Pride and Arrogance, the Price for Being Gifted

Anatta
12 min readNov 20, 2023

I was told I was brilliant my entire life, and it shaped me into a supremely prideful and arrogant ass.

Being smart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It provides many advantages, but it also provides many roadblocks to success.

I always excelled at standardized tests, generally scoring in the highest 99th percentile for each category.

When I arrived at college, I set the benchmark curb in subjects including chemistry, political science, mathematics and history, none of which were subjects that interested me that much.

I was on the dean’s list with a perfect 4.0 for 5 semesters.

I scored two 800s and and a 780 on the GRE for admission to graduate school.

Do you know what that gave me?

A colossal ego and a sense of superiority that elevated me above every mere mortal I came into contact with.

I embodied asshole, like Ted Cruz.

Hell, I thought I was smarter than a guy like that.

I was the simply the Best, better than all the rest. G.O.A.T. Greatest of All Time!!!

Pride over Pride can elevate you above anyone.

Never compete with another person’s ego. It’s a game of dick-measuring you can never win.

Would it surprise you that my relationships suffered, and nobody liked me very much?

It shouldn’t.

I wouldn’t have liked me either, not that I realized that. I thought I was great!

I scored in the 99th percentile on Pride

I studied with a gentlemen who obtained a perfect score on the GRE. I failed to achieve that.

He was smart; I am not, and I could immediately tell the difference.

Standardized tests only measure to a certain level. When you meet someone who goes beyond, you see just how smart people can be.

But by then, I was supremely arrogant, and set in my ways, so even that humbling setback didn’t change my lofty self evaluation.

I told myself I was probably still in the top 10. Right?

I could blow smoke up my ass with the best of them.

That was a competition I wanted to win!

It felt lovely!!!

I struggled with excessive self-esteem.

My body too

I got into powerlifting in my 20s, and in my early 30s, I got into bodybuilding.

I was never really close to being buff for a competition, but I still managed to propel my vanity into the clouds.

I was too sexy.

Career Failure

Most of my professional career has been one setback after another.

I blamed everyone else of course, but I had no ability to put together teams or work toward common goals because I felt I was the only one capable of anything.

The only successes I had were things I accomplished completely on my own, which wasn’t very much.

This was entirely due to my pride and arrogance.

My amazing gifts went largely to waste due to my foibles.

I have no Desire, Right?

Not just was I supremely arrogant about my intelligence, I also believed I was more spiritually evolved that everyone else.

I cultivated a self image of an angel with no selfish thoughts, a truly “enlightened” being.

I was deluding myself.

Holy Beings worshiped me. Mere mortals were lucky to be in my presence, and I expected them to be dutifully thankful for my missives from God.

It was obvious to everyone except me.

Their opinions didn’t matter much thanks to my arrogance.

And worse, I was ignoring the signals from a force, my Selfish Desire, that pushed me to do bad things.

When I bothered to examine how I set conditions in motion to create my problems — a rare occurrence at best — I couldn’t figure out why I was doing bad things, lying to myself and others about it, and becoming upset that nobody would aid my victim story by agreeing with it.

I lived in a perpetual state of woe-is-me.

It was unpleasant.

Willful Ignorance is no solution to managing your Desires.

When I denied my selfish feelings, I put on the appearance of a Buddhist, learned some of the lingo, and practiced breath meditation a few times.

I extrapolated my few experiences to expert status, and I climbed to the peak of mount stupid, with a healthy dose of arrogance to tingle my root chakra to propel my liftoff.

Have you ever met someone like that?

Look up Jim and Tammy Bakker.

I and my Desire Do Not Exist, Right?

I didn’t give up on Buddhism. I felt there was something there for me, but I needed to dig a bit deeper — actually a lot deeper.

I had a book. I needed to open the cover and read it.

And start practicing.

I figured I would take a big whack at negating the “I” entirely. I read somewhere that the self in an illusion and does not exist.

Okay. If the self doesn’t exist, then that voice of Desire must be an illusion. I can just ignore it, and it will go away.

Bumper Sticker Wisdom.

Let me try that and see what happens.

Unsurprisingly, It didn’t work out well.

It’s really not that much different to cast a spell on yourself to remain oblivious to Selfish Desire as it is to be aware of Selfish Desire and try to ignore it.

And realistically, Desire’s voice is hard to ignore. Like being haunted.

Hearing the signals of Selfish Desire is not enough.

I needed to manage it.

Surprisingly, I actually found a way that worked.

I promoted him to Court Jester.

Cutting a Deal

My ego, the manifestation of Selfish Desire, delights in self-serving bullshit.

I reasoned with my selfish desire. I’ll trade something I want for something he wants.

I will agree to listen to him if he agrees not to take control of the ship.

Let me make the decisions.

Consciousness.

The ringleader, cat herder, prime minister of the Parliament in my mind.

