Arrogance

Arrogance is a state of conditioning where someone is over attached to what they know, resulting in interactions where they act superior, overbearing or prideful. Arrogance is the need to get others to believe in our exalted intellectual self-image because internally we doubt our abilities. This shows up as automatically believing our own truth is better than the truth of others. Arrogance reflects an outer attachment to what we know while getting others to doubt themselves and agree with us. This is why Arrogance is a lower motive: it requires an insecure individual who asserts their truth and another who is unwilling or unable to do anything but agree with them. Arrogance is not attractive over time because it wears down the submissive partner. When most have had this experience, it is unlikely they will want to repeat it. While Arrogance is not attractive on a personal level, there is considerable pressure in society to prove how much we know in order to make a good first impression. Since others are looking for confirmation and reassurance that we are up to the job, it is almost expected people should exaggerate their capabilities in order to be seen.

Arrogance is the opposite of Greed in that the emptiness becomes an seeming “fullness of self” because we are full self-created ideas and thoughts which we attempt to project on others. Like Greed, Arrogance is a façade that hides insecurity. The more we are attached to being seen for what we know, the more we reflect an inner belief that we do not know how to get what we need without overstating our knowledge. Where Greed is offset by possessions and beauty, Arrogance is offset by ideas and the apparent power we create when others believe in our ideas. We can observe individuals in the motive of Arrogance soaking up compliments without ever being aware when those compliments are insincere. When we are in a mode of Arrogance, we cannot see through the lies and deceptions of others because we are so attached to our own vanity and self-importance. Anthropologists studying chimpanzees have confirmed that the male of the species must demonstrate its survival know-how and strength in a pre-emptive way in order to attract females. This results in a pecking order being established from the most clever and strong down to the least. This is illustrated by many men’s unwillingness to ask for help or information if they believe they will be judged negatively.

In a motive of Arrogance, we operate from the context of information or content that allows us to impress others. We seek intellectual acknowledgement to offset past creative denials from others. In effect, we want to be seen as high in the intellectual pecking order. The Buddhists suggest that this exaggeration is based on simple ignorance. Arrogance reflects an underlying fear that we may not be smart or clever enough to succeed and that success depends on distinguishing ourselves through the apparent superiority of our thoughts. When we believe we not smart enough to be respected, we use artificial humility as a covert Arrogance, so others will not challenge the beliefs we present. One of the challenges of Arrogance is that we find ourselves using a false show of confidence to undermine another’s confidence so they do not doubt us. In this way, our inner ego constructions make us feel “full of ourselves” because we are overtly identified with our thoughts, making our outer experiences even emptier and more boring. We can see Arrogance in others by their pride and attachment to being right even when their natural tendency would be towards shyness. We can confirm this to the degree they are driven to constantly explain themselves when others doubt them.

We heal Arrogance by learning how to listen and see opportunities for learning in every situation. Instead of jumping forward to show what we know, we come to appreciate how letting others show us what they know can help us be more responsive and effective in solving problems. Let us now realize that we already know everything we need to know to be effective in our lives, that pushing knowledge on others just highlights fears and insecurity. Being open and adaptable to the moment allows us to build a clearer understanding of what information is needed and how the information can be acquired effortlessly. Let us acknowledge that we have always known what we need to know to effectively make the contributions we were designed to make. Knowledge is just one of the five different frameworks of discovery (sensations, feelings, emotions, concrete thoughts, abstract thoughts). While our society is particularly fixated on concrete knowledge as the foundation for any contribution, it takes much more than concrete knowing to manifest a full contribution.

Now we will address how to heal our Arrogance. Imagine that we no longer need to prove what we know in order for us to feel substantial or important. Consider how being responsive in our ability to meet others where they are could allow us to use our thoughts in ways that are more effective with others. Let us begin to see how in our life it is more important to learn and grow with circumstances than to have a fixed understanding of what we think is going on. Let us release the false certainty of outer knowing to engage the richness of our creative being. From this inner source, we can see how our creative being is a mirror of the creative being of others. Our unique gifts can be seen as the imperfections or fault lines of our experience, which enrich others and us. Let us be willing to share our inner light with others by exchanging our thoughts in a way that increases their overall clarity. This process illuminates and reveals how new possibilities for self-understanding because the differences reveal our natural contributions to each other. As we begin to explore our inner perception of our Self, let us see how our growth process keeps us ever evolving in what we know, so we do not become fixed in our beliefs about what and how we need to be. When we are willing to let go of “looking good”, we can relax into the possibility that every problem can be solved by our creative presence in the moment,

Imagine how others would be more supportive of our knowing if we were not fixed in having a superior knowing over others. Consider how they might be able to engage us with greater flexibility, acceptance and support, if we do not fixate on being right or proving them not as knowledgeable as we are. Consider our past experience where our need to be seen as knowledgeable distanced us from the very people we wanted a deeper connection with. Did this serve our mutual learning process? Let us recognize that what we are actually seeking is the recognition that we can perform the job or service or role effectively. Let us engage this possibility by paying attention to what we can do to bring out the natural intelligence of others. Instead of demanding that others defer to our knowledge, let us be open and supportive of others’ Self-knowing by engaging them in a learning process wherever possible. Whenever we feel them not admiring us, instead of seeking to prove how much more we know, let us acknowledge them for what they know so that we can build a common wisdom together. In this wisdom comes our freedom from judgment and releases us from the need to be good in the eyes of others. 

