24 March 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Arrogance + News

Meet O'Connor's at 6, essay, + NEWS
Dear Friends,
First of all, I would like to thank Diana, Marga and Paloma (in
alphabetical order) for sending me the Spanish version of the email to
the Director of EspacioPozas 14. I sent it last night and have not had a
reply. In the meantime thanks once again to Maria for suggesting the place.
I will also write to Nacha later on and we still have Patatus as a
possible option.
Last Sunday we were about seventeen of us at O'Connor's and had the end
corner all for ourselves. The fact that there were no sports events did
help a lot.
So this Sunday we will meet again at O'connors to discuss Arrogance. As
I try to argue in my short essay maybe there is more to arrogance than
just a person being unpleasant. Upon reflection, in this day and age we
are not short of a few arrogant people on the international arena.
In the meantime I have the following news items:
Jim has a flat for rent, Peter is still looking for a flatmate, Ian has
a vacancy at his company and Miguel has sent me details about the next
Maths tertulia.
Hi Lawrence,
with regards to the flat I mentioned on Sunday. The details are as follows:
It is located in Calle Miami on the corner with Calle Alcala.
The flat is 80 M2, has two bathrooms, three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining
area a Sitting room
and a terrace.
Heating is by gas (boiler located in the kitchen). The flat is well
communicated. Suanzes metro stop (line 5- green line) is 3 to 4 minutes
walk from the house. The Number 104 and 77 buses stop in front of the
house. Also the night bus N5 (Búho). There i a taxi rank in Ciudad
Lineal,which is about 5 to 10 minutes walk.
Alcala Norte is in walking distance also. This is a Shopping Mall which
has Cinemas and a supermarket.
The flat is bright and has some nice views of the park (Suanzes).
Anyone interested can call me at 639181866.
Peter has asked me once again to remind you that he is looking for
someone to share his flat with in Mostoles close to public transport;
very good conditions. Central heating and central hot water. English
spoken at home if you wish. Single room still available. : tel 609257259

Here is a link to the job posting on Infojobs:
The company I work for is looking to employ an inside sales person
ASAP.. The person would need to be fluent in English at a minimum, with
other language abilities being a much wanted plus. Good languages to
have are German, French or Spanish. The job would involve working on the
telephone and email, corresponding with our resellers and helping to
process orders. They should have good computer skills (able to type, use
Outlook, Excel and Word) and ideally be smart (brains) and motivated.
The salary range is between 18-35K p.a on a permanent contract. The
salary offered to a candidate depends on their abilities and experience.
If they are intelligent, with various languages and are an eager go
getter then they will be at the 35K end of the scale. Alternatively, if
they are a school leaver, with limited experience and language ability
then the lower end would be where they would be at.
Who we hire will depend on the candidate, with the mix of abilities they
Remember, our company is based in a comfortable office, very close to
the north end of the Retiro park making for a nice central location to work.
Anyone interested? Please pass this message on to all our friends.
Take care for now.

Ian Cummings
m: +34 686966896 - e: ianrcummings@gmail.com
Yahoo IM: ianrcummings - Skype: ianrcummings
----------------------Maths Tertulia---------------------
(Miguel has also included a reading list and links which I will post of
the blog: philomadrid.blogspot.com)
Estimado tertuliano,
La conferencia de Miguel Ángel Madruga del pasado Martes fue muy
interesante y amena, así como la tertulia que siguió. Como él mismo
comenta, después de un aperitivo histórico, entramos en el plato fuerte:
la máquina de cifrar Enigma, con su estructura y funcionamiento.
Le agradecemos el esfuerzo de preparación, que a juzgar por lo
presentado ha sido considerable, así como las referencias que nos envía
sobre la historia de la criptografía y que adjunto.
Damos también las gracias a Roberto Álvarez Chust por el proyector, al
Ateneo de Madrid por dejarnos la sala y a Juan Valentín por sus
gestiones para ello.

Saludos cordiales,
J. Miguel
P.S.: Si quieres impartir una conferencia de contenido matemático
envíame un mensaje de correo para tratar los detalles. En particular, si
la conferencia trata la relación entre determinismo y aleatoriedad será
especialmente bienvenida, ya que en la tertulia se ha mostrado interés
por ello.
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro mensaje con
"Baja" en el campo "Asunto".
-----------------------end news--------------------



