"People" get offended when somebody acts as if they were better than they are, perhaps especially if they suspect the latter really are better than them (at least they exhibit some sense of differentiation). What's their problem? If the person is arrogant and also a fool, just ignore them, or make a fool of them if you can. I did it once (1976). If you really assess you are inferior to somebody else, you could try to better yourself to rise up to their level and even show them a thing or two by climbing above their level and, if you don't like them, defecating on them down below. The starry heavens are not an adamantine bowl which is impenetrable at some fixed altitude above the topsoil, or is it? And, if worst comes to worst, it's OK for people to admit they are stupid. It's not their fault; they didn't ask to be born that way.
Nobody rises so high that they cannot climb further up, yes? In myself I see this all the time. Almost everything I write or think today, tomorrow or some time in the further future I see a way to improve it, and, if possible, I make the relevant revisions to the earlier text.
I'm willing to practice what I preach. When I was fresh out of college, I attended the Unitarian Church in Baltimore Maryland. The minister, Howard Waterhouse, gave eloquent sermons. I typed up some of them from frustrating tape recordings. It was a bitch. I did it because the sermons had quality, indeed beyond what I could have done at the time. You would have had to pay me well to transcribe some asshole preacher's agitprop except as data for an essay on "stupid" behavior of petty people.
People carp about Frank Lloyd Wright having been arrogant, and I am sure he was. Was he treated by people with proper respect? It is not kowtowing to a person to acknowledge that they can do things you can't (such as: ). Please see my Frank Lloyd Wright page here APtS for how I would interact with Mr. Wright.
Then we have Mrs. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Comy Bsrrat(sp?) who is so in-your-face arrogant as to tell me that havng a mentally defective child is a blessing, when I can't cope with a kid who is quite bright in the I.Q. department wasting her time TikToking and worshipping Volleyball. If I was stuck with a Downs Syndrome child, when I looked at this punishment from God, I would wonder even more than with normal people, how much was going on in its head. I would try to parse every sentence the poor creature said looking for syntactic structure and semantic content or lack thereof. Normal people are problematic enough, aren't they?
Who are my betters? The philosopher Edmund Husserl, for one (I would have liked to be his assistant Eugen Fink). Somebody like The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr? No way. I have previously written that I've been to the mountaintop and I've seen the promised land: It's the light at the end of the tunnel: It's a Vietcong with a flashlignt. Big f-ing deal.
I had this happen: Somebody on an internet forum officiously told me to get down off my high horse and use ordinary words. The person was apparently particularly offended and angry about one word I used which he specifically cited as being arrogantly elitist: "lifeworld".
Another one: I wrote on a public Internet forum about having reprimanded my nextdoor neighbor who has a CPA pedigree that he should not be doing "servile labor" mowing his home's lawn. Some lawnboy (that, of course, is a value judgment on my part) admonished me to "Stop looking down your nose at people." I didn't read the words he wrote in detail but it seemed prima facie to be something about "servile labor" having to do with slavery and that he was not a slave and it would be too complicated to program a robotic lawnmower to mow his lawn the way he wants....
Anyway, I have another neighbor who has a Master of Architcture degree from Harvard and seems to get off on doing her yard and I definitely look down my nose at her -- to see her very cute little wire hair terrier dog who does the most adorable thing which she does not seem to like: She is leading him on his by-her prescribed walk (few dogs are litterate) and he is trotting along bside her sympatically on his four adorable little paws, and -- all of a sudden, from out of nowhere: he suddenly plops himself down on the asphalt on his tummy with his four cute little paws splayed out and goes on a sit down strike. He will not move but just looks around. The Gund Hall girl does not like this behavior on the part of her dog, nor that I tell her how adorable he is for going on his whimsical little sudden "sit down strikes". I guess she wants an obedient dog. I hope she gets the point that I think she deserves sit down strikes and that I am enchanted with the dog not her: I talk a lot with the dog, fewer words with her since she does not seem to want to engage in thoughtful discourse about the ethics of architecture. Somebody better deserves the cute little animal, and the cute little animal deserves a better owner (more value judgments on my part).
Unlike Professor Galileo Galilei, I am not so foolish as to think I am likely to get away with it. I am undercapitalized. I have to eat [fill in the blank] from [fill in the blank]s because I don't have enough money to get away from them; unlike Diogenes of Sinope, I couldn't live happily in a barrel -- such strength of character is one of the things my childrearers did not give me. I also know that Mark David Chapman sang a bigger song than John Lennon ever did. One lyme tick can do it, too.
Q & A
I get asked questions by a normal person. They do not like it that I do not give them the response they want. If they want a certain response, they should give me the script and I would gladly read it back to them. I am not clairvoyant I didn't know what answer they wanted.
Often that is not exactly their problem. They want a "Yes"/"No" answer. I give the answer which I feel is accurate and comprehensive (and which, if needed, also states what I consider to be my limits of liability). This can be counted on to frustrate them and make them indignant: "Answer the question I asked!" ("Well, what was the question you asked, anyway") Where I am coming from is years of experience solving computer programmer's problems where the question as stated was often just a symptom of the problem or not an accurate question anent the situation, so that addressing the problem as stated would not have resolved the situation.
But they do not pose the question in the form "[Whatever information being asked for, e.g.: "'Is the earth round?'] Yes or no." If they asked it that way I would answer "Yes" or "No" unless there was something "way off" (unless they have a communication problem, in which case I would try to help them).
"Are you now or have you ever been a member of The Communist Party U.S.A.? Yes or no!" "Are you now or have you ever been a human being? Yes or no!" ....
Symmetry and reversibility
A human relationship is symmetrical when all the parties concerned have equal power over each other, so that no one can boss another around. The MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) geopolitical relationship of The United States and The Soviet Union at the height of "The Cold War" would be an example. Generally speaking, a student cannot boss his (her, other) teacher around, although there might be an exception if the student was the scion of a billionaire whose money had funded not just the teacher's paycheck, but the whole school's entire budget and endowment? Or if the teacher had buggered the student and was living in fear of being "outed" in a prig dominated social surround?
Reversibility is a stronger requirement. When an artist paints a portrait of a titan of industry, the relationship is generally neither symetrical not reversible. If Pablo Picasso painted a portrait of Dr. Jonas Salk, the relationship might be peer-to-peer, i.e., one professional to another, but still not reversible, presuming that Dr. Salk was not also an accomplished artist, nor Mr. Picasso a biochemist. But if Pierre Matisse had sat (or been propped up in bed during his late illness) for his portrait to be painted by Pablo Picasso, wouldn't that be both symmetrical and reversible, since Mr. Matisse could also do a portrait of Pablo Picasso?
One can also imagine a human relationship which is nominally reversible but not symmetrical: Pablo Picasso could paint a portrait of a struggling young art student who in his (her, other) turn could do a portrait of Mr. Picasso [perhaps in the medium of Newark New Jersey municipal garbage?], but the relationship would not be symmetrical, because the struggling artist would very well be aware of the damage his sitter could do to him if displesaed, by invoking Olympian god-like thunderbolt power in "the art world".
Isn't the ideal human relationship both symmetrical and reversible? And also amicable? Or maybe symmetrical and amicable but not reversible, since in the latter case the parties might be more likely to be able to learn valuable, unanticipatable things from one another, with mutual education leading in the direction of reversibility?
- Remember, from the Vietnam years: "FTA" (Fuck the Army)? I also say: FTL (Fuck the lawn)! Skin cancer of the topsoil. I would like a Japanese gravel dry garden to rake in meditation.