The three belief structures of Romance, Motives and Love particularly support the Arrogance because our self-concept is typically built on thought. Arrogance is the over-identification with our thoughts to the degree that any opposing thought needs to be attacked. Through Arrogance, we elevate our self in our own minds so that we no longer consider ourselves ordinary. It is ironic and paradoxical that our self-conceit keeps us from actually seeing that many others can see through the smoke-screen of our Arrogance to our intellectual insecurity. Arrogance is the habit of making undo claims in an overbearing manner so that others will not challenge our intellectual superiority. It is a reaction to our inner fears that we are not unique or different. As a result of our insecurity about what we know, we build a persona that exalts our self-importance and the Maya that “we have arrived.”

We suggest that Arrogance reflects a distancing from Wisdom and the ability to learn and grow. Instead, we are attached to cleverness and being seen as smart and cannot see that this practice distances us from true knowing. This is why people who are arrogant gravitate to others with Arrogance to form exclusive societies of self-conceit. This reinforces the idea that there is exclusive knowledge that can be converted into outer power. One of the mantras of Arrogance is “Knowledge is Power.” What this mantra hides is the possibility that, by linking knowledge to power, it is no longer evolutionary but “status quo reactionary.” In other words, as soon as knowledge becomes accepted by a society, it is no longer growing and evolving. If we are wise we are not attached to serving the status quo and therefore have no need to prove what we know.

The arrogant always assume that their thoughts are the truth. This is a weakness because it allows no possibility for increased self-discovery or growth. In this way Arrogance is self-defeating because it reduces our ability to see and truly appreciate our own strengths and weaknesses. As a result, we use an artificial sense of confidence to justify what we know and apply our views to the world without any natural limits. In this way, Arrogance supports illusionary projections that reflect an inflated self-image. This is why all Arrogance is eventually humbled, as the imperfections that are inherent in Arrogance are revealed. We learn from Arrogance humility and the value of knowledge with others, which we call Wisdom. We eventually see these limitations because Arrogance is inherently separative and will create isolation to the degree embraced.

The Illusion of Control, which is an instinctive tactic we use to implement our intentions, is directly related to Arrogance. The more we believe we need to Control circumstances, the more we use our cleverness to preempt the input of others.  This enables us to avoid sensitive areas where the unknown could surprise us. In this way, we can create an image of self-confidence that keeps others from suspecting our true insecurity. Many times, this perspective is enhanced on a personality level by the appearance of being cool, calm, collected and outwardly powerful in our decision-making process. This is usually the opposite of our experience when we are preparing for our discussions with others. This reflects the degree that we believe we need to present an image of invulnerability. Not only does this image keep us from sharing our actual truth, it reinforces a sense of distancing because we need to appear super-human to pull it off.

When we are operating from a Motive of Arrogance, we are delighted when others make intellectual mistakes in their presentation because then we can feel secretly superior. The obvious flaws of others justify how we distinguish ourselves through our “exclusive” thinking. In this way, we reinforce the idea that our contribution is primarily to correct and control others from making mistakes. Arrogance is also dismissive, patriarchal, and eventually poisons all intellectual growth in relationships. What others learn is to hide their pain at being judged so they can be around us. Typically others assume this type of relationship to work out issues of authority figures telling them what to do. This, of course, undermines the Self-Respect of everyone who relates to a person doing Arrogance. As arrogant people we demand others’ respect while denying our own self-respect. The irony is that Arrogance minimizes all Self-Respect.

The effect, when we are operating from Arrogance, is to first activate the Arrogance of others as a protective mechanism, or, its opposite, of timidity and self-doubt that we have any intellectual value. Our choice in dealing with Arrogance seems to be to see their Arrogance and “raise them one” or to erupt indignantly. Usually our objections only serve to reinforce the truth of others’ beliefs about us. This is because individuals operating in Arrogance only value others in terms of their Arrogance. When individuals are operating from Arrogance and others do not embrace their so-called natural Arrogance, they see these individuals as weak. The underlying belief of arrogant individuals is that Arrogance is a human quality that cannot be denied.

Arrogance reflects in this manner how we are living up to the challenge of demonstrating our power to assert ourselves in the world. From the viewpoint of those who are operating in arrogance, we are either “standing up and confronting life,” or we are lapsing into self-pity and reinforcing our own limitations. Individuals in Arrogance hate to be pitied and see themselves as “victimizing others” for their own good. If they are conscious of this process, those using Arrogance even view their arrogance as a stimulus to awaken the humanity of others not living up to their intellectual possibilities. Actually, Arrogance is infectious and, as it perpetuates a vicious negation of possibilities, emphasizes competition over cooperation in the discovery of common truths.

