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it takes arrogance to use the word "arrogant"  RSS feed

 
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I wish to express "if you post anything to the internet, you are arrogant."  Is it perfectly true?  What might be the exception?  

The only way to have zero arrogance is to be truly humble - and this means that you say nothing.  Your utter humility means that you are confident that you have nothing of value to say.  Nobody will value your words.   Therefore, my typing this post proves that I am arrogant - I am making the less-than-humble assumption that somebody will care about what I have to say.

This statement evokes the concept that we have degrees of arrogance.  How some arrogance is minor and some is major.   That person is more arrogant than the other person.

Then we might choose to measure arrogance based on how right or wrong a person is.  A person can be right and horribly arrogant.  But if a person is wrong, they appear to be far more arrogant.  That opens the door to absolutes with right and wrong and whether the position is permitted to be subjective.  

All this is to say, I think when we are trying to solve our problems, we might get there faster and smoother if we choose to not use the word "arrogant".  After all, you cannot utter the word without being guilty of the crime yourself.

Perhaps the word "arrogant" is one of those words that best serves us when used for personal growth only?  We can question our own arrogance and contemplate the balance between arrogance and humilty.  Can one teach or help or share without arrogance?  Might we all be surprised that more arrogance is more effective?  Are there infinite flavors of arrogance worth considering for maximum efficiency?

Will anybody dare to reply to this post?  


 
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We are all a 'work in progress.'  As they say; "A Gardeners work is never done."
 
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Well, if you're looking for a reply. ..

I respectfully posit that there is a fault in your premise:

"Your utter humility means that you are confident that you have nothing of value to say. "

One must distinguish between one's self and one's message. You may consider yourself to be the scum of the earth, but have such confidence in the import of your message that you must share it. This would be, on the contrary, the epitome of humility--that is, service to your fellow human.

Humility and arrogance are distinguished by purpose for sharing the message. Which, as you rightly point out, can only be known by the individual herself.

 
paul wheaton
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Your position is that it would not be arrogant to share if the intent is humble.  What happens if such a person shares and an observer says "what an arrogant douchebag!"  

Is arrogance determined by the accused or the accusor?

Is arrogance relative?

Is arrogance subjective?


I respectfully posit that there is a fault in your premise



I respectfully posit that my premise remains unscathed.  


 
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While I expect there could be intentional arrogance from a speaker ("I'll show those dummies how little they know!"), the perception of arrogance is going to usually come from the audience/those who see the message, and would depend on their interpretation of the message.

We as humans communicate with each other, it's part of our social fabric. The internet is the latest medium created for facilitating communication. So using the internet to post thoughts/ideas/opinions is no more arrogant than the words being expressed verbally. It's up to each recipient of those words to decide if the speaker is arrogant, and everyone has a different perspective/background from which they make those decisions.

I would also offer that just as our personalities are being mapped/diagnosed as part of one or more spectrums, where people express and interpret data in significantly different ways, our perception of arrogance is also likely to vary greatly based on where the speaker and listener are located within that/those spectrum(s).

Hopefully all this doesn't sound arrogant (grin), but in my opinion asking if ""if you post anything to the internet, you are arrogant."  Is it perfectly true?" would most certainly fail as it's an absolute statement (perfectly true) referring to such a flexible/dynamic interaction. Are there arrogant posts made on the internet? In my opinion, some absolutely are. Others aren't intended to be, but are interpreted as being so due to the limited format and/or poor writing skills. We humans interpret a lot of meaning from voice inflection and facial expression, and combined with words can result in totally different meanings.

We lose a lot of those cues when typing, so what might make sense to me and seem reasonable might come off as rude, arrogant, or demeaning to someone else.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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paul wheaton wrote:Your position is that it would not be arrogant to share if the intent is humble.  What happens if such a person shares and an observer says "what an arrogant douchebag!"  

Is arrogance determined by the accused or the accusor?

Is arrogance relative?

Is arrogance subjective?


I respectfully posit that there is a fault in your premise



I respectfully posit that my premise remains unscathed.  



Brilliant.

