The proud try to forge their own way and light their own paths. Isaiah stated: “Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand – ye shall lie down in sorrow” (2 Ne. 7:11). When people try to walk by the light of their own conceit, they will always stumble. The light of Christ is perpetual while the sparks of the proud are merely ephemeral. “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him” (Job 18:5-6). The proud do not turn to the Lord for strength. Their sparks are short-lived. The prideful “[turn] out of the way of righteousness, and…trample under their feet the commandments of God, and…turn unto their own ways, and…build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver” (Hel. 6:31). Turning to another analogy from Isaiah, “shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?” (2 Ne. 20:15). We axes and saws have no reason to boast. The Book of Mormon king Benjamin spoke much on that subject: “Of what have ye to boast? And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you” (Mosiah 2:24-25).
Another facet of pride causes us to be focused inwardly on ourselves. Those who are prideful do sometimes turn their thoughts outward. However, when the prideful turn outward they merely look down their noses at others, seeing only the worst in others while viewing themselves as better than those around them. Pres. Benson stated: “Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention” (Ensign, May 1986, p.4-). Pride is not about having things or talents or money, it’s about having more than others and making sure they know that. C.S. Lewis explained this concept: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10; as cited in Benson, Ensign, May 1989, p.4-). There is a condition called anosognosia that is occasionally occurs after brain injury or in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Anosognosia literally means without knowledge of disease. People with this condition are not aware of their deficits and usually deny any problems. Specific areas and connections in their brains are damaged, destroying the ability for them to have that self-insight, or self-awareness of their deficits. The proud have a similar problem. They cannot see their faults or their sins. They deny any problems and only see faults in others. However, unlike those with anosognosia, the proud do not have an excuse for their lack of self-awareness – it is a choice they make.