The Magnificence of the Peacock and its lessons on Hubris

in hive-106444 •  11 days ago 


Hey, people! I joined the community a while ago and hadn't posted anything. I was thinking of a way to introduce myself to everyone in style, and this week I thought perhaps flamboyance is in order! Also, it gives me the opportunity to share a bit of a dissertation on pride and vanity.

Here in my hometown, we have a estate-turned-cultural-center called La Estancia. It's in the middle of one of the city's busiest areas and it's wonderful. Even though it's right beside a main street, it's silent and peaceful, green and full of colorful flowers. In the past few years they've started caring for hens and geese, but they also have two gorgeous peacocks who are very well adjusted to their environment and absolutely LOVE posing for visitors.

This is one of them, his name is Margarito. I took these during an event last year organized by the Indian Embassy, so the place was full of people and this handsome guy rejoiced in the attention. Sometimes he went off to hide in the bushes, but it was always a halfhearted attempt, he made sure to stay within range of every camera around, which allowed for some spectacular shots of his plumage.



Just look at these shiny colors, like bejeweled waterfalls! No wonder why these glorious birds were revered in ancient times, they must've been considered heralds of divinity. They're also quite good at killing snakes, you know. They don't like them one bit and won't suffer their presence in their territory. Having a couple around a village in the middle of thick wilderness was a blessing of protection against the venomous threat.



As you know, the beauty of a peacock's feathers is a reproductive tool. While males of other species dance in front of their mates or fight each other for the right to sire offspring, these creatures merely spread their awesome tails (seeing them do it is a pleasure in itself,) and the female inspects them closely to see if there are flaws of design and positioning, wouldn't do for the kids to share such blemishes, after all. The ultimate purpose of this dashing explosion of hues is passing on the genes.

This brings me to a core philosophical dilemma: the question of Hubris. There's a great quote by a character in HBO's Westworld, Dr. Robert Ford, played by the master Sir Anthony Hopkins, which encloses the topic quite well:

“I read a theory once that the human intellect was like peacock feathers. Just an extravagant display intended to attract a mate. All of art, literature, a bit of Mozart, William Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and the Empire State Building. Just an elaborate mating ritual. Maybe it doesn’t matter that we have accomplished so much for the basest of reasons. But, of course, the peacock can barely fly. It lives in the dirt, peeking insects out of the muck, consoling itself with its great beauty."

In this quote, Dr. Ford is referring to human pride, to the pointlessness of insolence, but also to the fact that dreaming of exaltation isn't meaningful in itself. We can have great plans and speak of elevated, enlightened power, but if we lack the courage to open our wings and face the unknown, if we don't make use of our talents and skills to materialize our ambitions and walk the walk, then we'll just be trapped in our illusions with nothing to show for it.

Hubris is a peculiar thing. In ancient myths and the most recognizable biblical stories, such as that of the Tower of Babel, or in John Milton's Paradise Lost, it's almost invariably associated with defiance against a higher power, with the consequences of rebellion. However, excessive modesty can also be an expression of hubris, one that's much harder to see, acknowledge and deal with, because it's Ego dressed in humble garments. Whenever we tell ourselves that we're not good enough for a task, that we're not meant to be with someone or doing something; whenever we try to remain small and restrict our vision, hiding from the spotlight, we might actually be running away from responsibility and commitment, and we may end up wasting our skills and our time, when we could embrace our Purpose honestly.

I can tell you that being frank with my own qualities and abilities has made it a lot easier for me to accept my flaws and do something about them. And living in a country battered by a thuggish regime, with poor internet, serious failures in water and electricity services, a healthcare system in ruins, a national currency in hyperinflation for the past three years, and a seven-year long economic recession, aside from all sorts of other ailments, I can also tell you that regardless of contextual limitations, you can always embrace who and what you are fully, and there's no greater Joy than that.

So shed your vain modesty, it'll yield you nothing. Be flamboyant! Do the things you love no matter what others think about them. Exercise your power to change and to create! Be like Margarito. He's not ashamed at all of his tail, and I don't think he cares one bit about being unable to fly.


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What wonderful photos and such a thoughtful post! That Westworld quote really puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?
I am certainly glad to see this post from you in the #featheredfriends community.

Thank you! I was wondering how to use those pictures, they were kind of just sitting there in my Lightroom catalog.

And yes, that quote is one of the best, but there are many more. That show is packed with wisdom!

Fly birdie, fly !

The soul loves the crisis situations of the ego.
This is development for the soul.

Amazing pictures, thank you for sharing 🙏🦚☀️

Thank you! 😊

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