My Court Jester

I promoted him to court jester after years of failure trying to kill him, ignore him, or pretend he didn’t exist.

The voice of my ego or selfish desire, my court jester, seems content in his role.

At least he isn’t bothered, and I listen.

We established Détente.

We were no longer at war. My mind became more peaceful.

Quite honestly, I’m surprised at how well that little mental game works.

Inside out is very close to the mark. Great Movie!

That’s Funny!

He has a voice in the chorus, so I react to him as my court jester.

Even when he’s serious, I take his advice as humor.

Strangely enough, he doesn’t mind.

He has little or no power to motivate me, which is the purpose of the mental gymnastics to manage him.

He’s actually quite entertaining. For better or worse, he’s taken control of my sense of humor.

He’s basic.

He’s crass, rude to pretense, brutal in his honesty.

He’s uses candor like a knife to cut through bullshit.

I’ve learned to appreciate him.

He’s changed my laugh. It’s got a slight hint of maniacal devilishness to it.

Contemplate this: How do you keep a fool in suspense?

Have you figured it out yet?

~~Giggles~~

Pride is the Jester’s Playground

I discovered “Court Jester” technique accidentally when I was working with Pride.

Pride is the playground of the ego.

My Court Jester’s fiefdom.

As worked with Pride, when I heard my own self-aggrandizing self-talk as humor rather than who I was, It was explosively funny, at least to me.

I’ve battled pride enough to identify that smoke-up-my-ass, uplifting feeling announcing his arrival.

Your Great!

Flattery will get you everywhere with Pride.

I played video games to study Pride.

I found that whenever I played skillfully I could hear the peanut gallery congratulating me particularly loudly.

As I learned to listen more closely, I heard these little scripts run with quips like.

You’re Great!

You’re Awesome!

Unbelievable. Best Ever!

You’re the MAN!!!

And I felt these feelings with great enthusiasm.

When I first noticed it, I agreed with the sentiment. Hell, yeah, I am the man!

I felt a big rush of energy near my root chakra so close to my ass that….

I’ll stop there.

That feeling. Blowing smoke up my ass. That is my signal of pride.

Ying and Yang

I don’t know why if feels that way, but I have a theory, of course.

My root chakra is nearby between my ying and my yang — if you know what I mean.

The root chakra connects to the earth, and to reality itself.

When I elevate myself with aggrandizing self-talk, my body is losing connection to my earthen reality, lifting me up off the ground.

That tingly feeling is my body informing my mind that something is amiss.

I am emotionally blowing smoke up my ass, and the tingles feel that flow.

Wedge Salads

Despite my lofty self evaluation, my wife found a way to penetrate my delusions and get useful information to me.

Both sides of this little interaction are aptly captured in Season 2, episode 16 of Modern Family.

This upset my wife for years.

Because I believed I was so much smarter than everyone else, you couldn’t just tell me something.

That wouldn’t not penetrate my shield of superiority.

My pride rejects all information not directly sustaining my lofty self opinion.

My wife’s information came from a faulty, lowly mortal, who doesn’t check her facts, so I didn’t hear her words.

But the words got in, subconsciously, through the back door.

Even if I had known she was the source of information originally, I most certainly would have cast a spell upon myself to forget it.

Then, later, when this new, completely original idea, emerges from my mind, washed clean of its association with my wife.

Then I was a genius!

More smoke!

Check and Mate

When Wedge Salad incidents occurred, my wife used to go bananas.

Who could blame her?

After a while, my wife stopped becoming upset.

She used to mumble “wedge salad” under her breath and giggle — which was cool with me because I could remain prideful, and enjoy the smoke.

She found the wisdom to see what was going on, and use it to her advantage.

She planted Wedge Salads on purpose, and waited for them to ripen.

When they did, she obtained the delightful satisfaction of outwitting the master.

She beat me at my own game!

Kudos to her!!!

I admit defeat.

I bow in honor to the superior mind.

Screw you and your “holier than thou” bullshit

I can be preachy and self-aggrandizing, particularly when my pride and arrogance grab attention.

I actually used the “smoke up my ass” test to edit this writing.

If I felt any amount of self-aggrandizement in any statement, it was removed.

My apologies if the Court Jester made it past my filter.

He’s sneaky.

There is a Season

When answers to my questions include that wonderfully uplifting feeling of smoke blown up my ass, I quickly deduce that I need to ask better questions.

I recently had an intense emotional awakening.

See: What I Felt When I Won the Lottery.

When the empowerment came, I asked myself: “Why did this happen now and not some other time?”

I got decent answers.

Funny ones anyway.

Trigger Warning

What follows is, in my opinion, the funniest work I’ve ever produced.

It’s crass.

It’s totally male.

It’s totally heterosexually male in raw detail.

You’ve been warned.

Poolside Harem

The Court Jester really wanted to show that picture again, so here it is.

