We shall now proceed to speak of Esteem and Contempt, of
Self-respect and Humility, of Conceit and Culpable Humility. We
shall take them in the above order, and try to distinguish
accurately what is good and what is bad in them.
Esteem and Contempt are felt in so far as we know a thing
to be something great or small, be this great or little thing in
us or outside us.[N1]
[Note N1]: B begins this chapter as follows: In order to
distinguish thoroughly the good and evil in these Passions we
shall take them up in turn, beginning with Esteem and Contempt,
which refer to something known that is in or outside us, the first
relating to something great, the last, to something small.
Self-respect does not extend [to anything] outside us, and is
only attributed to one who knows the real worth of his
perfection, dispassionately and without seeking esteem for himself.
Humility is felt when any one knows his own imperfection,
without regard to the contempt [of others] for himself; [N1] so
that Humility does not refer to anything outside the humble man.
[Note N1]: B: without any self-contempt.
Conceit is this, when some one attributes to himself a
perfection which is not to be found in him.
Culpable humility is this, when some one attributes to himself
an imperfection which he has not. I am not speaking of those
hypocrites who, without meaning it,
humble themselves in order to deceive others;[N1]
but only of those who really think they
have the imperfections which they attribute to
[Note N1]: B: who without really meaning, it make a show of
humbling themselves simply in order to deceive others.
From these observations it is sufficiently
evident what good and evil there is in each of
these passions. For, as regards Self-respect and
Humility, these show their excellence through
themselves. For we say that the possessor there
of knows his perfection and imperfection for
what it is.[N1] And this, according to what
Reason teaches us, is the most important thing
for the attainment of our perfection. Because if
we know exactly our powers and perfection, we
see thereby clearly what it is we have to do in
order to attain our good end. And, on the other
hand, if we know our fault and frailty, then we
know what we have to avoid.
[Note N1]: B: for their true worth.
As regards Conceit and Culpable Humility, the
definition of them already shows *sufficiently*
that they arise from a certain
opinion; for we
said that it [conceit] is attributed to one who
ascribes to himself a certain perfection,
although he does not possess it, and culpable
humility is the precise opposite.
From what has just been said it is evident,
then, that just as Self-respect and True
Humility are good and salutary, so, on the
contrary Conceit and Culpable Humility are bad
and pernicious. For those [Self-respect and True
Humility] not only put their possessor into a
very good attitude, but are also, besides, the
right ladder by which we may rise to supreme
bliss. But these [Conceit and Culpable Humility]
not only prevent us from attaining to our
perfection, but also lead us to utter ruin.
Culpable Humility is what prevents us from doing
that which we should otherwise have to do in order
to become perfect; we see this, for instance, in
the case of the Sceptics, who; just because they deny that
man can attain to any truth, deprive themselves thereof
through this very denial. Conceit *on the other hand* is what
makes us undertake things which tend straight to our ruin; as
is seen in the case of all those who had the conceit, and
have the conceit, that they stood, and stand, wondrously well
in the opinion of God, and consequently brave fire and
water, and thus, avoiding no danger, and facing every risk,
they die most miserably.
As regards Esteem and Contempt, there is no more to be
said about them, we have only to recall to memory what we
said before about Love.