Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm smart and I'll make you believe it

Recently I've been reading some blogs of authors whose books that I like. I usually don't do this, but since I have hours of time to fill at work on some days, I occupy myself online.

There is one author who I think of as a smart person technically, but the more I read his/her blog I realize he/she doesn't fit with one of my personal creeds. Which is:

A wise man knows he is not wise, and a smart man knows he is not smart.

(For the picky, feel free to substitute genders at will.)

I won't name the author, since I'm trying to keep this post as a general commentary. This author is not from the USA, which I have no problem with, considering some of my favorite authors are not from here. (If fact I have and still do classify him/her as one.) But, I find this author unselfconsciously Eurocentric, and in my opinion, self-consciously arrogant.

There is no hint that the author is self deprecating, no acknowledgment that he/she has ever been wrong or ever will be. Humility is probably a curse word and something to be avoided, and might even have been banned from the author's respective dictionary. I also find the author is fond of blanket statements, confusing them for enlightened facts, and more than fond of jumping on any bandwagon of political correctness that toots a horn.

But the important part of this, is that he/she, if confronted by these opinions, would deny them unto death or to an unreasonable grudge. And this is the heart of the conflict to the above creed.

This is just one example, but I have met others like him/her, though none so far along in their delusion. So this has prompted me to codify a way of recognizing such.

1. They are usually the loudest. Meaning, they will find some way to speak out about their opinions and "truths" or "facts", and will usually do so unsolicited. Also, they tend to do this with a high frequency, believing if they say it enough, it must be true.

2. Will only present themselves as intelligent. They may or may not be intelligent, but they will never, under any circumstances, let themselves come across as anything other than the smartest person in the group/world.

3. Call others on the carpet over minutia. If someone else talks about learning something, or knowing something, they will be the first, or most obnoxious, to point out where the person got such and such wrong. And will do so with no care or thought of the consequences for interpersonal or emotional damage.

4. Does not let up on points 1, 2, or 3, ever.

I think that most of us have or do fall into these behaviors once in a while (I know I have, and unfortunately, still do.) but it's point 4, that is the crux of the definition.

So, this has prompted me to make a decision. I will no longer purchase this author's books. I will read them, borrowed, free, or from the library, but otherwise will eschew them, unless I can get them for no cost.

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