Monday, July 25, 2011

Arrogance: Can It Ever Be Constructive?

Webster defines arrogance as a feeling of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims. Has there ever been an instance in which an attitude of superiority has contributed to a resolution that was fair and beneficial to all?
In fact, isn't history replete with examples of just the opposite, i.e. destructiveness? Some of these are: the Crusades; the Inquisitions; the holocaust; the execution of Socrates, Jan Hus, and hundreds of others during the 15th to 17th centuries when the Crown rulers of England moved back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism. Also, isn't the act of capital punishment possible only if those who carry it out can maintain a feeling of superiority? If the guilty party were your brother, could you pull the executioner's switch?

If arrogance is never constructive, why do we persist in frequently being arrogant? The celebration of victory in war, and the observance of patriotism, are times when it is easy to be arrogant. Can we learn to do these things without promoting an air of superiority? It might be worth a try. If we can do this, it should certainly help to put us, and our leaders, in a constructive frame of mind when discussing world affairs. It should help to build trust between nations if arrogance is removed from the scene. If we were to see ourselves as brothers and sisters worldwide, would there be any place for arrogance?

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