arrogance

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I don't have nearly as much of a problem with arrogant people now as I used to.  I used to take their arrogance personally, as if it meant something to me when an arrogant person treated me as an inferior.  Now, though, I realize that arrogance is merely a mask for people who feel even more inferior than I do.  The only way they've learned of compensating for their own insecurities is to put others down, to try to make them feel like crap, so that they can feel better themselves.  Redfield touches on this dynamic in The Celestine Prophecy--by putting others down, they're draining energy from them, and taking it for themselves.

I don't give them the satisfaction any longer.  An arrogant person can't make me feel bad any more, because it's so easy to see through them once you know that they're faking it.  They've put on this mask because they fear that others will see through them, will understand that no, they're not happy.  I see arrogance as a sad state now, a state in which people try to hide behind their money or their breeding or their social standing or their positions of "power," but a state in which they'll never be able to let their true selves shine through.

The film Regarding Henry gives a glimpse of what could happen if one sort of arrogance-- the power-based kind --were taken away, and a man were to allow his own fundamental honesty shine through.  Of course we could enter into an hours-long discourse about his diminished mental capabilities, but we don't need to do so.  

Fundamentally, Henry (Harrison Ford) becomes a happier man because he no longer needs to hide behind the power of his position in order to make himself feel better.

It's interesting that Hollywood so often equates humility with diminished mental powers.  I read an interesting column about the parallels between Regarding Henry and Forrest Gump, in which the author examined the fact that two Hollywood heroes of the same year were basically shown as not very intelligent, to be diplomatic.  The beauty of these two films is in the lack of arrogance of the characters, not in their mental abilities.  Robin Williams regularly makes films about nice men who are doing their best to live life, without being arrogant.  In his films, the arrogant people are often shown as the weak people they truly are.   (The exception is Mrs. Doubtfire, in which his character is so arrogant that he never sees the harm he's caused his family, and even blames his current situation on his wife, who stuck by him as long as she could through his broken promises and lack of responsibility.)

In the world of literature, possibly the most effective arrogant character ever created is Ivan Ilych, in Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych."  This is a man who married because it was the right thing to do, who started to stay out with his friends because his family started annoying him, who loved the power of the bench (he was a judge), but who comes to the end of his life and finally admits to himself:  It was all wrong.  Everything he ever did--his whole life--was wrong.  His funeral, at which his friends wonder who's going to get his job and his wife complains that she won't be able to live on the pension she'll receive, is incredibly painful.  Ilych is very similar to Dickens' Scrooge, but Scrooge gets a second chance, an opportunity to change his ways.  Ilych sees the light, but only upon his death bed when it's too late to do anything about it.

Be arrogant if you wish.  Look down on others and treat them poorly, if you wish.  But realize that if you do so, you're only allowing your own inner weaknesses to shine through, and you're not fooling anyone.  Not the people around you, who hold you in disdain, not the God who made you and loves you and knows all about you, and not yourself.

And for those who must deal with arrogance on a regular basis, please keep in mind that arrogant people treat you poorly only because they're needier than you, and they haven't yet admitted to themselves that they are needy.  They need and deserve your compassion, not your anger.

   

Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

Arabian proverb

 

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How great some people would be if they were not arrogant.

The Talmud

  
Arrogance is the obstruction of wisdom.

Bion of Smyrna

   
  

When people are most sure and arrogant, they are commonly
the most mistaken, and have then given views to passion,
without that proper deliberation and suspense which can
alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.

David Hume

   

  

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Anyone who does not exercise compassion is ignorant of the reality
that everyone needs it at some time in life; or we forget that someone
has blessed us with compassion at a time when we needed it.  That is
the smallness of arrogance.  It is a disease of the soul.  It can be highly
contagious.  Ignorance is its carrier.  It ravages the souls of those who
think there is no reality beyond themselves.  Those who suffer from the
smallness of arrogance think that ill fortune is the fault of those who
suffer it; that good fortune is a privilege that belongs to them.  Whatever
path you take, Grandson, do not succumb to arrogance and endanger your soul.

Joseph M. Marshall III

   
   

Early in my career, I had to choose between an honest arrogance
and a hypercritical humility.  I deliberately choose an
honest arrogance, and I've never been sorry.

Frank Lloyd Wright

  

Arrogance is a creature.  It does not have senses.
It has only a sharp tongue and the pointing finger.

Toba Beta

   
When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to
judging others and narrow the vision of God.  The roads to righteousness
and arrogance are parallel roads that can intersect each other several times
throughout a person's life.  Itís often hard to recognize one road from
another.  What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved
with the love of humanity.  The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.

Shannon L. Alder
   

   

There is a wicked and pervading arrogance loose on the earth,
like a rabid beast, an overdog.  Does it run, does it slouch, does
its name have a number?  The beast preaches contempt, for that's
what arrogance says:  that nothing is real but itself, and the bone
and blood of another's being are insubstantial as breath.

Kelly Cherry

   
   
When you judge anotherís religion then your beliefs are finally judged,
humility sets in.  At this point, God smiles because he finally got you to
recognize arrogance.  Blessed is the person that steps outside their
beliefs for one day to absorb a different perspective on life.  From that
perspective you will not only learn about others but finally see your true self.

Shannon L. Alder
   

Nobody who is somebody looks down on anybody.

Margaret Deland

   

The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.

Edmund Burke

   
Arrogance really comes from insecurity, and in the end our feeling
that we are bigger than others is really the flip side
of our feeling that we are smaller than others.

Desmond Tutu
Believe
   

Arrogance, boastfulness, and the overestimation of our abilities
reflects underdeveloped self-esteem rather than, as some
people imagine, too much self-esteem.

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day

   

   

The opposite of humility is arrogance--the belief that we are wiser
or better than others.   Arrogance promotes separation rather than
community.  It looms like a brick wall between us
and those from whom we could learn.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life

   
   

  




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