Humility: A Needed Balance

On early modern philosophers and online trolls

Tucker Lieberman
10 min readFeb 21, 2024


Human silhouette has a transparent shadow over a rainbow spiral background
Anonymity by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There’s a self-defeating irony in declaring that you are humble and in judging that someone else is not.

“The ‘I,’ even just to say ‘I think,’ is a lit fuse…”

If you intend to be humble, there’s a tension in saying or drawing attention to any detail whatsoever about yourself. How can a fully humble person say anything about the world? Any observation or analysis you make inevitably comes from your perspective.

The “I,” even just to say “I think,” is a lit fuse, never mind if the purpose is just to say “therefore I am.”

If you hope to be admired and lauded for being humble, well, go back to the drawing board on that one.

Sometimes, a Troll Warns You to be Humble

I’ve been approached by online commenters who try to exploit this tension.

More than once, an anonymous account has tried to start an argument with me by putting forth some untenable position, and, when I calmly provide a few rational arguments to the contrary, the reply is: Have you noticed that some people are arrogant and others humble? Which do you believe you are? The troll here pretends to teach me some proper opinion…



Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time."