Identifying Arrogance

I think one of the funniest parts about arrogance is that arrogant people will make wild assertions without evidence or reasoning and if you challenge them on it they will call you arrogant! mwah! Beautiful! It’s funny but also annoying because there are a lot of consequences for everyone around who has to deal with it.

How much time do people really have to go and research a topic in-depth, consider how those ideas and concepts effect their life, and then to change their story if the evidence and logic contradict their previous belief?

A famous and hilarious quote from The Pricess Bride:

[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

In more ways than one that quote and scene depict the horror of arrogance in people. Their arrogance is like cutting the rope, a lifeline, to people that would talk about truth thus challenging their false beliefs. I believe one of their biggest fears is about being found out as false and feeling that deep humiliation. The rope must be cut in order to avoid that pain. Using words in a mealy-mouthed way where the meaning is perverted or nonsensical is their hallmark. And lastly, it’s obvious to some people who watch in confusion when it happens.

Some research has been done on the topic where it was discovered that less intelligent people are suffering from false superiority. In their work titled the Dunning-Kruger Effect 1 2 3 they discovered that incompetent people will rate themselves as more competent than they are while the opposite is true for people who really know what they are doing. If it’s true it’s a truly awful situation.

But, lets go back and discuss what the meaning of the word arrogant is. Several searches revealed these related phrases which describe it.

1.) having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities
2.) making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights
3.) overbearingly assuming
4.) insolently proud

I would add a few more ways to describe it:

5.) false superiority
6.) self-congratulatory while factually wrong

I’m not a psychologist but I would like to see if I can make a case for where it comes from emotionally. I must have witnessed thousands of times adults talking about things they really had no clue about when I was a child. As terrifying as that was I would keep asking questions about inconsistencies in their stories. Wouldn’t you know I received snarls and accusations of disrespect and insubordination. I believed in my youth that my parents and others really wanted to know the truth. My intuition was that they were having some difficulty from swallowing whole the propaganda they’d been force fed as a child and then reinforced as an adult later on.

I would witness almost all adults repeating beliefs forced on them as child as if it were true like God, unquestioning obedience, and political rants as if they were an expert. While trying to understand the stories I would ask questions so I could understand it logically. That infuriates the arrogant because what they want is for you to accept their narcissistic personality download. If you do not accept the endless stream of anecdotes and false opinions they will go on the offensive.

It’s quite fundamental to hierarchical dominance for the practitioner to never have examined any of the beliefs they have. Next they want to perpetuate them by forcing the opinions on children. Because children can’t leave and find more reasonable parents and in any conflict all cowards side with the abuser the child is forced to deal with it. Other adults around do not usually side with the child in any disagreement. I think the way kids deal with it is to develop strong psychological defenses for employ that correspond to the abuse being heaped on.

Arrogance begets arrogance and I think that naiveté is also strongly related. I think naivety is the flip side where the victim ignores the evidence that the people around them do not value truth, respect evidence, reasoning, and to repeat the pattern will engage with fools in order to avoid the suffering and mourning of the cause.

In my own time I have suffered from having to listen to idiots who had power over me proclaim deep wisdom and especially moral knowledge. Also, each courageous person who is open and honest with me about their childhood reports the same pattern. It’s a deep and confusing issue to deal with for each person I’ve listened to. Those who deal with the underlying cause escape the pattern while those who ignore it sink deeper into foolishness.

A sad factor to behold about the world we live in is that the majority opinion is a profitable one to maintain. Turn on the popular entertainment and bare witness to the reinforcement of false beliefs. No underlying, fundamental, issues are ever questioned and they never will be on that format. If they did, their audience would stampede away to whoever will parrot back what feels good in the moment while sacrificing the future. The humiliation that the arrogant face is too much for them to bare. Their continued abuse and barbarian subjugation of children is the fuel for society’s burning husk.

How many products and services out there exist to help reinforce people’s stupidity and to help them dull away the creeping of reason back into their mind?

The medicine for arrogance is self knowledge. If a person seeks to know their motivation behind holding firm to falsehoods they can begin the process of healing. After a long and painful process of healing that person can join in a rational discussion. Few will take that medicine. Even fewer will accept responsibility for the harm they’ve caused others in their rampage towards acquiring the maximum allowed ignorance.

At this point I’m still trying to understand how pervasive of a quality arrogance is within our world. Later on I would like to explore further ways to illuminate those dark and false positions so that fewer victims are produced. Our world needs wisdom, not stupid, irrational, and emotionally avoidant strategies for remaining ignorant.

Author Tony Crowe, Salt Lake City, UT
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