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Modesty and Estimation

Updated: Feb 20

A young man grinning amid the zombies
AI Art by Ms. Tamara Moskal

I believe that, at least from my experience thus far, being modest isn't that great when you have skills that are above average or, dare I say, extra-ordinary. It's not necessarily about me that I'm talking about, but literally any person who is extremely talented in one field or another or is at least capable of such greatness.

The problem with modesty is that, since it is expected, we might underestimate our potential beyond that of society.

To be frank, I have just realized that my fear of appearing arrogant to others has been delaying me, holding me back. Although I dislike arrogance myself, people throughout my life have nonetheless accused me of it, all technically because of the way I communicate.

It was frustrating to see certain people that I knew for a long time calling me something I am not all because I acted naturally, without a tiny bit of actually seeing myself as superior to others.

It was recently that I recalled the words of Epictetus: "There are some things in life that are beyond your control," and of course, one of these things is external perception and reputation. Sure, I can change my own actions, which might influence the things that I cannot control, but in the end, it is just a gamble.

After all, I can't tell people what to think of me, even if I say something that can change their minds. I can't force it and I can't even convince myself, as my social skills are very poor due to autism.

What people don't realize is that being better than others in whatever field doesn't necessarily make you superior or worthier than others, and that goes for both sides of the discussion. Rest assured that I am aware that, by potentially being a savant, as some have told me throughout my life, I am not a "meta-human", or an "ubermensch," as Nietzsche would put it.

We are all humans, as the cliché goes, and I don't pretend to be more human than anyone else. The only exception is that I am significantly better in a specific field, and that is it.

There should be a distinction between self-recognition and the notion of "being full of yourself" or "having your head up your ***" as some vulgar people would've put it. There should be no shame in being proud of yourself, and being proud of yourself doesn't mean you are more important than others who are less good in your field of specialization or occupation.

When it comes to being a philosopher, there might be a thin line, in the minds of others, between being a good one and being pretentious. Anyone who disagrees with your arguments, which is inevitable in philosophy, might tell you that you don't know what you're talking about or that you are a pretentious ****.

I've been called many such offenses, all because I wanted to philosophize, something that by itself is legit. The act of philosophizing, not the ad-hominem attacks.

A philosopher's legitimacy is something that you must fight for, unlike in other fields where you can get a certificate that justifies your position in society. In philosophy, well, even a child could be a good philosopher, simply by being good at philosophizing and being good at logic.

So, the realization that I've reached is that even people who were, are, and will be greater than me, will never be invulnerable to hate or offense from others. If I can't change that, what's the point of even taking such perspectives seriously when you can persist in your way of life?

Their accusations of arrogance might always be there, even long after my own death. It doesn't mean, however, that I should just give up, right? No one of my accusers has managed to stop me from doing something as legitimate as philosophizing, so why bother worrying about their perception?

Throughout my years as a writer, many people criticized my work, which is fine, but some of said criticism was quite petty, such as something being too long, or having a name of an article not very good for the material it represented, or even having a one-paragraph sentence that they could not follow.

Ultimately many people, if not everyone, have their "pet peeves" when it comes to the same work, and it seems that, no matter how good I'll get, some people will continue complaining even if said complaints are too small in relation to the material at hand.

I think people should celebrate the good sides of themselves, their points of strength. To be seen as someone who consider him or herself superior to others just because they are thankful for their gifts, should be a fallacy, as that self-love isn't enough of evidence to justify the accusation of arrogance.

It is frustrating, that we are "supposed" theoretically, by our societies, to see ourselves in a certain way that will not trigger others. Why should I be considerate of someone who hates me for acting natural, and thinks I am pretentious because of that? Why be modest when you can love yourself for who you are?

Why shouldn't we just break the barriers of socializations and explore new possible perceptions which we could then apply on ourselves? If I think I'm a genius or a savant, why should someone be offended by it? It has nothing to do with them, after all, and no offense was given nor intended.

I think that this is the problem of being a philosopher in the 21st century; The fact that anyone in theory can become a philosopher, without any certification being required, is something that appears to piss people off. Because of that, fighting for your credibility in this field is a must even if you're an academic, because degrees do not make you a philosopher; constant philosophizing does.

What is a philosopher, in short? It is simply a deep thinker who contemplates life on a constant basis. Deep/existential thinking shouldn't piss anyone off, just like any other legitimate activity shouldn't. Why then, do people feel uncomfortable or triggered when someone philosophizes against their will or against their own interpretation of what philosophizing is?

Some of the responses I received throughout the years were very dramatic, both in emotion and in the words they used. I can only guess that it's something that is more about them, than it is more about me. I even checked some of their profiles and they were vulgar in general and not only to me.

Finally, to those who might hate me in past, present and future -- don't like what you read? Simply search for something else to read that will not make you as angry. I don't force anyone to read my stuff, nor I expect each and every person on the planet to adore my writings.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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