Thursday, November 30

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”
—Thomas Merton

Today’s Excerpt:

What person or fictional character shows humility? How are they humble?

The ancient Greeks told many stories about this concept — specifically about what they called hubris (excessive pride). One of the most famous stories from this wisdom tradition is the story of Icarus.

Daedalus (pronounced “Dayda-lus”), a renowned inventor, was imprisoned on the top of a tower with his son Icarus. After languishing in prison for some time, Daedalus invented an idea to escape: He and his son would fly away like birds. He crafted two pairs of enormous wings with feathers and wax and attached them to himself and his son.

As they prepared to fly from the prison cell, Daedalus told Icarus not to fly too close to the sea (because the fog would weigh him down) or too close to the sun (because the sun would melt the wax and detach the wings).

But Icarus, so overcome with the joy of flight and so certain of his own abilities, immediately ignored his father’s advice. He flew higher and higher — toward the gods — and as he did the wax melted, just as his father had warned. The feathers fell from his body, and he plunged into the sea below and drowned.