Quiz 3: An extended definition of the term "intellectual pride"
Study the extended definition example below of the term "meta-fighting" and imitate the style to write an extended definition of the term "intellectual pride" in the context of the stories "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People."
Your definition should have a single-sentence definition, distinguishing characteristics, and examples from the two stories. Be sure to include an effective title for your quiz. Don't simply title it "Quiz 3"
Your quiz should be between 450-500 words.
An extended definition has a single-sentence definition, which also contains distinguishing characteristics.
Marriage is a legally-binding contract, which requires loyalty, hard work, compromise, and humilty.
The above sentence has characteristics that you flesh out in the body of your paragraph.
Intellectual pride is a _____________________, which is fueled by ___________, ________________, _____________, and ___________________.
Example of an Extended Definition
Are You Meta-Fighting with Your Partner? If So, Stop It Immediately
If you’re simply fighting with your girlfriend or wife, you don’t know what real fighting is. The type of fight when you are focused on the original source of your argument is a lightweight argument, one which can be resolved with relative ease. But when you and your partner elevate the fighting to a new level, in which the original subject of the argument deviates into newer, more toxic, more hostile territories, it’s called meta-fighting.
Meta-fighting is when you begin to argue about how you are arguing about the argument. You are bickering about style, tone, and methodology. And this argument, this meta-fight, about how you deliver your argument also spawns an argument about how you are scrutinizing and judging the analysis of the style of the argument over a topic that you most likely have forgotten, the original topic being obscured by layers and layers of analysis about the analysis about the analysis about the methodology of your arguing. By this time, the subject behind the original argument is beside the point. It’s as if the original controversy or hot-button was simply a springboard to vent deeper issues about your relationship.
Perhaps the next point is obvious: When you recognize that you are in the middle of a meta-fight, it’s important to stop it as soon as possible because the damage to your relationship can be beyond your understanding and control. So let us be clear. When you catch yourself in the middle of a meta-fight, you need to go into Damage Control Mode. Here’s what you do:
Abruptly stop arguing, clear your throat, and say you don’t feel well. Then disappear into the bathroom for at least a half hour and be resolved not to bring up the fight upon exiting your “cool-off cubicle.” Apologize for “getting carried away” and start cooking a meal, preferably comfort food. Start chopping onions, dicing carrots, peeling potatoes, and in general keep busy and pretend to be absorbed by your new task so that you don’t get sucked back into the meta-fight.
If you do not know how to cook, take on a outdoor or indoor project you’ve been putting off. Wash windows, clean the garage, vacuum, anything to distract both of you from the meta-argument.
Be adamant about not getting sucked back into the meta-argument. Remember this: A meta-argument is a black hole, a bottomless pit of pain, hurt, and suffering from which sometimes there is no return. So be warned. If you must fight with you’re partner, that is fine. But no meta-fighting, not ever.
Other Tools for Definition
Single-Sentence Definition: includes the term, the class, and the distinguishing characteristics.
Jealousy is a form of madness in which the afflicted obsesses over fantasies of being cheated on, of fantasies of ultimate control, of inclininations of violence, and of a deep need to cheat on his partner in order to avenge her "misdeed."
Negation: What the thing is NOT: Love is not infatuation.
Classification: Know which classification your term belongs to.
For example, there are many types of pride:
1. Charity pride: You're too proud to accept help or charity even when you're having tough times.
2. Physical pride: We pass the beautiful woman who wears an arrogant, supercilious expression that says, "You're lucky I'm not charging you money to simply look at me, loser."
Or if she is more arrogant, her face will say: "You can't afford this expensive champagne, Mr. Loser Man, so don't even bother looking."
3. Stubborn pride: You won't back down on a position even though you know you're wrong because you're too proud.
4. Vindication pride: George Costanza hates his girlfriend but he refuses to break up with her because he wants everyone who accuses him of being too immature to be in a relationship to believe otherwise. Of course, his stupidity proves their point.
5. Perfectionist pride: You throw away a chocolate cake you made for your family because it doesn't meet your high standards.
6. No excuses pride: You always deliver top quality product and performance on time and you are never late. Nor do you ever disappoint people because you have pride in your honor and integrity.
7. Indignation pride (adapted from Louis C.K.): These are people who see themselves as victims because they operate on the stupid belief that NOTHING BAD IS SUPPOSED TO EVER HAPPEN TO THEM. Their dinner reservation might be late; their airplane departure might be late; their dry cleaning might not be ready. Whatever it is, they always have the same response: "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? YOU WILL BE HEARING FROM MY ATTORNEYS!"
8. Intellectual pride: You believe you are intellectually superior to the human race and because you are superior you do not have to comform to the same moral principles as the rest of the world. In fact, your noncomformity, your moral lapses and moral depravity, prove your superiority.
Intellectual pride is always the mask of the emotionally wounded, the people who have a grudge or a chip on their shoulder. They wear their pride as an excuse so they don't have to grow up and have moral accountability and adult responsibilities like the rest of us.
Intellectual pride is a childish position. It is the position of emotional retardation.
Intellectual pride cuts us off from the rest of the human race.
Intellectual pride cuts off our empathy.
Intellectual pride results in solipsism, extreme self-centeredeness, and as such its final destination is insanity.
Three Life Traps
Peter Kreeft in his book Three Philosophies of Life discusses three life traps, all of which are in focus in O’Connor’s short story:
Complacent Mediocrity: being self-satisfied and indifferent to life's higher questions as you distract yourself with triviality: This is the condition of most people.
Intellectual Pride: You feel superior to the "peasants and stupid hoards" because you're of higher intelligence and are special and as such conventional morality does not apply to you. This attitude embodies the Misfit.