If the intent is to serve another, then it is not arrogant. But if it seems arrogant to some, and that comes to my attention, than humility would have me change my approach in order to actually serve. If I don't, then my intention is not really to serve but to promote myself.

However, I would not put too much stock in isolated accusations on the Internet as an accurate indication of one's character.
 
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If someone has something interesting to say, I don't care if they are arrogant, self-righteous and overbearing. I can overlook those things. There's lots of other negative qualities that I often overlook. It's the only way my family can function.
 
paul wheaton
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If the intent is to serve another, then it is not arrogant. But if it seems arrogant to some, and that comes to my attention, than humility would have me change my approach in order to actually serve. If I don't, then my intention is not really to serve but to promote myself.  



I think you are saying:

    if you say you are humble and the observer agrees, then you are humble.

    if you say you are humble and the observer says you are arrogant, then you are arrogant.

It sounds like the final summary is that arrogance/humility is determined by the observer.  ??

 
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Nathanael Szobody wrote: But if it seems arrogant to some, and that comes to my attention, than humility would have me change my approach in order to actually serve.



What if the accusation of "arrogance" is leveled at the act of expressing oneself at all?  That the mere act of attempting to express is itself seen as "arrogant"?  How can one change one's approach if any approach at all is deemed "arrogant"?

It seems to me that the only "humble" approach is not to approach at all, in this case.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think much of what has been written on the accusation of greed, could also apply to arrogance. If you aren't doing what people want, and being somebody's bitch, they are going to find ways of suggesting that you are less than perfect. It's even happened to humble, quiet and always respectful, me.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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paul wheaton wrote:

I think you are saying:

    if you say you are humble and the observer agrees, then you are humble.

    if you say you are humble and the observer says you are arrogant, then you are arrogant.

It sounds like the final summary is that arrogance/humility is determined by the observer.  ??



Hehe. I'm saying that the appearance of arrogance can hinder communication. All depends on how effective you want to be.

Tyler Ludens wrote:

What if the accusation of "arrogance" is leveled at the act of expressing oneself at all?  That the mere act of attempting to express is itself seen as "arrogant"?  



I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. We've got too many interesting and important things to communicate about.

Again, it's a question of social permaculture: are you, by your communication, contributing helpfully and appropriately to your ecosystem? Are you serving the whole? I like hearing what you have to say anyway.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Nathanael Szobody wrote: I'm saying that the appearance of arrogance can hinder communication. All depends on how effective you want to be.

Tyler Ludens wrote:

What if the accusation of "arrogance" is leveled at the act of expressing oneself at all?  That the mere act of attempting to express is itself seen as "arrogant"?  



I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. We've got too many interesting and important things to communicate about.  



To me your comments to Paul and me seem contradictory. My question is - what if just saying something "appears arrogant" to the audience?  "I won't listen to that Ludi because she is an arrogant bitch." Then it seems as if, from what you say, one is unable to communicate effectively.  If one is attempting to communicate effectively, it's going to get mighty frustrating (and I might lose sleep over it) if the message is getting lost because of the appearance of arrogance as soon as one opens one's mouth.  How does one craft a message specifically to avoid the appearance of arrogance?  Especially if arrogance as a personality trait has already been established?  ("Arrogance" in this case might be just being outspoken on certain topics.)

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:How does one craft a message specifically to avoid the appearance of arrogance?  Especially if arrogance as a personality trait has already been established?  ("Arrogance" in this case might be just being outspoken on certain topics.)



Not sure if it would constitute some sort of "reflexivity" in a speech pattern or writing style, but perhaps include as much as possible the flavoring phrases like "..at least in my experience..." or "....at least that is the observation..." and sometimes just "....to me..".  

Easy example:  "It's too hot to plant the garden today!....'  might change to "It's too hot for me to plant the garden today..."

More difficult example:  "Rocket mass heaters could save the planet"  might change to "Based on the observations of many, rocket mass heaters have the potential to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and will provide more time to transition to a better way of living for many..."

