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  1. #11
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    people spend too much time trying to be right.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  2. #12
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    There is no inherent good in someone else's righteousness if it harms others and there is nothing bad in another's self-righteousness if it helps others.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think I see where you're going, except I'm wondering if you're missing one key person that self-righteousness harms: The person who is self-righteous.
    Well, he did say someone else's self-righteousness. Clearly he isn't worried about their personal development. I wonder how he would apply this reasoning to righteousness/self righteousness in himself though?

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    I'd say... the difference is a component of humility. Perhaps a willingness to consider that you could be wrong/not see the entire picture, that other people could have something to offer.
    This is part of it.

    I would say, though, that a more essential, because fundamental, difference might be one of EGO, which is where the "self" part comes in. The sense of righteousness is assumed in the service of the self, not from adherence to some percieved greater truth as in a truly righteous person (though a self-rightous person is equally capable of claiming this as their reason). This is where they may become hard to distinguish if your own moral perspective is different, I'll try to clarify what I'm thinking:

    A righteous person may appear self-righteous due to the strength of their conviction, but have little ego invested in their beliefs. They believe what they do because they are convinced of its truth, not because it validates their sense of self. They may therefore be reluctant to change their beliefs, but able to do so on reciept of new information which they consider relevant, and which leads them to a more comprehensive vision of the truth they seek (which is really what drives righteous behaviour, the quest for truth/perfection). If you're not able to present them with anything which they consider relevant, they will appear extremely tenacious in defense of their beliefs. The trick is to understand where they're actually coming from without projecting your own expectations upon them. A righteous person will most likely be open to discussing their beliefs with someone who seems genuinely interested, and will either be able to systematically justify themselves or admit that their beliefs may have certain flaws or questionable aspects, but they nevertheless choose to hold them because -> *insert reason*.

    Compare to a self-righteous person whose beliefs seem equally firmly held but is holding them because their ego, their sense of who they are in this world, is tied up with them. The beliefs are used not to seek truth, but to defend the boundaries of their own personal insecurity (a self-righteous person is essentially a highly insecure one who has constructive an effective barrier between the world and their fears) Any challenge is a threat not just to their vision of truth, but their whole sense of existence as a separate person. You are likely to draw a strong emotional response from challenging a self-righteous person over their beliefs, possibly an aggressive one, possibly a condemnation of yourself, an (often implied) assertion of their own superiority, your lack of intelligence or wisdom, etc. If you do make a point they find unanswerable, they are likely to try to deflect the issue with some kind of personal attack, or assert that your point is invalid because it comes from a belief system either implied or stated to be inferior to their own. What you won't get is an open, calm discussion of what they believe in, with all its flaws examined. The standard tactic of a self-righteous person whose sense of self is threatened is to call you a fool for not understanding, immoral for disagreeing, or, interestingly and not a little ironically, a persecutor and intolerant if you persist, and they cannot make the others stick.

    A cunning self-righteous person with well developed defenses is quicker than others to use the accusation of persecution, and may be less abrasive and more indirect, and persistently imply that though your position has purely theoretical merit (which they may agnknowlege), there is somehow something wrong with you, some defficiency in yourself, for not believing as they do. They are only projecting the defficiency, the lack of completeness they feel in their own selves and cannot bring themselves to agknowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity View Post
    For me the true meaning of righteousness is the person who is a living example of doing the right thing but makes no claims to it.

    Your definition in fact is another aspect of self-righteousness.
    Interesting, actually, that someone would make the assumtption that another's moral perspective, because expressed, is necessarily superficial because it contrasts with their own vision of morality as a nuanced, relativistic matter, where there is no true right and wrong. Angel, could you be prone to self-righteousness over your own moral perspective here? Serious question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    An alcoholic is somebody I don´t like who drinks as much as I do.
    A square is someone I don't like, whose self-indulgent vices are less evident than my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    people spend too much time trying to be right.
    Possibly, so what do you spend too much time doing?
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  3. #13
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    An alcoholic is somebody I don´t like who drinks as much as I do.

    I´d like to go with Gromit´s idea that - if we want to assume that the difference is not just that I am righteous and you are self-righteous - it is the humility and willingness to question yourseld once in a while that distinguishes the two.

    I am unique, you are eccentric, he´s crazy.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
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  4. #14
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think I see where you're going, except I'm wondering if you're missing one key person that self-righteousness harms: The person who is self-righteous.
    Well this whole debate is about labels isn't it? And attributing negativity to the word self-righteous. There is a thiner line between being fair and being close-minded than people often realize, if you ask me.

