Sunday, November 27, 2016

Today's MOZEN: Arrogance

F LoBuono


Know thyself!

Temet Nosce! This inscription is located near the entrance to the ancient Greek temple at Delphi. Delphi is the place were the ancient Greeks went to hear their fate and receive guidance as predicted by the Pythia, or Oracle, who presided there. Through a kind of hypnotic trance, she answered the pilgrims' questions in a cryptic language left to interpretation.

The expression, as it is presented at Delphi, is usually depicted with an exclamation point suggesting that is a command rather just a suggestion.

I have always held this in my heart as one of the keys to living a complete, honest, and, therefore, rewarding life.

However, because this involves a sense of confidence in one's abilities (which includes acknowledgement of our shortcomings), it is often seen as ARROGANCE.

Of all my failings, perhaps I am excused of this more than all others. And, that disturbs me - to a degree. Arrogance is a particularly egregious fault. It implies that one sees oneself as "better" than others. This is hurtful, particularly because one of my goals in life is to do no harm. However, this is not possible. We simply cannot live a life of conviction without stepping on some toes. This is inevitable and, therefore, MUST be an accepted risk. And, I have. Still, this can leave others with the impression of arrogance.

The key to having strong opinion, and having them "accepted", is finding a way to express them with strength and honesty without sounding dogmatic. This is, indeed, a challenge that I often struggle with. Still, I realize that this is part of the process.

In my work as a journalist, I strive for impartiality, i.e. balance in my stories. This is our creed. However, as I have expressed before, there is a difference between reporting and editorializing. I have always tried to separate the two. However, it is not possible to not have one cross-over into the other. And, ALWAYS, expressing TRUTH, as you see it, MUST be the most important factor. Recently, international award winning reporter Christiane Amanpour, has been exhorting reporters to be truthful, not neutral, saying "truth is not biased".

When I feel that I armed with the truth, my approach can be seen as aggressive. I make my points forcefully. But, I also do so respectfully. I never use pejoratives and avoid personal attacks. I do my best to accept other, differing opinions. Of course, when conversations get contentious, especially on social media, I can lose my cool just like everyone else. However, I am aware of how loud I can be and how obnoxious that can seem - especially if I believe that someone is wrong on the "facts". I do KNOW MYSELF.

To stifle myself would be to NOT know myself. THAT is not what I am. I am loud and proud. It is part of my essence. I DO like myself (at least mostly). And, I'm working on being more EFFECTIVE in my interactions. To not be so is to earn the label arrogant - something that I know in my heart I am not. And, I believe that those who know ME, understand my intentions. To not be truthful with MYSELF is the ultimate dishonesty.

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