and our country, it is a new air, a «non-mechanical fan» that would allow us to get «better stopped» from this and the next crises we will experience, allow more egalitarian societies, lessen war conflicts and scare away the narcissism that lurks us violently, destroying people, communities and institutions. A world that has privileged in recent decades a model of development based on competence and selfishness, exacerbating this narcissism and materialism, founded on a puerile personal and nationalist pride, urgently requires a better balance between the individual and collective. Humility will allow it.
What happened with the presidential veto to the Emergency Family Income Act is for the Government and Chile as «winning by losing.» We supported it in an open letter a group of civil society organizations and expected a possibility of dialogue and agreements, as urgent as the help required. Calls to unity involve going out of their way to reach it. How will we explain to individuals and families living in exclusion and poverty, and are neighbors, that some will receive this income and others will not? Pauperization progresses and we have more instruments than in the past to deal with it, let us do it with daring, otherwise we will leave spaces for barbarism.
I had the opportunity, together with a great friend, to see the film of Alejandro Amenábar While the war lasts, and these days we have remembered Unamuno’s sentence: «To overcome is not to convince». The veto smells more like a defeat, a shot at the feet of the much-sought-after unit, a failure of such ambitious agreements. This is not the way we expect from the political world, we are facing a catastrophe that violates the dignity of millions of people, where in many places the absent state gives space to the power of criminal gangs and drug trafficking. Poverty lurks hard and deteriorates existence in various neighborhoods of the country, only together is it possible to face these difficult times.
Rabindranath Tagore taught us a long time ago that «the greater we are in humility, the closer we are to greatness.» Today, we regret the absence of that greatness for the millions of people who in the midst of insecurity and with great fear feel alone, abandoned and discriminated against. There’s still time to set the course.