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  • People in big empty places are likely to behave very much as the gods did on Olympus.

  • Timing and arrogance are decisive factors in the successful use of talent.

  • A patronizing disposition always has its meaner side ...

  • The scornful nostril and the high head gather not the odours that lie on the track of truth.

  • There's one thing that always interests me about you good people, not your certainty that the rest of us are swine, — no doubt we are, — but your certainty that your opinions are pearls.

  • ... nobody who is Somebody looks down on anybody.

  • ... his mistaken belief in his own superiority cut him off from reality as completely as if he were living in a colored glass jar.

  • When one must sit with the snobs, one belongs with the frightened.

  • All will be well, we say; it is a habit, like the rising of the sun, / For our country to prosper; who can prevail against us? No one.

  • He thinks he's finer than frog hair.

  • The head raised too high even in good will be struck off too soon.

  • Peel me a grape, Beulah!

  • To belittle is to be little.

  • There is no hierarchy of values by which one culture has the right to insist on all its own values and deny those of another ...

  • Her own sense of superiority was largely maintained by the contemplation of other people's faults.

  • Arrogance occurs in people who have achieved something and believe that they independently caused their own success with no assistance, support, or input from others.

  • ... the desire to enforce our own moral and spiritual criteria upon posterity is quite as strong as the desire to enforce them upon contemporaries.

    • Suzanne La Follette,
    • "Institutional Marriage and Its Economic Aspects," Concerning Women ()
  • A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessments of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.

  • Give the girl an inch and she thinks she's a ruler.

  • 'I don't know that I know much of the subject,' said Fulbert, with a suggestion that further knowledge would hardly add to him.

  • America has a history of political isolation and economic self-sufficiency; its citizens have tended to regard the rest of the world as a disaster area from which lucky or pushy people emigrate to the Promised Land.

  • A single word indicative of doubt, that any thing, or every thing, in that country is not the very best in the world, produces an effect which must be seen and felt to be understood. If the citizens of the United States were indeed the devoted patriots they call themselves, they would surely not thus encrust themselves in the hard, dry, stubborn persuasion, that they are the first and best of the human race, that nothing is to be learnt, but what they are able to teach, and that nothing is worth having, which they do not possess.

  • 'I am Melba. I shall sing when and where I like and I shall sing in my own way.' It may sound arrogant, but arrogance of that sort is not a bad way to get things done.

  • [Advice to Agnes de Mille:] Be arrogant. ... They won't respect you unless you're rude.

    • Martha Graham,
    • 1942, in Agnes de Mille, Dance to the Piper ()
  • I had thought enough ... to decide that I was going to 'teach.' In a sense that reflected the characteristically superior approach of most Americans to the Oriental. We tend to see ourselves as, automatically, the appointed teacher.

    • Vanya Oakes,
    • "I Arrive in Shanghai," White Man's Folly ()
  • A pompous woman of his acquaintance, complaining that the head-waiter of a restaurant had not shown her and her husband immediately to a table, said, 'We had to tell him who we were.' Gerald, interested, enquired, 'And who were you?'

  • I do not want Miss Mannin's feelings to be hurt by the fact that I have never heard of her ... At the moment I am debarred from the pleasure of putting her in her place by the fact that she has not got one.

  • Great evil has been done on earth by people who think they have all the answers.

  • ... someone was telling me that no more applications were being accepted for the position of God.