Wednesday, March 08, 2006

There ain't room in this town for the two of us...

There is only one kind of person in the world about whom Hashem says "He and I cannot exist in the same place." This is someone who's arrogant.

Why not that serial killer? Why not, even, the one who performs a Chilul Hashem, disgracing His Name?

Because everyone can do teshuva. Once someone realizes that he or she has done something wrong, it is possible to clear the slate. Sincerity is crucial, but it can and has been done! ;)

The problem with an arrogant person is that he cannot admit that he's wrong. By definition, he considers himself infallable and therefore refuses to admit to a mistake. So he won't do teshuva-he will persist in his bad ways (or even way-it could be one particular thing) and refuse to assess himself and try to change. This is an extremely dangerous character trait, because our whole purpose here is change! And life is like a down escalator-if you're not working to go up, then by definition, you're falling.

So what does this have to do with me? I have seen the most arrogance in people with Ph.D.'s (although, I've also met some absolutely wonderful people, such as my advisor, who have, for some reason, avoided the pitfall). I guess prolonged study in anything will do that to you. You become The Authority on that particular topic, and so you feel like you are The Authority on everything! (Including other people's religions, which can get kind of annoying when it's your religion that they're pontificating on...)

But its fascintaing, to me, because these people (and I've had experience with two such people in the past week) can't learn anymore, unless they teach it to themselves.

It's really kind of sad.

Disclaimer: Notwithstanding this, I still see a Ph.D. in my distant future. It's just a warning that this is a danger. And Tina, you are certainly NOT in this catagory ;)


SaraQ said...

Ok, I appreciate that there was a disclaimer :). So maybe it depends on the field of study or really I just think it depends on the person. The problem with graduate school as opposed to college is you are truly limited in what you study. My liberal arts education, even with just the classes I took for my major alone, I learned all sorts of things about many areas of chemistry,in addition to the math, music, etc that I learned. Now I am forced to learn and excel and discover things in one small tiny little field. Of course I can see how this might, but only might, lead to arrogance. Yet I know too many people now that have PhDs who are lovely wonderful humble people. So I know you have seen arrogance, but it doesn't have to be the norm.

Scraps said...

My father has a PhD in his field, but he always despised acadamia for its arrogance. He disliked most of his colleagues because, as he described it, "They think they're G-d's gift to the world, and whoever disagrees with them is clearly a moron of the lowest order." He is b"H a very humble person, which is a trait that he has worked very hard on.

TRW said...

Update on this comment...the guy I was referring to doesn't even have a PhD...he just acts like he's the smartest person around, so I assumed that he had one.

In fact, he doesn't even have the correct qualifications for the job he holds. Well...I'm leaving soon, so it won't matter then!