Now, “the trait that would most likely bring you to arrogance and
self-aggrandizement”, Ramchal offers, “would be wisdom” (which is the
capacity to use one’s broad knowledge to make good judgments). And that is
so because wisdom “is a personal trait that is in a special part of
yourself, your mind”. In other words, anyone blessed with a good mind is
bound to feel he’s especially gifted in the realm that counts the most, so
he must be very important.
(It is interesting to note that Ramchal does not bother citing being proud
of one’s wealth, status, reputation or the like -- all of which matter so
much to much to us today, since we think that they’re rooted “in a special
part of [ourselves]”, our ego and our social status. But it’s clear that he
didn’t consider any of that worth being arrogant about anyway, so why bother
But, being proud of one’s wisdom would be absurd, Ramchal points out. For,
“there’s no wise person who's never made a mistake” despite his
understanding; and there’s no wise person who “couldn’t learn from his
colleagues or even from his students”. So, “how could one ever boast of his
wisdom”, knowing all that?
In fact, he underscores, “someone whose intellect is greater than another's
is only acting in a way that comes naturally to him, the way a bird would
just naturally fly and an ox would naturally be able to pull with his brute
strength”, so being bright and proud about that would be like being able to
breathe and taking pride in that. And it is also true in fact that “those
who are not as naturally wise as yourself … could train themselves to be” if
they really wanted to. So “you have no reason to be proud or to boast” about
Furthermore, “if you are indeed a great sage, then it is incumbent upon you
to teach others” with your gifts, just the way one would be expected to be
charitable if he were wealthy, or to rescue people in trouble if he is
strong, and the like. In fact, “there’s no place for personal pride” where
any of this is concerned, as one would simply be doing what’s expected of
him and utilizing his gifts as he should.
Ramchal concludes the point by declaring in fact that "one would only be
taken as truly humble once all of this becomes manifestly clear to him", for
then “he'd be humble in his heart and in his inner-being”, which matters most.