June 29th, 2010

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Arrogance

Arrogance is a quality that often hides itself under a cloak of false modesty, so that it takes a while to know that there is, indeed, a sense of superiority at work.

Our culture extols humility and modesty to an almost incredible extreme, and frowns upon arrogance; but arrogance has a way of flourishing, for all that it's banned, and it veils itself in a smiling sheet of something that has all the appearance of modesty, but is actually a travesty of it.

Arrogance comes when one feels oneself superior in any way, or ways, to one's fellow beings....beauty, birth (breeding), wealth, intelligence, connections, power....even fair-skinned, or tall, or slim people are sometimes arrogant about it!

Arrogance is an insidous groundweed that grows almost without one's knowledge. One *thinks* one has humility, and yet, to the observer, the pride is so visible....one of my neighbours told me, in all seriousness, "We have no problems with dark skin...even though we are fair and our daughter in law has dark skin, she's a good girl!" She would have been horrified and indignant if I had tried to point out the anomaly in her words.

One of the most arrogant men I knew would always preface his most insulting comments by "in my humple (sic) opinion...." and that opinion would be anything but "humple"! This guy knew everything about everything...and he was Always Right. His opinion wasn't an opinion...it was fact. His method was the Right Method, and others were misguided fools....and so it went.

Arrogance is, perhaps, just a little easier to take if there is some solid achievement (a doctorate, perhaps, or a super-specialization in some branch of knowledge...or perhaps a fortune, amassed by diligent work)...less easy to bear when it's about birth or beauty. How can something one is totally not in control of, be a source of arrogant pride? "We are the Chitpavan Brahmins....I belong to the GSB (Goud Saraswat Brahmin)....my community, the Veerashaiva Pillai...." you belong there by an accident of birth....so why the unreasoning pride?

Why arrogance? We have a saying in Tamizh..."nirai kudam thaLumbAthu"...the full pot does not slop over. Those who are full of virtue or achievement, see no need to advertise the fact. Isaac Asimov said this when he made himself a character in one of his novels, "Authorised Murder"...."He was so intelligent that he did not see the need to show it" or words to that effect. One's achievements and abilities, whatever one may think, DO have a way of shining through, and being appreciated by others...the need to advertise them seems to come from some deep sense of insecurity and the driven need to be seen to be better than one's fellow men.

When we lived in Muscat, in the country of Oman, the nearest large city was Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. One of my friends made this keen observation: "The people in Muscat always stress how much better life is in Muscat, compared to Dubai. The people in Dubai...never discuss the topic at all!"

That, to me, illustrates the "un-necessity" of arrogance! A superiority complex, I think, is always a disguised inferiority complex. Why, unless I feel inferior to someone else, would I feel the need to stress my superiority?

I feel that I am also often prey to arrogance...but I am, seriously, genuinely trying to overcome this propensity. Knock me on the head if you find me arrogant or proud...you would be a real friend, and be doing me a service.
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Technology-challenged Senior Citizen

An internet forward that I thoroughly enjoyed...


I thought about the 30 year business I ran with 1,800 employees, all without a Blackberry that played music, took videos, pictures and communicated with Facebook and Twitter.

I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grand kids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific, Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation . . . I am not ready to live like this . . . I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [Blue tooth but it is red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife as everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. Seems I have to take my hearing aid out to use it and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-cal-cu-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me . . . She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then when I would make a right turn instead, it was not good.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me (after 50+ years I certainly hope so).

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings. It was a lot easier when it was connected to a cord (for the kids out there reading this, yes, there used to be a cord attached to the phone - and we only had one phone in the house! I won't even go into "party lines" but older folks know what I'm talking about).

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store . . . You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop.

I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused but I never remember to take them in with me. Now, I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say . . .
"Doesn't matter to me, I am bi-sacksual."
Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look.