Demonstrate humility, not pride

Dear Lene and Thomas:

You wrote:

One ingredient in the Nordic secret that may surprise some is the importance of cultural heritage. Given the many ethnic, national and religious conflicts around the world, many would probably be hesitant to promote cultural self-consciousness.

We see it otherwise: the more self-confident people are regarding their heritage, the deeper their roots, the more meaning-making potential, Geistesbereitschaft, the more folklore, the more stories, the more mythologies belonging to their ancestors that people know and can relate to, the more complex and robust their inner world will be. The more one knows one’s own culture and history and can see its development in context, the less threatening the culture of others become.  

What should be avoided at all times is national chauvinism or ethnic/cultural chauvinism; but cultural pride and joy are different. They are crucial even. They allow a sense of belonging, cohesion in a nation and loyalty towards the same state. If the Nordic secret is to be implemented in other parts of the world, it must be done in such a way, of course, that national pride and joy is not based on disrespecting other cultures and peoples. It should never be creating or promoting an “us versus them” mentality. This is where ego-development becomes crucial: as self-consolidators and self-governing, we tend to seek “enemies” in order to define who we are by establishing who we are not; as self-authoring (the next layer of ego-development), we appreciate diversity. (p. 384)

Although you refer to cultural pride in paragraph 3, if other countries are going to achieve the Nordic secret, their people need to develop the sixth virtue of humility, which is deeper than pride. Humble people demonstrate this virtue in four ways:

  1. They recognize the greatness of their own ancestors and culture/nation. (Paragraph 2)
  2. They know that members of other cultures/nations care little about their own cultural/national greatness. (Paragraph 3)
  3. They shine a light on the achievements of other cultures/nations. (Paragraph 3)
  4. They appreciate the beauty of other cultures/nations. (Paragraph 3)

The humility described in Numbers 2, 3, and 4 is needed to achieve the benefits of the Nordic secret. On the other hand, throughout the course of history, cultural/national pride motivated both well-intentioned and evil-intentioned colonizers. That is why it is important to highlight the need for humility, instead of pride on p. 384.


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