The Court Jester secretly hopes everyone on earth discovers through this viral post and admires Him with flattering, racy comments.

He is self-important, proud, and vain.

He also complains that Humility is overrated.

I let him show his ignorant ass, just for the giggles.

He is my court jester.

You can get away with crap like that when you write anonymously!

Realistically, if I had become empowered as a younger man, I wouldn’t have survived the hedonistic binge that would have followed.

Pardon my digression, but my court jester did entertain me with some fantastic ideas that I would have implemented as an over-empowered, testosterone-pumped young man.

I’m fairly confident that I would have employed a harem of stunning nude call girls to inhabit my pool.

Yeah, realistically, if I really didn’t have any reason to stop myself.

I would have.

Perhaps I have them catcall to me, call me “big boy”, and say, “you’re the man.”

That would be fun.

The La Quinta Cove Cock demonstrates that the desire for a big cock manifests in unusual ways.

G.O.A.T.

I might even take it one step further.

Why not?

I have the money. I only live once.

I would GO for it. In a big way.

Think of the Qi flow.

Wow!

My private harem of stunning nudes (their objects not people) would have been extremely well paid to convince me — using all feminine charms at her disposal — the following Immutable Truths:

  1. My monstrous member goes waaaay deep and feels ecstatically overwhelming, stimulating orgasms on contact. My Wand is magic!
  2. As a lover I am GOAT, greatest of all time; not just her time, not just her best, I am the best lover that any woman ever had the privilege to pleasure. (That last part mandates deep digging for a strong performance. Method actors preferred.)
  3. She eagerly enjoys my pleasures, no matter how bizarre; if she really doesn’t like it, she must fake it perfectly every time forever, or until I tire of her and desire a replacement. A melon softens with too many squeezes.
  4. She gushes with excitement for her good fortune and honor of pleasing me. She is completely selflessly devoted to my selfish pleasure — a true religious devotee willing to worship my manhood.

I would have expected Academy Award performances and internally, I would have fostered the illusion and lived in that warped reality.

That really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.

If any heterosexual male denies the above, I call bullshit.

Women, men, swap parts. Imagine the characters as you please. If the image appeals, the lover is believable, and they reacts to you by those four principals, you would like that.

It would be something you want.

There is a reason Leonardo DiCaprio has a cult of devotees who habitually spit-polish his knob.

He likes it.

Leo, My Court Jester thinks you RULE! He wants to throw a party and invite my favorite rock bands from the 80s. It will be GLORIOUS!!!

Leo, Seriously, my apologies for any offense. The performances you and Johnny Depp delivered in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. That’s G.O.A.T. I didn’t see you. I only saw Arnie. Remarkable. That movie deeply touched my heart.

Johnny, My wife was tempted to stuff you into the trunk of her car when you consulted a map for directions in a parking lot in Las Vegas 30 years ago. She still tells the story. She’s says your hot.

Living an illusion is very tempting. With enough money, you can afford an entourage of hanger’s-on, like Elvis did.

You can create the illusion of who want to be, arrange your environment to reinforce your delusions, surround yourself with “yes” men (and women, of course) and live the dream.

Sort of.

Photo of author living a fantasy with a work party photo model. I usually didn’t go clubbing with a name tag.

Paying the Piper

Unfortunately, reality bats last.

Karma is inescapable.

Faking a life is a pathway to extreme suffering when the illusion can’t be sustained.

The emotional fall can be nasty, the impact hard.

Work in my house while writing. Did the Buddha in the background move this guy’s ladder?

Consequences Smonsequences

When I was young, I partied hard, drove fast, climbed dangerous mountains, explored uncharted caves.

If financially enabled, I would have endangered myself more often, bought a motor cycle, gone skydiving, base jumping, or other adrenaline inducing activities without regard to the risks and potential consequences.

My life was saved by financial limits on my hedonistic urges and sense of adventure at a time when I lacked wisdom to know better.

Even past the age of recklessness, I was still a self-important, self-serving typical young adult with no spiritual practice.

I would have squandered my power doing bad things to people — not the small slights of ordinary mortals — but supercharged major pain inflictors made possible by money and driven by an entitled, I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude and a sense of impunity.

I might have become president.

If I had obtained power even as recently as a couple of years ago, I would not have been ready.

I can’t say I was ready when it happened, but ready or not, the fundamental practice of a Buddhist is to accept reality as it is.

I have lots of money now.

I accepted it.

It’s sweet.

It went down easy.

Still an Ass?

I’m not going to waste wind trying to convince you I’ve overcome my pride and arrogance.

If I have not, that would be part of the show.

If I have, then no further explanation is required.

~~wink~~

Anatta

About Anatta. How to Quote Anatta. Contact: selflessanatta@gmail.com

Anatta only responds to requests from the Heart.

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Anatta

Buddhist practitioner and writer. My autistic son is the focus of my spiritual practice. He inspires me with his love and companionship.