Even persons who deem themselves, ‘arrogant’, agree that Meekness is a virtue. How then do they justify their arrogance? Well, typically, they reason that meekness is seen as weakness in the spaces within which they function, as such, is inimical to professional or business success. Pragmatically then, they deviate from meekness to an arrogance that does not necessarily mistreat others. Given arrogance that listens loses character of arrogance, however, there is arrival at necessity of a ‘know it all’ attitude in context of interactions with any of peers, subordinates, or superiors. While there is not then any deliberate intention to hurt others, clearly, regardless, subordinates who feel they are invisible experience emotional hurt.
There exists evidence, however, that meekness can be associated with professional success. In this respect, we see a well respected football coach, Tony Dungy, who has quality of meekness succeed in an industry — National Football League (NFL) — where ‘Rah Rah’ arrogance, which need not necessarily be regarded as evil, sinful, or bad is celebrated. Guess meekness really is not that much of a drawback if you are good at what you do, and ability is regarded as robust substitute for arrogance.
If arrogance is valued, but ability devoid of arrogance is not, we arrive at a society that promotes bad behaviors as ends in of themselves.
What then really is Meekness? Meekness is the virtue that, in context of interpersonal relationships which subsist at work, at home, or at play, regards every other person as equal in intrinsic worth. I illustrate importance of context of interpersonal relationships as follows.
Suppose a Senator helps craft a bill that celebrates equality of all within a country. In interactions with those whom the bill benefits, however, the Senator is seen to lack capacity for relating with such persons as equals in intrinsic worth. It perhaps is the case that the Senator ‘talks down’ to the people. The Senator means well, but has yet to acquire virtue of meekness. This does not necessarily imply the Senator is a pretender. Rather, can indicate the Senator has yet to arrive at either of the self reflection or self awareness, which reveals absence of virtue of meekness, and importance of acquisition of the virtue.
Doing good does not imply presence of virtue of meekness.
No one arrives at meekness by accident. Meekness is arrived at in context of consciousness of importance of the virtue.
Who then can be regarded to be a meek person? A meek husband does not attempt to induce his wife to feel subservient, merely because, financially, she is dependent on his income and wealth. When it comes to decision making, regardless of her financial dependence, a meek husband treats his wife like her voice, her opinion, equally is important.
A meek football or soccer coach does not refuse to alter his strategies, merely because sticking to his guns and succeeding brings most of the praise for team success to himself, the coach, as opposed to the players.
Post his term as coach of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson admits that until he was willing to accept that his success could depend on allowing room for his assistant coaches to influence team outcomes, that he struggled to be successful. Upon arrival at said release in his mind, his outcomes altered, and he began to win consistently. The economics of it? By observing his players in context of practices run by his assistants, Sir Ferguson arrived at broad insights in respect of either of individual players or the entire team — insights he likely would have missed had he continued to run practices himself.
The meekness of willingness to share the glory with his assistants transformed Sir Alex Ferguson into a consistent winner.
It is evident that Sir Ferguson demanded meekness from his soccer players. With all of the star players that starred at Manchester United — David Beckham, Ronaldo, Rooney, Andy Cole, Eric Cantona, Ferdinand etc. — there never was a sense that there was any prima donna on any of those teams. But then, only a meek coach — a coach willing to share the glory — is able to demand same sort of meekness from his players.
Meekness celebrates and makes use of a dependence on others that is natural and rational.
Many persons consider humility to be evident in willingness to greet others, and willingness to adopt customary postures for such greetings. In of itself, and until supported by more concrete evidence, all humility that is proferred in context of greetings and associated customary postures have character of ‘professed humility’. Professed humility can, in eventuality, turn out to be no more than ‘false humility’. In this respect, an African proverb asserts as follows.
A man may prostrate on the ground in context of a customary posture for greetings, but yet in his heart, he may in reality consider himself to be standing.
In American parlance, this is tantamount to a face to face ‘good to see you’ that is followed by a private after the fact mutter of ‘arsehole’.
In reality, true humility has nothing to do with greetings or customary postures for greetings. Rather, true humility believes that whatever he or she is today, he or she can be better than tomorrow. Given meekness has meaning only in context of interactions with others, in its focus on the self, true humility complements meekness.
If people do not treat each other as equals in intrinsic worth, rationality induces comparisons not with oneself, but with others. In absence of meekness then, it is natural and rational that people default to measuring themselves in relation to others.
In presence of meekness, all are equal in intrinsic worth, with outcome it becomes necessary, rational, and healthy for a person to measure progress in relation only to himself or herself. We arrive then at demand for true humility.
If one is to love others as oneself, every love given to others is replicated in the self. True humility is to the self what meekness is to the other that is loved.
Sprinters attest to robustness of essence of true humility. Only sprinters who focus on outdoing their own personal bests ever become world class sprinters or champions.
The ‘good book’, the Bible states complementarity of meekness and true humility in profound words (all citations to follow in my own paraphrase and with amplifications in brackets).
God resists the proud (those who look down on others), but He gives grace (power for becoming better) to the truly humble (because only the meek have capacity for true humility) — 1 Peter 5:5.
Truly humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due course He will exalt you (make you better) — 1 Peter 5:6.
The meek (those who treat their neighbors as equal in intrinsic worth) inherit the earth (because only the truly humble are able to better circumstances of life on earth)— Matthew 5:5.
Arrogance plus rivalry may work for you. Still, I believe meekness plus true humility not only works better, but makes for a more progressive (effect of true humility) and peaceful (effect of meekness) society for you and I.