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allenlondon | 07:37 Wed 25th Nov 2020 | Phrases & Sayings
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No, neither a phrase nor a saying.

Help me with this.

What is a precise (preferably one word) opposite of ‘hubris’? I know what it means, and I know its opposite, but none of the standard antonyms really fit the bill.



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modesty .humility
so many to choose from i would go with Modesty
Eg, so could I say Mr x has a degree of hubris?
there isnt one
this is the problem with saussure ( big shot linguist who said in 1905 "I know ! I will invent modern linguisitics!" - aaaaahh - he died and his students wrote the book)

there isnt one to one translation of words across a boundary ( but there is line or chain thro one word and its meaning in time)

and my fave
does hubris as in a play 500BC mean the same as in a ptolemaic document 10 AD ( you know the ones I dug up when I was on site in 1970) and how we use it ( short answer no)

correct way of acting - that the gods will punish if transgressed

hubridzw pretty constantly means insult which is not really connected with hubris

so - was Creon my uvva fave - who told Antigone not to bury her bruvva - polyneices (not nice) hubris ? as retold SOphocles 450 BC

well the unburied body is an affront to the gods above ( hoi theoi anw) and deprives hades ( gods below - hoi theoi katw) of their right to the dead
and so might well be hubris - esp when he buries her alive ( more hubris coming up)

but there isnt really a modern equiv - altho still a discussion ( the play that is!) over two thousand years

do you regret asking this question

years over the conflict of personal belief and law

I would go with timidity / temerity = = = = yes I know they are opposite

and boys and gurlz - if you go over the choices above and compare them to how possibly the ancient greeks looked on hubris

you will see none of them really fit
as predicted by one Fredy Saussure.
bit of trumpery there
two sides using one word - hubris and each side has a completely differnt meaning

like trump saying to the american public - "I will make you rich " meaning trump will make trump rich

and even in transition - I made you rich - - - meaning .....
I made myself ....

OR the big one coming up
Patten in 1997 saying he had negotiated Hong Kong as an autonomous area for fifty years when in fact it was a special economic area and was all along
so the chinee cd march in any time they wanted
didnt expect that did you?
Question Author
No, no regrets in asking it, PP.

I suspected the answer would be longer and more rambling than one well-chosen word.

I'm constantly aware of the possibility of hubris when I look on my various ailments and say "cor, that's doing well, ain't it?"...

I fight against it, as (even as a non-believer) I fear the gords will look down on Allen and say, "chummy, you're counting your chickens, try a bit of this instead..."

Thus, I try and be humble, be quietly thankful for small mercies, and creep along not putting my bits above the parapet.

And be thankful for small answers.

If your ailments are doing well remember thinking positively improves your immune response so it's a good thing. A religious friend puts it as being grateful is an acknowledgement of God's kindness ( a load of testicles of course) so don't worry about hubris, no gods to displease.
Question Author
Hello Rowan. Interesting. Yes, I’m sure positive thinking can help (although I think there are many serious illnesses where it wouldn’t do much good).

My inclination is more towards Buddhism, where the central tenet is ‘all things will pass’. Fair enough with a couple of leg ulcers, but the passing of (say) a brain tumour is likely to have a different outcome.

I’m not telling you anything new, I fear.

Ah well. When I feel hubris poking its head round the corner, I hope I can still recognise it (for the imposter it is, to borrow a bit of Kipling).

With kindness,

Allen, interesting that you should mention Buddhism.
I must admit that I've also been inclined in that direction - particularly Western Secular Buddhism which, in a way tries to bridge the gap between East and West.

Anyway... hubris.
I phoned a learned friend. Although, as already said, there is no direct opposite, the generally accepted concept is that of "Sophrosyne".,decorum%2C%20and%20self%2Dcontrol.

Stay smiling ;o)

Question Author
Hello Builder.

I like sophrosyne, although I doubt if I'll be chucking it into conversations much.

Peter? Any thoughts? I only ask as you're one of the few (very few) Greek scholars I 'know'.

Secular Buddhism. I understand the distinction, but isn't that what he was about, i.e. a secular form of philosophy, as opposed to the multi-deified Hinduism all around him?

Whatever. Sophrosyne will certainly fit my bill, when I'm about to get all proud and silly over a healing ulcer...

With metta,


Thank you builders fren;
// Peter? Any thoughts? I only ask as you're one of the few (very few) Greek scholars I 'know'.//

thanks builder's fren'

back to Antigone - these laws are sent from Zeus etc....
and just about to do a bit of Agamemnon - here I lie on a roof, on a year long watch like a dog ....
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Fren Peter.

I hope all here are frens, Peter, at least all those of good heart.

not sure if I agree with the merriam webster anto-nyms

wanna look at a Greek dictionary?
word is defined and then they look at ten instances of the use of the word - here we are looking at swfrosu/nh since I dont have gk keyboard
A.soundness of mind, prudence, discretion, Od.23.13; in pl., ib.30; the common form first in Thgn.379, 701, 1138, Epich.101; “αἰδὼς σωφροσύνης πλεῖστον μετέχει” Th.1.84; “ς. λαβεῖν” Id.8.64; sanity, opp. μανία, X.Mem. 1.1.16, cf. Act.Ap.26.25.

XMem is Xenphons Memorabilia - and then you kinda go and look in X Mem and see wht the use is - - - you do this for 3 y. - note μανία is offered as an opp of sophrosyne

but look ! eedoo !
act ap 26 25 - Liddell cites Acts of the Apostles - can this be true?
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.

εἰς µανίαν περιτρέπει. 25 ὁ δὲ Παῦλος, Οὐ
µαίνοµαι, φησίν, κράτιστε Φῆστε, ἀλλὰ ἀληθείας καὶ σωφροσύνης
ῥήµατα ἀποφθέγγοµαι.

I translate: you mad bebby - no rastus it all makes sense
( how like modern AB!) and µανίαν is used to oppose ἀληθείας καὶ σωφροσύνης
Question Author
What we need is a moderator.
Question Author
Yes Aunt Polly, humility comes close, but do read The Builder’s link re. sophrosyne, as it comes even closer.

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