In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c1390) arrogance referred to overbearing, insolent, and claiming for oneself or taking things or without a right or without justification. One has an exaggerated opinion of ones self-importance; is boastful and offensively demanding; and behaves in a proud, superior manner. During the European Renaissance arrogance, greed, and false appearances were so honored as to be behind Materialism and Individualism rising into a place of high esteem. This process was about individuals so motivated by destructive selfishness-by a fondness for dishonest gain-by an eagerness for base gain-- as to willingly sacrifice people, places, and animals in order to possess "Things" (e.g. money, property, power, privilege, extravagance, sex, and pleasure). To achieve these ends Europeans used every method conceivable--methods applied by any means necessary-methods which stirred up disputes, threats, disturbances, wars, robbery, or killings (including chopping up victims). Additional aspects of arrogance were ignorance (not knowing better) and Narcissism-individuals morbidly (unhealthily) interested in how they appear to others and in their personal appearance. Hence, they need to have a Superiority Complex (a façade of arrogance showing as a reality of aggression to mask a sense of inferiority).
Today, arrogant implies the usurping of another's prerogatives by arrogating (seizing) more power than due; presumptuousness (too bold); supercilious (a scornful, aloof manner); and disdainful (contemptuous). In general, the arrogant have a deep sense of insecurity and feel unsafe and unstable. Hence, their behaviors are aimed at reversing these, starting by paving the way and maintaining control with their "guns." When success stimulates sinful Pride, even the godly can be drawn away from God. Self-exaltative arrogance and pride involve a denial of ones place inside Wholism and make one an Individualist. However, not all pride is sinful and wrong. Some people are so well prepared that they are self-assured-a presentation so unusual as to be confused with being ‘cocky.' To take pride in engaging in goodness and other aspects of self-cultivation can be done without comparing oneself with others. It is good to have pride in lovingly supporting one another and from having done a good job on some tough project. In short, the arrogant are legends in their own minds.
Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.
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