Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Arrogance Slapped

Ar"ro*gance\, n. [F., fr. L. arrogantia, fr. arrogans. See Arrogant.] The act or habit of arrogating, or making undue claims in an overbearing manner; that species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; proud contempt of others; lordliness; haughtiness; self-assumption; presumption. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

There are many negative traits that humans are prone to display. One (of many) that annoys me considerably is arrogance. There are far too many people walking thinking and acting like they are better than someone else. Far too many groups thinking and acting like they are better than others. Religions feed on this and exacerbate it by telling people they're special, they're chosen and therefore better than those who are not part of their group. Individuals display arrogance about their job, their intellect, their appearance, their sexual prowess, their whatever and they even gather together in cliques and groups with other like-minded holier-than-thou people. Academic institutions and exclusive clubs with their noses in the air. Sports teams doing childish happy dances in the end zone and hoisting that trophy for all to see. Countries do it too. The US certainly has caused itself some trouble by resolutely believing that we are the best and insisting that the rest of the world needs to follow.

Humility is sorely lacking. It's unfortunately about as common these days as sense and courtesy. There's nothing wrong with being capable and confident but confidence that isn't tempered with humility crosses the line into arrogance. If you want a fine example of the kind of quiet capable humility that I'm talking about go talk to a World War II veteran, or for that matter almost anyone that lived through that era and participated in the achievements of that generation. I doubt you'll hear much bragging.

One of the biggest, grandest examples of human arrogance comes from those who look into the night sky while contemplating our existence, the meaning of life and our place in the Universe and come to the conclusion that we are the only life to be found. Those that firmly believe that Earth was blessed by God and that life sprang up here and nowhere else. Ludicrous. Utterly ludicrous. A friend sent me this video yesterday. It helps to put things into perspective. It makes you realize just how small we really are and that maybe we should be displaying something other than arrogance. Humility maybe?


Kitty said...

Amen to all that - every single word of it. I couldn't agree more. I wonder what it feels like to be one of those people who consider themselves better than me/you/anyone else? Do you think it makes them happy?


Bruce, a work in progress said...

Thanks Kitty. I don't know if it makes tham happy but I think it makes them feel powerful. For a little while anyway. I think most of it is borne out of insecurity and putting someone else down elevated them, at least in their mind.
I hope you and the smalls are getting on alright. Hugs.

Mike said...

I think a lot of those people are kind of like the Jesus folks. If we were to find life out there, we would have to re-arrange our whole Jesus story wouldn't we?

Malach the Merciless said...

To me it might be Hubris, not arrogance, cool video

Bruce, a work in progress said...

I think we'd have to rearrange a lot of things Mike.

Mal, they're cousins.

Malicious Intent said...

I really do not get folks who are so arrogant to think that they are more special than anyone else on this planet OR living on the only piece of habitable realestate in the cosmos.

We are a mess as a species. I really hope somewhere out there someone got it right!