Arrogance is the opposite of pride. The opposite of genius is what?

Arrogance is the opposite of pride. The opposite of genius is what?

What is arrogance and what is pride? Which one is loud and which is relaxed?

Let’s consider a famous example. Was Galileo arrogant?

Galileo was one of many astronomers to conclude that the earth orbits around the sun (along with the other planets of our “solar system”). Others (including Copernicus) reached the same conclusion long before him. Why is he famous? His fame resulted from boldly publicizing his findings (and then being punished for it).

If the popular version of the story is true, then Galileo received multiple direct warnings against widely publishing his conclusions, yet he repeatedly showed disregard for explicit threats. So, was Galileo arrogant to intentionally provoke the wrath of the Pope?

Was he relaxed, confident, and uninterested in confrontation… or was he reactive and compulsively drawing attention to himself, desperately yearning for pity and admiration? Why did Galileo even risk publicizing his findings to a mainstream audience? Did he think that fame was the ultimate victory? Was he seeking to perform some act of heroism to compensate for some hidden shame and earn his way in to heaven? Was he simply pursuing a grievance against the Holy Roman Empire?

Did he chase martyrdom in an effort to “reform” the Empire or “save the world” from false presumptions? Was he in a panic to obtain “personal salvation” through being glorified as courageous and intelligent?

For that time in Europe, Galileo received a rather mild punishment for his display of contempt for the ruling authority. Even today, displaying contempt for the ruling authority may result in no more than a rather small fine or brief jail term. However, in some places, even slight hints of contempt and arrogance may be punished with a penalty of death (through a variety of methods).

Throughout history, many people may be trained to glorify or worship rebellion. In the US, the founding fathers are celebrated for their acts of rebellion. In the civil war era, abolitionists and slaves who rebelled were celebrated by their allies. Other famous rebels include Moses, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, and in modern times, MLK Jr., Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela.

Of course, the label of rebel can be used in many ways. In some cases, non-compliance is labeled as a rebellion. Or, any verbal questioning of a sacred principle can be labeled rebellion. Or, someone can be labeled a rebel simply as a way of discrediting them (even if they act with total complacency).

I find it notable that in my past when I was least confident and least secure, I was most arrogant. I celebrated rebellion with the most extreme fanaticism and idealism. I was outraged by many forms of institutional programming. I condemned conformity (and isolated myself in to social groups composed of other perfectionists who also condemned conformity).

We competed for who was the biggest martyr (in the sacred quest to save the world from our chosen enemy). We also competed for who was the most victimized in their personal life.

We were creating social repulsion to isolate ourselves from the terrified loyalists of blind complacency. However, there was certainly an element of blindness (and distress) to our patterns of condemnation.

There was still arrogance and contempt and resentment. We were terrified of innocent questions and responded to them rudely. We were even more terrified of intelligent questions, so we responded to them with panics of ridicule.

Even if we were accurate in some perception, we yearned for the social validation of other people telling us that our perception was important to them. We did not just want their agreement, but their glorification.

We were still terrified of the existence of contrary perceptions and interpretations. So, in our heroic battle against conformity, we promoted conformity.

One who is simply proud of something (like a favorable result or useful skill) has no craving for validation. Others may recognize it or not. Others may appreciate it or not.

Pride is not tender. Arrogance is extremely tender.

If a grandparent is proud of a grandchild, that pride is independent of other people (like other people congratulating them or challenging them). The grandparent is simply proud. There is delight, love, and pride. There is an enthusiasm for future progress and continuing well-being.

Those who are arrogant may invest a lot of energy in shaming others. They may condemn pride as repulsive.

To them, nothing is as repulsive as pride. The calm confidence of pride is the most terrifying thing in the world to someone who is arrogant. There is nothing so threatening to a charlatan as an expert.

A proud genius has no contempt for the arrogance of charlatans. They expect persecution and challenges from those who are tender and insecure. They know that the terror of the arrogant is nothing personal. The arrogant are simply jealous of a proud genius.

It is only natural. Anyone who has matured through the stage of arrogance can easily recognize it.


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