Repose

“Confidence is attractive; arrogance is not.”

And what is the dividing line between the two?

“Confidence is belief in oneself and one’s powers and abilities. Arrogance is unjustified belief in oneself or one’s powers and abilities.”

So it has to do with what is just? Who determines that?

“I don’t know, but I have confidence that you’ll figure it out.”


The english word “repose” has several meanings. As a noun, it typically means “rest”. As a verb, it can varyingly mean “to pose again” (as the model in the picture is doing, above), or “to place confidence in” — among other things.

Heaven help those who learn English as a second (or third or fourth…) language.

It is an interesting exercise, when observing others, to note who they place confidence in. Frequently, people’s tastes and beliefs are a function of who those same people put their confidence in.

Anyone who reads about politics or other largely rhetorical subjects realizes this. Political arguments often consist of little more than attacking the credibility of the opposing side; i.e., eroding whatever confidence people might have in the opposition. The substance of people’s positive arguments is usually tenuous (at best) and the substance of people’s attack on other people’s arguments (as opposed to them, personally) is often more-or-less absent.

In real life and in the long run, we tend to repose confidence in those who prove worthy. However:

a) People can fool us with lies — that is, by misleading us as to what “real life” is.

b) At any given time, we may not be in the “long run”, and have not realized certain people’s trustworthiness — or lack of trustworthiness, for that matter.

I used to argue a lot with people about politics: like everyone else who has done this, I realized (a) I never changed a single person’s mind doing it; and (b) I felt vaguely bad about it afterwards, at best, and very bad about it the rest of the time. Part of this was because, somewhere, in the back of my mind, I always had the thought, “You can’t even live your own life without mistakes, yet you are going to tell the rest of your community (your state, your country, the world) how to live and how to think, as though you are some sort of expert”.

I used to have a cartoon entitled “How Journalists Start Their Day”, which consisted of a blindfolded person throwing darts at a board that said “Today, I Am An Expert On” at the top, and variously “Economics / Social Trends / The Arts / Science / etc.” on parts of the dart board. Far from criticizing this phenomenon, I decided to become a blogger and participate in it. However, it is good to step back and realize, at any given time and on many things, it is possible to be varying degrees of wrong.

When our own opinions have evolved over time, we tend to be pretty forgiving of the younger version of us, even if we are appalled when we run into those same views in the here-and-now. If changes in opinion teach us nothing else, they should teach us that most of our opinions are subject to revision whenever we might think we know better than we used to — in other words, we don’t have the final truth.

It should (ideally) also make us more tolerant of others; but tolerance as a virtue is like the popular girl who everyone says nice things about but nobody asks out. Most conversations about tolerance that I encounter are about how others should tolerate us; which makes tolerance a less symmetrical thing than the concept entails.


Have you ever fallen for someone who seemed confident, but turned out to be arrogant?

“Yes. It often takes time and energy to tell them apart.”

How much does it take, in your experience?

“The first time, it took about eight years, two kids, and a third of my soul.”

Author: Sibelius Russell

Sibelius Russell (a/k/a/ Owen "Beleaguered" Servant) lives a life of whimsical servitude -- whatever that means.

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