I used to think being condescending was important for being a good thinker.
I would never have said that, though. I might have maybe admitted that I wanted to feel superior. Like I knew that condescension isn’t necessary for being a good thinker. It was more like I thought I had earned superiority; I thought I was better (than other people) because of that.
It’s like I was jealous (but not envious) of prowess.
By ‘jealous’ I mean that I was insecure that someone else being skillful would diminish my skill. And reflecting on it now, that feeling was (at least some of the time) true. I know that I’ve unwittingly been an intellectual fraud before, and more than once. I was insecure because I should have been insecure – better thinkers than me would be able to find me out.
Every time a breakpoint like this happens (where I feel like I make some progress) it feels like I’m starting to get a better understanding of this stuff. Like how to live. What life values and attitudes matter. What to fertilize in the orchard that is one’s mind.
One the one hand that makes me a bit sad, like having this feeling of starting over, almost. On the other hand, isn’t that the essence of being at the beginning of infinity?
I’m hesitant to say that last bit. Not just because of the CR harassment, but also because it feels like stroking my own ego a bit. I don’t think it would be good for me to do that at the moment. But I also can’t un-notice it.
Anyway, I wanted to share.
edit: I also felt like I needed to, like, show that off. I needed to act superior, too. Something like that. ↩︎
I’m not being 100% literal here, I more mean like I’d convinced myself that stuff like being overconfident was okay, or that I deserved to win an argument so it didn’t matter if I was a bit sneaky and just outmanoeuvred someone instead of being honest. ↩︎
by ‘an intellectual fraud’ I mean that I had mislead people about the reality of my knowledge/confidence; I spoke with unearned authority. ↩︎