It’s Not Just Others: Conquering the Hubris in Yourself

  • Christoph H. Loch

Abstract

In this chapter, I want to argue that hubris is the tail end of a normal psychological trait, narcissism and status seeking, rather than a medical syndrome (Owen 2008a; Owen 2008b); just like height is not a medical syndrome, although extreme height can cause medical problems. All biological traits are subject to variation, caused by a mixture of “nature and nurture”—some people are simply more prone to narcissism, and positions of power make people more vulnerable to developing hubris. If dysfunctional hubris is an extreme level of a trait that we all have, then correcting hubristic behaviour becomes an issue not of eliminating a pathology, but of reducing the extreme expression of a general tendency. The latter seems less daunting and encourages us to ask whether we, as individuals, can do anything to reduce hubris and its negative effects in ourselves. I argue that we can, at two levels: at the level of our personal attitudes and at the level of how we conceptualize the functions and privileges of leadership. I will offer specific actions that an individual in a powerful position can take to make himself or herself less vulnerable.

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© Christoph H. Loch 2016

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  • Christoph H. Loch

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