I think arrogance can be personally useful, seeing you through a lot of issues, but I still think of it as a negative in just about every situation. It’s only the confidence that comes with arrogance (are the two inextricable?) that makes arrogance useful.
I would almost go so far as to say that arrogance is the negative expression of confidence. That bridge too far that pushes someone from being sure of themselves to being a bit of a dick.
So it’s obviously very subjective. It’s also when I’m feeling pretty that I’m most self assured and happy, and that’s probably an arrogance of sorts.
Though of course, even when I’m feeling pretty my self esteem is usually low enough to convince me that nobody else would possibly feel the same way
Perhaps that’s where the line is. Believing in yourself and believing that other people should damn well believe in you too.
But I’ve definitely had it argued to me that arrogance is strength. Arrogance is a way of being happy and moving forward. It is motivation and fullness.
Modern life is pretty arrogant, but then I think that’s one of its flaws.
We presume to stride around, with our huge metal death traps and our reliance on natural resources that quietly (from our urban perspective) destroys our neighbours.
Or at least, we can. And we take that for granted.
Mythohistorically speaking, flight was akin to dancing with the gods. We fly like Icarus (without melting) and we steal fire from the nucleus (without getting our livers pecked out by crows). Every warning we’ve had about arrogance has been ignored.
And why not?
If there are no gods, then there’s no rage or revenge for what we do? We’ll be fine.
But we don’t believe in something else to make up for it. We wander around without gods, which is fine, but we assume that that makes us gods. We can get away with living that life without problems.
Nobody is going to come and smite us, but we’re still liable to fall down eventually.
They say pride comes before a fall.
Pride certainly helps you get up high, and at some point it’s likely for gravity to take over.
So I can see it as a motivator. I can see it pushing people forwards. I can see it making people suck more out of life.
But I don’t think that’s enough to make something positive. Arrogance is about over-reaching, and it’s about not thinking about what you might deserve.
Morality is fucked. I think it’s impossible to talk about absolutes and definites. But within the grey areas, some things will always smell bad to me.
Is instinct enough to base morality on? Definitely not. But nor is confidence.
Anyone who tells you that being confident is enough, is in the business of snake oil.
Though it certainly helps.
It’s arrogant to answer questions though.
Especially with certainty.
I try not to.
Illustration by Adam.