This post will be about my interpretations of a deterministic world, all which is meant to be read in the philosophical context. As a determinist, I reject the notion of free will and consequently; pride. First, I will attack the more common notions of pride, and then I would like to address a more literal form of the word.
You should not be proud to be an American or non-American, male or female, or even gay or straight, because these things simply are not accomplishments. This is not to be confused with me saying you shouldn’t be happy with who you are. I can be at peace with the fact I am a male, without being “proud” of it in the sense mentioned above. This is the result of acknowledging equality.
Many of us can agree on the above mentioned form of pride being obsolete, but the next argument I am going to make presupposes much about determinism, and many do not agree with me. I want to argue that pride itself—pride of any form—is obsolete.
If there is no free will, then in the philosophical and deterministic sense, one cannot be held accountable for his actions. Many acknowledge one side of this theory, but often neglect the other side. With no free will, not only can you not be blamed for your actions that we interpret as bad, but you also cannot be praised for your actions we interpret as good. This is not to say bad actions become morally permissible, but that there is no agent separate from the rest of the natural world who can be held accountable (natural law itself is to be held accountable for all actions, bad or good).
Common rebuttals include, “But if I work hard for something and I achieve it, I have the right to be proud of my hard work. This sets me apart from someone who is not willing to work hard.” In a casual conversation I would not have an issue with this statement, but in a philosophical one, I must be pedantic and dissent.
The individual does not choose to be willing to work hard, and it is this willingness that will guide the course of the next action. If someone had your drive for achievement combined with your talents (something else beyond what is concerned with volition), the same results would occur. To be proud of your accomplishments is to imply you are somehow better because of your arrangement of atoms. It would be better to be satisfied with your atoms, not proud.
A lack of free will results in total equality. Interpret this however you will, but I interpret it as a call to universal love. No matter how angry I am at another person, I acknowledge they are a product of their environment and conditioning, and had I been put in the same exact situations as them with their exact mental and physical configurations, the outcome would remain the same. This gives me no rational reason to hate anyone, or praise anyone.
We are all equal, in the sense that we are all insignificant.