21 octobre 2006

Dans la solitude et l'obscurité, le surmoi est absent, mis en veilleuse alors le moi s'exprime librement, ...

Hubris( üβρις), according to its modern usage, is exaggerated pride or self-confidence, often resulting in fatal retribution. In Ancient Greek hubris referred to actions taken in order to shame the victim, thereby making oneself seem superior.

Aristotle defined hubris as follows:

Hubris consists in doing or saying things that cause shame to the victim,
not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has
happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the
requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its
cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own
superiority the greater.

Crucial to this definition are the ancient Greek concepts of honor (timē) and shame. The concept of timē included not only the exaltation of the one receiving honor, but also the shaming of the one overcome by the act of hubris. This concept of honor is akin to a zero-sum game.

Hubris was a crime in classical Athens. Violations of the law against hubris ranged from what might today be termed assault and battery, to sexual assault, to the theft of public or sacred property. Two well-known cases are found in the speeches of Demosthenes; first, when Meidias punched Demosthenes in the face in the theater (Against Meidias). The second (Against Konon) involved a defendant who allegedly assaulted a man and crowed over the victim like a fighting cock. In the second case it is not so much the assault that is evidence of hubris as the insulting behavior over the victim.

An early example of "hubris" in Greek literature are the suitors of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey. They are eventually made to pay for their presumptuous encroachments on the household of Odysseus.

Hubris is often said to be the "hamartia" ("error") of characters in Greek tragedy, and the cause of the "nemesis" (nemesis), or destruction, which befalls these characters. However, tragedy represents only a small proportion of occurrences of hubris in Greek literature, and for the most part hubris refers to infractions by mortals against other mortals. Therefore, it is now generally agreed that the Greeks did not generally think of hubris as a religious matter, still less that it was normally punished by the gods.

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of knowledge, interest in, and exploration of history, combined with a lack of humility. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and Nemesis in the Greek world and the proverb "pride goes before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris.

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