Grandpa and some friends of his was just sitting in front of the barber shop discussing one of their favorite topics, politics. Grandpa was unusually quiet this day and mostly listened to the arguments of the other men. One of the men noticed this quietness and asked grandpa why he was being so quiet. Grandpa just smiled at the question, and in time quietly gave this response.
“Haven’t got much to say today but there is one thing that amuses me as I listen to others argue. Its the feeling that you get that everyone is cock sure that they are right and if you disagree with them then it is you that is the ignorant fool. Another area of discussion with this same effect is a discussion on religion.
There are times that I feel that some persons are afraid of revealing that they possess some ignorance. This is not to declare they will not admit to lacking in knowledge in a general sense. It is when you pin them down to specific topics that they reveal their arrogance and their unwillingness to admit ignorance. And I’ll admit that upon reflexion of some previous acts I find myself guilty of this arrogant attitude also.
I look upon this form of arrogance as a most basic character flaw and it is a flaw that I am constantly at battle with within myself. It is easy to believe that you are the source of all truth which is what the foundational basis of this flaw is and it is very hard to imagine that you be the source of falsehoods. This just indicates just how important the possession of truth is to each of us. Another possibility be that we consider the possession of ignorance as sign that we be fools and no one likes to see themselves as being a fool.
The problem with the above assumptions are the fact that if truth is all that important to us we would find no shame in having our ignorance revealed. And if truth was all that important to us then the knowledge of our ignorance would not be a sign that we be fools but a sign of the wisdom within us. For the only way that our ignorance can be revealed is by the fact we learned something that revealed the actual truth to us. And that should make us feel humbled not foolish. And once humbled would we not then have the attitude of humility rather than the feeling of humiliation?
So, what could be more important to us as human beings than the possession of truth? What is the problem with humility that we prefer the attitude of arrogance over it? What is it about humility that leads people to walk away from it rather than embrace it even though it is considered a virtue not a vice? What attitude do we seek to possess that is taught that must be considered to be of greater virtue than humility? Maybe a better question would be what is the attitude we are taught to possess and then examine that attitude a little closer as to its effects.
This, admittingly, requires self examination to its fullest and the acknowledgment of the possession of arrogance along with the desire to rid ourselves of this arrogant attitude. This is where the problem lies. There are not many people who will admit to the arrogance within themselves thus the desire to rid themselves of it cannot exist. People are fully willing to declare it of others but not of themselves. Why not?”
With these words said grandpa went silent once more leaving his friends with only questions to be answered