The latter is a mouthful......and unfortunately, a mindful.  Which is why that approach isn't winning anybody any seats in the House, the Senate, or Parliament for that matter...

Maybe this is related to an issue I had with a past professor over the title of a research paper where the first words of the title were "Evidence for the blah, blah, blah..." and the professor insisted that one did not need to add the "evidence for" words, since it was already *implied* that what was being presented was evidence and not "proof".  The upshot was that proof is often arrived at as the consequence of many lines of evidence, and therefore *no* research papers offer proof, just evidence.  So in a similar way, if one says "Rocket mass heaters could save the planet...", might one person feel that all of the qualifiers in that statement are implicitly present whereas another person might feel it 'arrogant' to make the statement without including the qualifiers?  I've certainly observed both types in the audience.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

To me your comments to Paul and me seem contradictory. My question is - what if just saying something "appears arrogant" to the audience?



I see your point Tyler. It wouldn't be the first time I contradicted myself.

The difference that I perceive is between a consistent perception of arrogance versus a one-off accusation meant to shut me down. I think there is always a way of expressing a good message thoughtfully that will generally not be percieved as arrogant. It takes some real intention sometimes.  So that's what I'm addressing to Paul; someone who communicates publicly and regularly has good reason to avoid a semblance of arrogance.

But the Internet is a nasty place. Some bloke telling you you're arrogant just cuz you spoke up isn't much to pay attention to.
 
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Paul, you have a great point that simply the APPEARANCE of arrogance can hinder communication.  This is a great way to describe how a simple misinterpretation of something becomes a barrier.  In the world of text messages and online forums, this is all too commonplace.  It's one of the dangers of using any sort of sarcasm or backwards humor.  

So, maybe arrogance is something that should be used just for introspection?  Meaning, you should judge your own arrogance, but not others?  
 
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Myself, the permicultural answer to this debate is not to debate it at all, but rather to live with what is...

For instance we permies propose to not fight smooth bedstraw by spending tons of money on incorporating lime, and instead raise sheep which graze smooth bedstraw with immunity...in other words, work with what you have.

Myself, I think I can be very arrogant, a part of me that has manifested itself on here and is something I am not proud of. I battle that. Now sometimes it is beneficial to be arrogant. In my home, someone has to lead and that role is mine. I do not discourage Katie from joining the conversation and suggesting things, and I hold her opinion VERY highly, but I am the tie-breaker if we cannot agree. That sounds incredibly arrogant, but sometimes a decision has to be made, we cannot live in indecision forever. At Wheaton Labs...Paul is the tie-breaker, and also the tie-breaker on Permie Forums. I accept that in respectful humility.

It has been said that marriage is 50/50. That is bovine pasture droppings!! A marriage that is 50/50 is doomed for failure. A marriage (or relationship) is often 100/0, and that fluctuates between her getting what she wants, and sometimes in me getting what I want...see 100/0 percent. Other times it is a compromise where it might be 75/25, but you get the concept...

Accepting the 0 or the 25% or any other lower percent is where the humility comes in.

As I often say, I married an evil person and my wife married an even bigger one! That is arrogance and humility wrapped up in one statement. It is also the truth.


 
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Arrogant: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner; showing an offensive attitude of superiority

"if you post anything to the internet, you are arrogant."



While that may be true more often than it is not, I personally don't think that's an absolute.  

Humility: freedom from pride or arrogance.  Humble: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.  

Humility requires that we do not believe that we are better, smarter, or more important than other people.  Humility does not require silence.

I have learned the hard way how arrogance can ensure that my message is not received.  I've also learned that we can humbly speak with authority, which I am attempting to do with this post.  

I think it's too easy in our digital age to spout something off the cuff and sound like a jerk . . . even inadvertently.  Communicating with humility takes more time and effort; we have to measure our words.

If we stick to the facts, cite sources, defer to authority, clearly note opinions as opinions, are generally more concerned with the truth than being right or looking smart and thus can embrace constructive criticism and correction, I think we can communicate via any medium without being arrogant.