Despair: The inverse of pride: You feel isolated and apart from the human race and impervious to the solutions that bring them happiness and redemption. You're "beyond saving." Again, the Misfit embodies this attitude.
The family in the story embodies complacent mediocrity in that they are indifferent to morality evidenced by the disrespectful children and happily ignore life’s most ultimate and urgent questions such as the meaning of life.
The grandmother is the family’s worst offender and while many defend her as innocent and kind there is much evidence in the story that condemns her:
1. She is racist and patronizing in her attitudes toward others.
2. She is provincial in her self-aggrandizing self-satisfaction and disdain for Europeans and presumably anyone from any country other than America.
3. She chatters herself to distract her from death and the meaning of life.
4. She is manipulative and prone to lying to get her way.
5. She is hypocritical as she supposedly longs for honest, decent people while she exacts dishonesty upon others.
6. Her religious piety only raises its head when she is confronted with her own mortality.
Causes of Complacent Mediocrity
1. Paralyzed by routine and comfort; routine puts us in a sort of trance and we develop an unconcious fear of change. I read about a college basketball coach who everyday eats the same lunch: peanut butter and honey sandwich. I love peanut butter and honey but every day?
2. Paralyzed by having no vision of a better, higher life. Without a vision or anything to compare our lives to, we easily delude ourselves into believing we have good reason to be content. Our "normal" might not be so normal but we don't know without a point of comparison. If you look up to people whose adult lives consist of watching ESPN, drinking booze, and playing poker when they're not slaving some job they hate, then you probably imitate those people and assume you're life is good and flourishing.
3. Paralyzed by sloth and inertia. A lack of movement reinforces more stillness or inertia. For example, the hardest part of writing a research paper is getting started because we must break free from the intertia.
4. Paralyzed by learned helplessness. We condition ourselves to believe in certain limitations and make peace with these limitations until we convince ourselves of our own helplessness. I convinced myself that I could not learn math until I after I graduated from college I took a CBEST test to qualify me to be a sub teacher. I got 99% correct on the math part of the exam. With a gun to my head, I could learn math.
Causes of Intellectual Pride
1. The ego tells us we are different from everyone else. We are apart from them, removed. We are in other words special and as such we are not connected to the human race.The Misfit says, "No one had nothing I wanted."
2. The ego sees us as superior, educated, caring, full of soulful torment over life's big questions while the "toothy masses" are ignorant, and like the grandmother chatter their lives away on BS. We read that some people can live their whole life without caring about life's big questions but that the Misfit "has to know why it is." He is on a spiritual search but he has found nothing and he is in rage. He was "buried alive" but has never been reborn. He is a member of the walking dead.
3. The ego demands a sense of entitlement and the sense that the world "owes us."
4. The ego refuses to call out for help. The Misfit says, "I don't want no hep. I'm doing all right by myself."
Causes of Despair
1. Related to pride, despair convinces us that we are so different from everyone else that their prescriptions for life's ailments will be worthless to us. We are beyond repair, beyond help, beyond the point of no return. Nothing can save us. The Misfit is a "different breed of dog."
2. We recoil into the Self and disconnected from others we live in alienation and isolation and this condition feeds the condition of despair.
3. We assert our hopelessness because we need to feel vindicated for the thousands of hours we've invested into being miserable.
4. Over time we begin to believe in our imagined despair and we become nihilists. A nihilist is someone who rejects all meaning, values, and the very idea of right and wrong. Life is without purpose. Life is a joke. There is no pleasure in life but meanness. This is the bitter reaction for having been born into a world of suffering without meaning or redemption.
Flannery O'Connor's Religious Faith Informs the Story by Seeing the Human Race as 3 Types of People
1. There are those, like O'Connor, who see themselves as helpless sinners and humbling themselves before God they accept God's grace and find goodness and meaning in life.
2. There are those, like the family in the story, and especially the grandmother, who might put up a facade of religious piety but in truth are willfully ignorant of religious ideas and live in a bubble of stupidity.
3. Finally there are those like the Misfit who delve deep into religious ideas, know ideas like grace, salvation, redemption, and damnation to the very marrow of their bones but they reject God and prefer to lord over their own lives. They don't need help from anyone or any god. They're doing fine by themselves. These type of people go through a rot of the soul that in many ways is far more dangerous than the second type of people. But it's clear, O'Connor rejects both types of people and sees them as doomed to damnation.
Objections to O'Connor's story that I have read over the years and often wonder about myself
The story is hypocritical. Why? Because the author writes from a religious point of view, one that says we should all be connected to the human race, yet the story's omniscient narrator shows disdain against the characters. Indeed, the story is soaked with misanthropy.
The story claims to be informed by a religious point of view but the "salvation" gained by the grandmother is not salvation at all but the hysteria one suffers before a violent death. No redemption is achieved by anyone in the story. Therefore, the story has no meaning. It is a story of nihilism and misanthropy. It is a Gospel of Nihilism.
The story is soaked with virulent misanthropy, hatred of the human race, informed by the author's religious view that says anyone outside her religious beliefs is lost and damned. This is evidenced by the story's caricatures and stereotypes. In other words, O'Connor's fiction is suffused with humanity's lowest common denominator, a function of her unconscious disdain for the human race.
The story's religious dogma is so narrow that only a select few people in this world can be saved. Anyone who doesn't fit O'Connor's model of religious faith is damned, including all the story's characters.
Possible Thesis Statements
While Viktor Frankl and Flannery O'Connor are both people of faith, Man's Search for Meaning is incompatible with "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." This argument is evident when we look at __________, ____________, ____________, and ________________.
Criticisms of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" as a work of nihilism incompatible with Man's Search for Meaning are warranted. In fact, a close look at the story reveals it has an urgent call for the quest to find meaning evidenced by ____________, ____________, __________, and _____________.