Why it’s bad to be conceited
1. It reflects a lack of understanding of reality.
It doesn’t matter how much you know, how clever you can think, how successful you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve experienced… you don’t know anything about anything. You don’t know what set the universe in motion. You don’t know what all has been happening for the past 4.7 billion years or where the atoms in your body have been in that time. You don’t know the meaning of life or the secret to creating it. You don’t know how backwards your culture is. You don’t know what the leaders of the world are doing. You don’t know what anyone else in the world is thinking. You don’t know how all the technology you use every day works, and there are places in this world you wouldn’t survive a day in. You might have mastered a skill, but you’re only good at a handful of them. There are libraries full of things you don’t know. If you walk around congratulating yourself for how smart you are then you have a flawed perception of reality. Your perception of yourself obviously doesn’t take into account the fact that you don’t know shit about shit.
2. Conceit is obvious, and others will look down on you for it.
While you go around viewing yourself as a golden god everyone around you will view you as a fool, and they won’t want to get close to you or do things for or with you. Not only will they look down on you for overestimating your importance, but they’ll look down on you for being too thick to realize that everyone thinks you’re a fool.
3. Conceit is a waste of time.
Being conceited requires you dedicate a certain percentage of your brain power to thinking about how great you are and analyzing how inferior other people are to you. This takes time, and you only have so much time each day to think about who and what you are, where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to do. In between all that you also have to think about how to navigate your way through your daily routine, and at some point you need to take a break from thinking and just enjoy the experience of being here now. If you want to make the most out of your life you need to use your thinking time wisely, and thinking about how much better than everyone else you are is a waste of time. The cost/benefit analysis doesn’t add up. Sure, you get a warm, fuzzy feeling out of it, but it’s a sadistic, short sighted pleasure. There are greater pleasures in the universe, and there’s more important work that needs to be done for the sake of humanity than patting yourself on the back all day.
If you really did something worth patting yourself on the back for you accomplished it not by thinking about how great you are but by applying your mind to the task in front of you. If you did that and accomplished something great, and now you’re patting yourself on the back about it all day, then you’re not applying your mind to doing more great stuff. If you’re not moving forward then you’re stagnating and regressing. That will still happen even in an ivory tower.
4. Conceited people are untrustworthy.
You might be a well-credentialed, professionally successful person, but if you’re so conceited that it shows then that says something about the way you look at life. That says something about how you treat people. The only way to get conceited is to obsess over yourself. Anyone who is conceited is the center of their own universe. You can bet that people like that will almost always put their wants and needs before anyone else’s.
There’s about 7 billion people in the world, and there’s more on the way. You only have a short amount of time to find the best people out there to spend your fleeting, irreplaceable life with. Conceited people don’t have what it takes to become true best friends. So as soon as you see someone with their nose up in the air, write them off. They’re not the friend or ally you’re looking for, and if you do end up tangling your lives together then don’t be surprised when it turns out you can’t count on a conceited fool to get your back when you’re in a tight spot.
5. You end up hating yourself with the same level of intensity as you love yourself.
Conceit stems from self-obsession. Your narrow mindedness might blind you to a lot of your flaws, but eventually you’re going to fail to live up to your own unrealistically high expectations, and you’re going to know it. And since you’re so obsessed with your perfection, and you’re so hard on others who fail to live up to those standards, you’re inevitably going to treat yourself the same way. Conceited people beat themselves up worse than anyone. So any time you see someone making a spectacle out of patting themself on the back you can be sure their other arm is secretly stabbing their self in the chest. That obsessive self-abuse isn’t mature, responsible or laudable.
Beating yourself up is irresponsible because it has negative real world consequences. Making the most out of your life requires good mental health. You have to be able to think straight and approach life’s challenges with confidence and concentration. As you overcome bigger and bigger challenges you need to keep the presence of mind to enjoy life along the way. Riding an emotional roller coaster where you praise yourself blind and then beat yourself up can only hold you back from fulfilling your potential.
The more you beat yourself up the worse you’re going to feel awful, which is a travesty in and of itself, but long term anxiety will yield a whole new batch of psychological problems. Conceit is like a drug. It makes you feel good for a little bit, but if you do it too much you risk losing yourself in a downward spiral of misery.
So if you ever catch yourself being conceited, stop.
If you liked this post, you may like these:
- It’s okay to be lost
- The value of life
- Reality is amazing
- The cosmic perspective
- The relationship between sanity, reality, truth, religion and science
- Enlightenment Through Logic
- The Map of Everything
- The prime prerogative
- The value of knowledge
- Life is an existential dilemma: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
- The danger in telling people life has no meaning
- Reading for truth
- 11 ways mainstream academic philosophy has come to resemble religion
- Deep thoughts by the wise janitor
- Ethics without religion -you’re already doing it
- My secular theory on ethics
- Another attempt at explaining my secular theory on ethics
- Reasons to be kind outside of religion
- Karma ghosts
- The non-believers’ 7 deadly sins
- My theory on sexual morality
- Demonizing pleasure is a failed experiment
- Cost/benefit analysis of hedonism
- Should you let friends borrow money?
- Why and when you should have a problem with authority
- Why it’s bad to be conceited
- Self-subjugation is not a virtue
- No action is an island
- The Tao of Booze
- The drug talk
- Why you should be sober
- 6 accurate and 6 inaccurate ways to judge people
- 8 steps to becoming a genius
- My approach to thinking/problem solving
- The science of thought
- Your ability to think obligates you to
- How to think critically
- How to solve a problem using a team
Agnosticism and Atheism
- Agnostic nihilism
- Agnostic atheism
- Do agnostics fear death?
- An agnostic theory on why God is so cruel
- An agnostic take on God
- An agnostic take on Pascal’s Wager
- An agnostic take on intelligent design
- So you don’t believe in God. What do you do now?
- Should reason be considered a legal religion?
- Reason vs faith: part 1, part 2
- Predictions on the New Atheist movement
- Meta Atheists V.S. Pop Atheists
- A biker looks at social conformity
- A biker looks at bad weather
- A biker looks at the road
- A biker explains why we ride
- A biker wonders again why he rides
- A biker looks at crying
Originally published at thewisesloth.com on April 26, 2013.