14 September 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Arrogance + NEWS

Messages from Carmen and Lola + short essay

Dear Friends,

First of all I hope that Marie is doing well after her unfortunate accident last week. Maybe we will
have more news on Sunday.

And of course, I look forward to our meeting on Sunday to kick off the new season. We are discussing
Arrogance which seems to have found a new realm of existence in the new world order of politics and
economics. In my short essay I try to argue for this new (or maybe not so new) and virulent
existence of arrogance.

In the meantime Carmen has sent me the link of her jewellery; if you need more details or wish to
contact Carmen please let me know. And finally Lola has asked me to send you details of a flat she
has for rent.

---from Carmen's jewellery TarTeTaTin ---
Carmen has sent me a link for her jewellery and info (in French), TarTeTaTin

---from Lola-----
Dear lawrence
Could you ask if anyone is looking for a flat to rent this year or several months ?
Apartment Retiro area, 1 bedroom, ( it is not a studio ) bathroom, dinning-room kitchen in salon.
Completely furnishes. Near Goya / Felipe II, well communicated, Ibiza or O´Donnel underground. Many
buses . 21 63,61,26,15. C2, 53 ... There is everything in the area. My cell . 66440. (the
dots are for security reasons, please remove them if you want to call Lola! Lawrence)



Best Lawrence

PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao

Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:

Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com


We all know from instinct that arrogance is bad. We also know from instinct whether someone is being
arrogant or self confident.

Indicators of arrogance, amongst many, are a feeling of superiority over others, self importance and
in many cases condescending attitude towards others. Pride is also implied in the meaning of
arrogance. However, the emotion of pride comes in two manifestations, 1) a strong sense of personal
status and of course 2) a sense of personal achievement when conferred by others for meritorious
behaviour or acts.

The pride we feel due merit is usually also shared by those around us (and vice versa) and of course
this pride is rather positive. For example, the pride we feel in when our team winning the cup,
passing an exam, and the achievements of our country for that matter. Positive pride is respected.
Negative pride is not respected by others since we are claiming status which we might not deserve or
an ostentatious exhibition of feelings. Thus an arrogant person takes pride in their achievement
especially when dominating or belittling people.

Arrogance is, on the other hand, at the extreme end of this group of negative emotions and their
manifestation in public. A necessary condition for arrogance, maybe which pride does not have, is
that arrogance is always directed towards someone, be it an individual, a group or even a peoples.

A feeling of superiority over others and condescending behaviour have not only the effect of trying
to establish that one is more important than other people but that other people are not considered
to have any relevant worth to the arrogant person. Individuals who are rather sensitive in character
are usually emotionally hurt by the attitude and behaviour of an arrogant person. Others might feel
more visceral emotions.

If we accept that arrogance manifests itself when interacting with others, than we can assume that
there is a voluntary act and a belief to trigger, so to speak, that act. Although arrogance is an
act it can also be a character trait of a person. And as such, maybe it takes its roots in the basic
aggressive instincts we possess as human beings. Maybe nice people, who employ a strategy of
cooperation to get along, are equally taking advantage of some rational basic instinct: a monster
trap or a honey trap!

We can also debate whether arrogance is an inherited character trait or maybe a developed character,
which in many cases, have a bearing on responsibility, I think that this is a side issue since we
people are being arrogant and others are hurt it does not matter where and how that emotion
originated. We can safely assume that a person, who is not deranged nor has a mental disease, is
acting as a rational agent.

A weak definition of arrogance might be the projection onto others of one's beliefs and at the same
time not only excluding the opinions of others but that others cannot possibly have any valid
opinions to contribute in the first place. Professional status can easily be a breeding ground for
arrogance to develop in people.

If beliefs (opinions) are a necessary condition for a voluntary action, then what an arrogant person
is implying is that the other person cannot possibly have any valid beliefs that ought to lead to an
action. Needless to say that this simple view of the mechanism of arrogance is very much determined
by the circumstances of the situation. Maybe someone might be arrogant but also happen to be well
informed on a situation that makes their opinion or beliefs the right sort of opinions to bring
about a positive outcome to a situation. The issue is, maybe, one of social interaction and social
protocol rather than the veracity of a person's beliefs. Much as we might dislike this idea, even
arrogant people have the right to be correct and to hold true and valid beliefs.

Maybe it is this idea that an arrogant person also has the right to hold valid and true beliefs, and
employ them for action, that makes us feel revulsion towards giving an arrogant person a fair break.
How can we possibly even listen to an arrogant person, even if they are right? The suggestion that
even they have rights suggests that the weak version of the meaning of arrogance is not adequate or
maybe just that, a weak version and therefore limited in scope. And to add insult to injury, a nice
and cooperative person might very well be wrong no matter how well meaning they might be.

This suggests that we might need a stronger version of arrogance and I therefore propose this: one
thinks (believes) not only that one is right and that others are insignificant and irrelevant but
that one also thinks that one is immune from the effects of even being wrong or doing wrong.

Hurting one's feeling is bad, but maybe not disastrous, and as I have suggested being wrong is not
the exclusive domain of arrogant people, arrogant people can also be right. But maybe the issue is
not so much whether one is right or wrong but rather has one considered the implications and
consequences of maybe being wrong?

So from linking arrogance to a character trait, we are extending this link to rational value
judgements. Considering whether one is right or wrong is not only to consider the consequences of
our actions but also the possibility that we might have to change our course of action. But feeling
immune from the consequences of being wrong or not considering that one might be wrong introduces an
element of good and bad or evil which a character trait does necessarily imply.

The idea that a person does not consider the consequences of being wrong or feel personally immune
from the consequences of being wrong is probably the most unacceptable human trait at the extreme.

In an applied philosophical context and maybe more relevant for us these days is whether power leads
to arrogance, specifically the strong version of arrogance? Precisely the position one takes that we
can exercise our power how we like and if we get it wrong it is of no consequence to us. I propose
that corruption, including nepotism, is clear examples of strong arrogance.

I am inclined to think that power in and of itself does not necessarily lead to strong arrogance,
but maybe arrogance, especially of the strong kind, is an infectious trait that we either pick up
from those arrogant people around us, or maybe a dormant trait that only needs the right conditions
to manifest itself. Maybe the popular saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts
absolutely is true and bound together by the strong sense of arrogance.

Best Lawrence

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Arrogance + NEWS

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