    I don't see how being self-righteous is harmful for the self. It can be liberating.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Well, he did say someone else's self-righteousness. Clearly he isn't worried about their personal development. I wonder how he would apply this reasoning to righteousness/self righteousness in himself though?:
    Meaningless words in my opinion. Two people hear a rant of mine on values. One will label me self-righteous (the negative connotation of the word) and the other will respect me for my righteousness and won't think me self-centered at all.

    It's not about being worried about their personal development. I'm coming from the place that people use words to demonize people (the thus-labeled self-righteous people) and not having to think too much about it. Self-righteous can produce results too. All the good people that ever existed and that impacted our world weren't always well balanced and politically correct.

  5. #15
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post

    Interesting, actually, that someone would make the assumtption that another's moral perspective, because expressed, is necessarily superficial because it contrasts with their own vision of morality as a nuanced, relativistic matter, where there is no true right and wrong. Angel, could you be prone to self-righteousness over your own moral perspective here? Serious question.
    Well spotted, and I do admit at times to being self-righteous when I would rather not be. In this instance tho my comment was honourably intended tho it may have been perceived to be otherwise.

    The poster had on several occasions in the past week over a few threads mentioned that his understanding of the English language wasn't all it could be, and was merely a technical correction of perception of definition.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
    author unknown

  6. #16
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    Well this whole debate is about labels isn't it? And attributing negativity to the word self-righteous. There is a thiner line between being fair and being close-minded than people often realize, if you ask me.
    Well, this often boils down to whether person to whom said label is attached is prepared to accept the point of view of the labeller or not. I would agree with what you seem to be implying, that there's nothing particularly admirable.

    I don't see how being self-righteous is harmful for the self. It can be liberating.
    Not under my definition just given, which I accept may be different to the ones people may use when they merely wish to label someone they find disagreeable. There are differerent levels at which this issue may be understood.

    Meaningless words in my opinion. Two people hear a rant of mine on values. One will label me self-righteous (the negative connotation of the word) and the other will respect me for my righteousness and won't think me self-centered at all.

    It's not about being worried about their personal development. I'm coming from the place that people use words to demonize people (the thus-labeled self-righteous people) and not having to think too much about it. Self-righteous can produce results too. All the good people that ever existed and that impacted our world weren't always well balanced and politically correct.
    I agree with the bits bolded, and refer you back to the point I've already made: the roots of the distinction are probably in the psyche of the person concerned, not in whether you agree with what they are saying or not; which may say more about your own defensiveness, hence your own potential for truly self righteous behaviour.
    Last edited by ragashree; 07-07-2010 at 10:16 PM.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    I agree with the bits bolded, and refer you back to the point I've already made: the roots of the distinction are probably in the psyche of the person concerned, not in whether you agree with what they are saying or not; which may say more about your own defensiveness, hence your own potential for truly self righteous behaviour.
    By your you mean ours, people's, right? If so, I agree.

  8. #18
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    By your you mean ours, people's, right? If so, I agree.
    Yeah, it wasn't personally directed
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  9. #19
    Member IntrovertedThinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity View Post
    For me the true meaning of righteousness is the person who is a living example of doing the right thing but makes no claims to it.

    Your definition in fact is another aspect of self-righteousness.
    I think righteousness can be done or claimed. What matters if 'if' the person's actions or claims or behavior is 'justified.' If it isn't justified, then someone is self-righteous. Self-righteous means "excessively pious." Obviously, an excess of piousness is not justified, as a person merely needs to keep a moderate awareness of their righteousness (if in fact they feel justified in their righteousness).

    Hence, self-righteous is more akin to "conceited" and "narcissistic." These traits aren't usually justified, but are often times due to the person's inflated sense of self, or ego. A righteous person, on the other hand, can come off arrogant, if they feel entirely confident, secure, and justified in their position. So arrogance need not necessarily mean that person isn't righteous, but more self-righteous.

    Additionally, insolence isn't always a bad thing. Blatant, bold, and emphatic statements aren't always to be assumed "excessive" or "unnecessary" or "unjustified" or "false." Often times, it's merely the writer's way of expressing themselves. This can be viewed as arrogant, self-righteous, and big-headed, but all that logically matters is if the person is actually justified.

    This brings us to another aspect of this entire matter. If someone is justified in feeling righteous and acts accordingly, should they? My personal opinion is that someone may express themselves however they want, if indeed they are justified. If they aren't, they make themselves look stupid, while annoying everyone else. Thus, I don't necessarily consider bold expressions and claims and statements to be necessarily offensive by default. Bold actions, claims, expressions, and statements are only offensive when they are entirely unfounded and unjustified.

  10. #20
    Member IntrovertedThinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    people spend too much time trying to be right.
    Indeed, but sometimes, they actually are right.
    Hence, the confusion, and the point of the issue: are they justified?

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