 
Nathanael Szobody
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Tyler,
Arrogance is grotesque. It is out-of-place. It is inappropriate, bigger-than-it's-spot, unhelpful, self-absorbed, unbalanced and blind. Arrogance is a crop on liquid nitrogen and weed killer; it is an invasive species, a bulldozer in a vegetable patch, ketchup on sushi. It simply doesn't belong because it plays only one tune and is tone-deaf at that.

Your examples, however, seem rather appropriate. Authority is not intrinsically arrogant, nor is knowledge or the sharing of it. The question is whether an action or word belongs in its niche or if it is outsized for it due to an inappropriate homage to self.
 
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I've been called arrogant by enough people to know I must be one of the most arrogant people in the world.

The thing is, I accept this title, but I don't understand what it means.  

It cannot be a measure of self-esteem.  I have very little of that.  

It cannot be a measure of skill.  I have very few skills and almost none of the basic ones.  Using an ATM is too difficult for me.  The half dozen skills I do have, I do well.  I'm not great and I almost never do them 'right', but the end result makes me happy.  

Maybe it's because I don't do things the proper way that makes me arrogant?  Or maybe it's because I'm joyful at the small skillset I do have?  

The other week a friend of mine was visiting and was telling me that she will take cuttings of her fig tree at a certain week in September because that is the correct time to take cuttings.  She consulted with Youtube and a Master Gardener and they both told her that it is not possible to take cuttings from figs at any other time of year but that one specific week.  She wants to do it right.  So we went outside and I showed her some fig trees I took cuttings from at different times.  Then I took a cutting from a fig tree (gasp and horror) early May!  I mentioned that expert advise is a good starting place, but the experts don't live in your city, your microclimate, your backyard.  They can only express what works for them or what they read in books or saw on youtube.  The only way to know what works for you is to try it.  Five years ago, it was acceptable to take cuttings from figs anytime between the frost dates.  Take some now, some later, and you are bound to have success.  But now the expert advice is to only take cuttings one week of the year.  whatever.

This makes me arrogant because I presume to know better than other people.  It doesn't matter that my figs are doing well and the cutting we took is thriving.  I had the gull to know better than a person in authority or youtube.  

Maybe this is what arrogance is?  The willingness to express an opinion contrary to that of your listeners.  

Of course, in my case, I'm simply not picking up on the clues and assumed when she asked 'how do I take fig cuttings' she actually wanted me to share my experiences and thoughts on the subject.  
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have endured more accusations of arrogance in the last couple months, than in the rest of my life combined. That's because I was in Kenya, where almost everything I see being done, is wasteful, destructive or just plain dumb. I don't hold back when I form an opinion on something. I watched garbage being buried in a national park, vehicles being driven too fast, people buying starch and sugar when there is plenty of good meat eggs and vegetables available, and the list goes on. Usually it came up when I was asked to participate in these things. I refused to eat the worst of the food, made my driver always stay at a safe speed and I didn't throw litter out the window of the car or let others do it. I made it very clear that anything I paid for, I am in absolute command of. This went a bit contrary to the sharing nature of that society.

I even went so far as to research the history of a politician who is heralded as a hero amongst his tribesmen. He was responsible for selling the fish in Lake Victoria to foreign companies in the eighties and nineties. Millions of people went without adequate protein because of his actions. My ability to do this research, was seen as extremely arrogant. To think that I could get a better feel for what was happening by checking Foreign Press sources, than could be obtained from the state-run media right there in Kenya. Arrogance. :-)  I only shared this information with those closest to me. To share it with everyone would have been stupid.

I often looked at products and pronounced them garbage. This was usually when I was approached by those with something to sell, but also when shopping for things at a big supermarket. They tend to carry everything Walmart carries or at least some semblance of it, but much lower quality if you can believe it. Sunglasses that snap in half when you try to put them on. My making judgement calls like this, was seen as arrogant. It didn't help that I was the only white guy there. But we bought a number of things, and I didn't get ripped off. By the end of my trip, the one who accused me of arrogance the most, started consulting me on every purchase, no matter how small. It became apparent that I knew something, and therefore my arrogance was somewhat acceptable.
 
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