culture philosophy

arrogance, agnosticism & holding a view

It is not arrogant to think that you are right and that someone else is wrong; in other words, to hold a view.  Arrogance comes not from holding a view (neither from holding it strongly!), but from holding it with a posture of self-importance and (to coin a term) ‘from-on-high-ness’.

I think I’m right about this, too!

After all, we all think we’re right, don’t we?  I mean, who holds a view that they know to be wrong!?  If you knew you were wrong, you’d either change your mind, or refrain from holding any particular view.

And (without delving too far [for me at least] into epistemology!) it is not ‘agnostic’ to merely refrain from holding a view.  Indeed, it could be precisely because of some knowledge ‘x’, which you take as pretty trustworthy, that you refrain from holding view ‘y’.

  • There is the  lower-case ‘agnosticism’ (that all humans necessarily have about at least some things) which says “I don’t know…”
  • …and there is the upper-case ‘Agnosticism’ (which few, if any in my view [!!], can sustain without stumbling upon something they think they know) which says “Nobody can know…”

So when it comes to conversations about various topical topics, if someone has a view and the other is ‘agnostic’, they are not automatically humble, patient and peaceful and the other arrogant, impatient and divisive.  One can be a very arrogant, impatient and divisive brand of agnostic.  I know some.  And one can hold a view with great conviction while still being humble, patient and peaceful.  I try (and fail often) to do this with any strong views I hold.