Thursday, 4 August 2011

Pride and Arrogance


Isn’t it odd how once you get a concept in your mind you start to see it all around?

It started a few weeks ago

“I was so afraid of making a mistake and being mocked, that I preferred to do nothing, say nothing, remain silent, remain unnoticed and small, but later I hated myself for not speaking, for not acting”.

You were afraid of making a mistake, that is rather arrogant don’t you think? She said with surprise

Proud yes, but arrogant?

“He had just arrived, they were tightening up on people like us, he was offered a trial period, but he was asked to work at a lower grade, to work night shifts, he kicked up such a fuss, and refused point blank to do it, the chief wrote a terrible report and he has been blacklisted since…. the Egyptian and the Indian who started at the same time as him have now been promoted twice while he remains…. ah well that is Iraqis for you…. you have to respect him though…. we all seem to have this pride, not the easiest people to deal with they say…that is Iraqis all the same…..

Pride or arrogance?

I have not behaved that way for several years, quite the reverse I seem to have spent the entire time wearing a pair of false lips with permanently upturned corners, I may not always demure but I will often remain silent. Suffocating my pride, (then brooding and blogging about it) but I justify this to myself as necessary for livelihood.

Yet within the same week I have shown very little sympathy for someone who behaved in a similar way in the face of a different set of circumstances (and a different set of people).

“He has met with his father, who says he has forgiven him, it is the first step, when he is ready maybe he will see me and our son”

I seethe but bite my tongue. I must not antagonise her.

What I would really like to do is shake her until her teeth rattle, and slap her until her eyes open. I want to rip away the veils, real and metaphoric from her head.

What on earth happened to her pride?
Why on earth does she accept being treated like this?
Damned arrogant fools, looking down at her. I curse the times that let them meet, the circumstances that made this happen, and damn the brainwashing that allows it to continue.

She thinks I am arrogant.
I think she has no pride.

On the outside at least I hate arrogance more than many other vices.

Possibly as a result of a lifetime of overheard condemnation,
“You are so arrogant, all you ------s are, you have nothing left to be so arrogant about, it is all history, but you just cannot see it”

On the inside I am not unlike my demoted friend. Pride, particularly national pride is “an essential ingredient in the diet of every Iraqi infant”

But it is rather confusing all the same, most religions regard pride as a great sin, mainly because only God/Gods have the right to be proud, so in addition to the terrors of excessive personal pride

“Pride goes before the fall” and ان الله لا يحب كل مختال فخور

They go on to explain the harmful sequel of pride on mere mortals:

“Pride supports a whole array of sins, such as jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability, revenge motivation, revenge tactics, self-pity, conceit, inordinate ambition and competition, slander, gossip, and maligning”.

Back on planet earth and in scientific terms what is the point of pride and what is the difference between pride and arrogance?

According to one prolific researcher
the answer is there are two versions of pride “authentic” and “hubiristic”.
Put simply pride in some real achievement is healthy, pride in the absence of said achievement is hubiristic, it is this latter which is detrimental to the individual / society or in religious terminology sinful.

Authentic pride (“I’m proud of what I did”) comes from attributing events to internal, unstable, controllable causes (“I won because I practiced”), whereas hubristic pride (“I’m proud of who I am”) results when events are attributed to internal, stable, uncontrollable causes (“I won because I’m always great”).

On an evolutionary basis the pleasurable feelings that accompany a pride experience may reinforce the pro-social behaviors that typically elicit the emotion, such as achievement and care giving

Interestingly although there is universal recognition of pride as an emotion and of the physical postures of pride there are cultural differences in the expression and experience of pride.

In particular, collectivistic cultures (which apparently applies to all non-westerners) tend to promote the group over the individual, such that individuals are more prone to accept status differences rather than try to change them and assert the self. Such values seem inconsistent with pride, an emotion geared toward enhancing and affirming the self. In fact, several studies have found that pride is viewed more negatively in collectivistic, vs. individualistic, cultures.

Perhaps it is not surprising I have such conflicting feelings about pride

However pride is much more likely to be accepted and valued in collectivistic cultures—as long as it is pride about one’s group instead of one’s individual self.

And back to my original question

Is pride one emotion with two facets, or are there are two distinct pride-related emotions.

In terms of the way people conceptualize and experience pride, there are two facets so distinct as to have unique cognitive antecedents and entirely opposite personality correlates. However, both facets are reliably associated with the same nonverbal expression, suggesting that, from a behavioral perspective at least, there is only one pride.

Well that explains it doesn’t it.

Maybe despite all the research it is really simple, regardless of who we are, what our culture tells us, or what the context is, ultimately we define something as pride or arrogance depending on who is exhibiting it (and whether we like or dislike them, and agree or disagree with the basis for their pride / arrogance).


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