Our view of Love can also contribute to Arrogance. Symbiotic Robotic Sex is a way of “appearing to connect while actually being disconnected” from others. We focus on the vanity of our outer appearance as a way to distance our self from others. As long as we “look good” we do not need to confront our inner disconnection to our intellectual self. Arrogance reinforces this perspective because it also shows up as a fixation on our outer appearance to keep people from discovering our inner emptiness. In short, Arrogance reinforces our superficial vanity about appearances as a distraction from intellectual doubt. Arrogance is similar to Symbiotic Robotic Sex because it is constantly pounding away at the self-image of others to satisfy our own need to be superior. The contempt we feel when others do not directly and aggressively meet us on sexual levels is similar to the distain we feel when others do not stand up for themselves and their intellectual truth.

The effect of Arrogance is to form a hard shell most identified by a sense of haughtiness and indifference that eventually becomes rigidity that can be seen in the physical body. Our self-focus becomes a demand for others to accept our truth over their own. Our rigidity in thinking keeps us from seeing the holes in our own thought process. Our inflexible thoughts eventually become crystallized and our conceitedness becomes more obvious as we can no longer hide our pride about our exclusivity. Our internal judge keeps us from affirming and valuing the contributions and thoughts of others. Instead, we are left with our own fear of being superseded. Arrogance increasingly makes us poisonous to other human beings. Others learn to accept and deal with our limitations because we are not able or willing to change. In this way, we get what we have given, which is an exclusive selfishness, which becomes a barrier to spiritual growth and service. The cost of Arrogance is isolation, inability to grow and loneliness.

The hidden denied belief is the default assumption that we operate from when we are unconscious. This reflects the worst-case scenario where we are self-identified with our thoughts and are unable to consider the thoughts of others without denying our personality self. By over-identifying with thoughts, any threats to these thoughts are then perceived as an attack on our self. In this situation our Arrogance is absolute and we believe completely in the superiority of our perceptions. Fortunately, not many people are this fixated in their self-concept. Individuals such as Hitler, Stalin, Attila the Hun and Napoleon all represent individuals who, in absolute confidence in their superiority and self-knowledge, allowed their ideas and self-concept to possess them and shape their lives in a way that was outside of their control. As we can see from these examples their victimization of others knew no limits. As a result they were greatly feared as others discovered that any disagreement with them led to being killed. We heal this by realizing that our thoughts are expressions of us, not who we are.

In our attempts to distance ourselves from the effect we have on others when we are arrogant, we believe that we need to “break a few eggs” to make a good omelet. There is always some justification for what we do because we do not know how to be harmless and to allow others to share their truth with us. Intellectual receptivity indicates intellectual maturity. When we are arrogant it is even hard to listen to others when they have different opinions from us. Ironically it requires us to go beyond our own thoughts that would stimulate us to grow in our thinking process. The more we close down to new thoughts, the more it reinforces old ways of thinking and, as a result, we become trapped in our past.

The more we identify with our appearance and the outer results we create, the less we see any contrary effects. One great example of this is how being arrogant trains others not to challenge us. In this way, we never hear about the pain and problems our views create in the lives of those around us. This means that we do not appreciate how we have feet of clay and make “mistakes” as any human will. Instead, we fixate on the good we see we are doing and deny how we objectify or “subjectify” others around us. No one is seen as an equal, which prevents true partnership and growth. All personal imperfection is denied as we learn how to present our personal achievements in a way where nothing is a mistake.

Some individuals evolve from intellectual Arrogance to Spiritual Arrogance. In this situation we either feel we are special because of a few deep experiences or we take pride in our self for being part of an in-crowd. What we seek is a coveted position of respect from others. We can validate that this occurs when we try to assume a certain eminence over other people. This reflects either an overt or covert self-idealization where we can validate our so-called spiritual attainment. In our experience, any attainment is not an embodiment if we use it to make ourselves special over others. If we have to project any particular image of being superior over others, it reflects Arrogance at the core. Spiritually, we are all equals.

Spiritual Arrogance can also lead to proselytizing or pushing our way as the only way for others to achieve enlightenment. All such endeavors are the idealization of spirituality without being authentically spiritual. As we discover our true spiritual and creative nature, we know how to engage others where they are and not to judge any situation as being better than any other situation. Everything becomes ordinary and we treasure our natural energetic connection over any dissonant intellectual perceptions. As Arrogance keeps us from seeing the truth of what is going on around us, true creative engagement helps us to see what is going on around us. To accomplish this we have to come to understand that the meaning we assign to things is just one perspective of many in the Universe. When we can honor our perspective without projecting it onto others, we will have found our natural humility and will be able to operate with others harmlessly.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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