Quotes on Arrogance
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Virtue and Vice

798. Arrogance; Good Humor
"Without good humour, learning and bravery can only confer that superiority which swells the heart of the lion in the desert, where he roars without reply, and ravages without resistance. Without good humour virtue may awe by its dignity and amaze by its brightness, but must always be viewed at a distance, and will scarcely gain a friend or attract an imitator."
Johnson: Rambler #72 (November 24, 1750)

1,128. Arrogance; Knowledge
"Vulgar and inactive minds confound familiarity with knowledge, and conceive themselves informed of the whole nature of things, when they are shown their form or told their use."
Johnson: Idler #32 (November 25, 1752)

1,257. Arrogance; Audacity

"The mental disease of the present generation is impatience of study, contempt of the great masters of ancient wisdom, and a disposition to rely wholly upon unassisted genius and natural sagacity. The wits of these happy days have discovered a way to fame, which the dull caution of our laborious ancestors durst never attempt; they cut the knots of sophistry, which it was formerly the business of years to untie, solve difficulties by sudden irradiations of intelligence, and comprehend long processes of argument by immediate intuition.

"Men who have flattered themselves into this opinion of their own abilities, look down on all who waste their lives over books, as a race of inferior beings condemned by nature to perpetual pupilage, and fruitlessly endeavouring to remedy their barrenness by incessant cultivation, or succour their feebleness by subsidiary strength. They presume that none would be more industrious than they, if they were not more sensible of deficiences; and readily conclude, that he who places no confidence in his own powers owes his modesty only to his weakness."

Johnson: Rambler #154 (September 7, 1751)

1,284. Arrogance; Audacity
"To excite opposition and inflame malevolence is the unhappy privilege of courage made arrogant by consciousness of strength."
Johnson: Rambler #159 (September 24, 1751)

1,287. Arrogance; Pressure; Shyness; Vanity
"No cause more frequently produces bashfulness than too high an opinion of our own importance. He that imagines an assembly filled with his merit, panting with expectation, and hushed with attention, easily terrifies himself with the dread of disappointing them, and strains his imagination in pursuit of something that may vindicate the veracity of fame, and show that his reputation was not gained by chance."
Johnson: Rambler #159 (September 24, 1751)

1,349. Arrogance; Popularity
"Few have abilities so much needed by the rest of the world as to be caressed on their own terms; and he that will not condescend to recommend himself by external embellishments must submit to the fate of just sentiment meanly expressed, and be ridiculed and forgotten before he is understood."
Johnson: Rambler #168 (October 26, 1751)

1,556. Arrogance; Consultation of Others; Reading
"If the wits of the present time expect the regard of posterity, which will then inherit the reason which is now thought superior to instruction, surely they may allow themselves to be instructed by the reason of former generations. When, therefore, an author declares, that he has been able to learn nothing from the writings of his predecessors, and such a declaration has been lately made, nothing but a degree of arrogance unpardonable in the greatest human understanding, can hinder him from perceiving that he is raising prejudices against his own performance; for with what hopes of success can he attempt that in which greater abilities have hitherto miscarried? or with what peculiar force does he suppose himself invigorated, that difficulties hitherto invincible should give way before him?"
Johnson: Adventurer #85 (August 28, 1753)

1,656. Arrogance; Individuality
"All violation of established practice implies in its own nature a rejection of the common opinion, a defiance of common censure, and an appeal from general laws to private judgment: he, therefore, who differs form others without apparent advantage, ought not to be angry if his arrogance is punished with ridicule; if those whose example he superciliously overlooks, point him out to derision, and hoot him back again into the common road."
Johnson: Adventurer #131 (February 5, 1754)

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