"Egocentric like a tornado, tactful like an avalanche..."
Terry Pratchett, "Equal rites"
The thing that can create the greatest hatred and wars is arrogance. Usually, arrogant people are more or less intelligent ones who have been successful in completing a special task. The task varies, it can be passing a graduation, getting a job in a high position, writing some programs, doing some successful research, winning a competition etc...
A person may be proud of his/her efforts but if the pride becomes too great, the person tends to devalue the works and opinions of others - arrogance is born! Even if other people's works or opinions are better, the arrogant person won't accept them. Arrogance is simply the most despicable way to say "This is my job, not yours!".
Usually, arrogance comes paired with other bad traits:
The damage which is done by arrogance can be huge. Usually, these guys create only the opposite effect and the whole system suffers, even if it is maintained with brute force. One of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett wrote the following:
"Fear is strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground."
Terry Pratchett, "Small gods"
So there can only be one conclusion: AVOID ARROGANCE!
Of course, this includes the ability to accept and discuss other opinions than their own, even inconvenient ones.
Some examples for the damage done by arrogance:
Example 1: Nature preservation
Recently, I was puzzled when I heard that there was a gardener who grows up
only hybrid species. I think that rare plants can be conserved with the help
of such people, but I discovered soon that his hybrids are no bad intention,
only pure defiance. When I went to the Dept. of nature conservation and
offered them to grow up rare wild species, I met one of the most arrogant
bureaucrats who I've ever seen. Plant succession! That's all what she said!
These person would not let only die rare plants in the nature, she also
treats loyal gardeners like common criminals. Everybody who is not a graduated biologist of a higher rank gets insulted, even if he has significant knowledge and has published several papers himself.
Well, I wanted to cooperate, but now I prepare for a war. Perhaps I will take some lessons from the hybrid gardener who has experienced a similar treatment and attempt to throw these arrogant witch from her chair and I will be happy about everyone who wants to help, for example by providing papers about the errors of misunderstood nature preservation. Nature preservation does not need such fanatics who can't (or don't want) preserve existing habitats but abuse their power to block the creation of new ones! Nature preservation needs love!
Example 2: Software piracy
Be honest, software piracy may be convenient but it hurts both programmers and pirates in the long run. However, I've made the experience that there is no way to persuade the pirates with brute force! Neither the most elaborate copy protection scheme nor the hardest punishment will scare them. Well, I think that many pirates are young, poor students who will evolve into rich potential customers after a few years. When they are old, they will learn that someone must BUY originals to keep their computer alive. Furthermore they will see that original software is far more beautiful than a pirated disk image on a no-name disk and they will start to look for originals on their own. They will start to develop love for their purchased softwarez with their fancy packages and their manuals. These egocentric wannabe-inquisitor-types are harmful for the software industry, because they create hate and defiance. If someone threatens and insults you, you won't do what he wants, no matter if he is right or not!
Example 3: Gene technology
The biggest example of arrogance is gene technology in the food production. Is our food not already bad enough? The majority of the consumers has declared in surveys that they DON'T want gene-manipulated food (90% in Germany!) But these greedy jerks in the transnational companies do still plan to throw it on the market despite all protests - with no mandatory labelling if possible. In Europe the protests have managed to delay this process, but soya and corn are already contaminated and it is still possible to release organisms for research purposes. The mandatory labelling in Europe is insufficient but it is much better than the situation in the USA where the government declared gene-manipulated organisms are "basically the same" - and there are already the first facts which prove they are not! A whole country is declared minor by an arrogant elite class, just suitable as cheap guinea pigs for the gene scramblers. Now THAT'S arrogant! Probably someone is going to pay for this in the near future...
"The frightening thing about the Vogons was their absolute mindless
determination to do whatever mindless thing it was they were
determined to do. There was never any point in trying to appeal
to their reason because they didn't have any."
Douglas Adams, "Mostly harmless"
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