To accuse someone of arrogance is not very nice. However, the irony is
that such an insult would have the same effect on the person as water
would have on a duck's back.
The meaning of arrogance captures a range of concepts including pride,
self importance, feeling of superiority, self worth, and a sense that
one is better than others. And of course we have no doubt in identifying
arrogant people.
However, what makes a person from being an unpleasant person to being an
arrogant? And why should arrogance attract such a extreme disapprobation
and censure?
But such ideas as importance, pride, worth, better than others are in
themselves neither negative nor objects of disapproval. For example, we
expect someone to feel proud if they are awarded a coveted prize. Indeed
we would accuse them of being ungrateful if they do not show a degree of
pride in receiving the prize. And of course, some people are just better
than others, in what they do, their personality, their abilities and so
on. It does not mean, however, that just because some people are better
than others in some things those others are somehow a lesser person or
an inferior person in the same way that a frozen pizza is an inferior
pizza from one prepared by a Neapolitan pizzaiolo in a wood oven.
On the other hand, pride, worth, importance and superiority are
qualities which by definition are relative to other people. John is
better because we think that he has qualities that are more desrable
than those exhibited by Betty. Not only does this language imply a value
judgement on the part of society, but more importantly these qualities
confer social hierarchical powers. In a world where hierarchy and power
are the norm the CEO of a bank is regarded as being more important that
the street cleaner.
Maybe it is because these qualities confer real powers and authority in
our society that society regulates them and on who to confer them. Thus
by creating the term arrogance, as a term to disapprove of someone who
confers these labels on themselves, shows how important these qualities
are. And not only that, but that these qualities are conferred on us by
society suggests that maybe there is also some democratic process going
on here. We agree that someone ought to feel proud or that someone is
indeed better than the rest of us.
Maybe there is even something else going on. When we feel that someone
should feel proud in receiving a coveted prize are we also implying that
they also have some sort of moral duty to feel proud? Maybe a moral duty
that arises from the fact that they were chosen from a group of equally
suitable candidates? Thus the morality arises from respect towards those
who were not chosen.
When someone expresses self pride or expresses a feeling of self
importance we are maybe trying to imply that these people have stolen or
misappropriated social qualities which can only be conferred by society.
Thus when someone says or behaves as if they are more important than
others without having first been invested by society of such qualities
they are exercising a power which they are not entitled to have. They
are appropriating privileges that only society can confer on its members.
But arrogance goes beyond the meaning of not being entitled to some
quality. Indeed I would argue that what really makes arrogance a
despicable title to be bestowed on someone is that it is usually also
associated with actions and behaviours that are unjust, unfair, bad and
maybe also evil.
It not only that an arrogant person feels superior that makes this
person repugnant but the fact that their relationship with others leaves
no doubt in the minds of others that those others have no human worth or
their only worth is one of servitude. It is the lack of respect toward
those who are doing, say a menial job, that makes the high flyer arrogant.
Thus, when someone thinks they are superior, because they have a certain
racial background, the issue of arrogance is not a question of race but
rather the race of the other person would exclude that person from being
treated as an equal, indeed, treated as a person at all. And therefore
not worthy of the respect and courteously of an equal and a peer.
My argument, is that arrogance is an unacceptable personality trait not
because it is usually associated with certain qualities such as, pride,
importance, superior, but rather arrogance implies a behaviour that
excludes others a priori (so to speak). Thus an arrogant teacher is
arrogant not because they have superior knowledge than the pupil but
because the teacher does not accept or believe that the pupil might have
anything of relevance to say about the discipline the teacher excels in.
In a way this implied meaning of exclusion in arrogance is the first
stage of why arrogance is an undesirable personality trait. Excluding
others, and what they have to say, implies that what we have to say is
the truth or the source of ultimate wisdom. If a mathematician believes
that the 18 year old undergraduate has nothing of worth to say about a
mathematical problem, that leaves the lecturer the only one with the
truth about mathematics.
The lecturer might be right about the mathematical problem and the
undergraduate wrong, but in a normal social interaction we expect the
teacher to listen to the student and then explain why they are wrong or
why they should not pursue that line of thinking. Maybe as an
undergraduate they are not being evaluated on whether they can solve
long standing problems in mathematics but whether they can understand
what the key problems are in mathematics. Indeed, it is of course
arrogant of universities not to spell out the scope of why students are
at university in the first place.
And finally, the ultimate stage of unpleasantness of arrogance is that
the arrogant person will easily lose sight of what is the right thing to
do, and the wrong thing to do, and I do not necessarily mean this in a
moral sense.
Thus someone might progress from having feelings of superiority to
acting on the belief that they only know what is the right thing to do,
on to the ultimate extreme situation of what they do is by definition
the right thing that has to be done.
And when the whole gamut of hideousness of arrogance is expressed by a
person that person changes from being a social pariah to being a danger
to society. In politics we usually call these people partisans, tyrants,
dictators or mad dogs.
Take care
from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Arrogance + News

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