Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically part of us, while self-esteem is derived from the potentialities and achievements of self. We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions. There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise of potentiality in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection. It is true, however, that when pride releases energies and serves as a spur to achievement, it can lead to reconciliation with the self and the attainment of genuine self-esteem.

The autonomous individual is stable only so long as he is possessed of self-esteem. The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual's power and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day. When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity. He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into a pursuit of pride, the explosive substitute for self-esteem. All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.

So, we acquire a sense of self worth either by realizing our talents, or by keeping busy or by identifying ourselves with something apart from us -- be it a cause, a leader, a group, possessions or whatnot. The path of self-realization is the most difficult. It is taken only when avenues to a sense of worth are more or less blocked. Men of talent have to be encouraged and goaded to engage in creative work. Their groans and laments echo through the ages.

Action is the high road to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people and its rewards are tangible. The cultivation of the spirit is elusive and difficult and the tendency toward it is rarely spontaneous, whereas, the opportunities for action are many.

The propensity to action is symptomatic of an inner unbalance. To be balanced is to be more or less at rest. Action is at the bottom -- a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat. And if it is true, as Napoleon wrote to Carnot, "The art of governance is not to let men grow stale," then, it is an art of unbalancing. The crucial difference between a totalitarian regime and a free social order is, perhaps, in the methods of unbalancing by which their people are kept active and striving.

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents as well.

The times of drastic change are times of passions. We can never be fit and ready for that which is wholly new. We have to adjust ourselves and every radical adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem: we undergo a test; we have to prove ourselves. A population subject to drastic change is, thus, a population of misfits, and misfits live and breathe in an atmosphere of passion.