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DaphneT's avatar

Is the protrayal of arrogance the opposite of the portrayal of subservience?

Asked by DaphneT (5659 points ) September 13th, 2012

I know I used the word portrayal, and perhaps I need a word that means ‘to exhibit the characteristics of’, but I was struck by the idea that continual subservience is just as bad as arrogance. That being in a constant state of subservience is arrogance in a malevolent form. What say you?

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I do not see them as direct opposites. I do not think of subservience as malevolent where I do think that being arrogant is malevolent.

gailcalled's avatar

“Subservience” implies, in most cases, no choice while “arrogance” allows for freedom from external control.

keobooks's avatar

Watch reruns of the Frasier show. His brother Niles was subservient and arrogant at the same time.

thorninmud's avatar

Both arrogance and subservience can be gambits for power. That’s overtly the case with arrogance, a presumption of superiority. Subservience can be an attempt to ingratiate oneself with someone who has power, in the hope that some of that power will reflect on you. But, as @gailcalled points out, subservience is more often imposed, not chosen.

flutherother's avatar

If you are arrogant you think you know it all if you are subservient you think someone else knows it all. To that extent they are the same because nobody knows it all and everyone can learn something from others. Those who are subservient to an ideal can all too easily become arrogant in a malevolent way.

Coloma's avatar

I do not think of arrogance and subservience as opposites. I think it would be arrogance and inferiority, both dramatic opposites and both born of ego, one over inflated, the other under inflated.
Subservience portrays, IMO, an individual weak in assertiveness and willing to be a door mat rather than stand up for themselves. It also smacks of being a passive aggressive type, the worst type of personality to deal with IMO.

I am a confdent and assertive personality and would much rather have a direct confrontation than play sneaky snake in the grass games. Gah!

gailcalled's avatar

Uriah Heep chose to be subservient for his own smarmy need for gain.

Women in some third-world countries are subservient because the dominant culture gives them no obvious other choice.

wundayatta's avatar

The opposite of arrogance is humility. The opposite of subservience is dominance or masterliness.

Why do you judge either? Arrogance maybe annoying, but it isn’t all that bad. You can work around it.

Subservience is pretty easy to work with. You just tell people what you would like them to do. It’s on them to decide whether to do it or not. Just because someone is subservient doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of them. I wouldn’t, anyway.

I have had relationships where someone has wanted to serve me. You know what it did to me? It made me want to serve them. How about that? There was something so glorious about about submitting to the will of someone who loves you and would never want to hurt you.

Master and slave relationships can go more than one way. They can be the traditional way: where you force someone to submit to your will. But they can also be where you volunteer to submit. Obviously, that’s very different, and you would only do that for a master you completely trust. In fact, subservience in that context serves to demonstrate trust—complete trust—a rare thing in this world.

Anyway, you don’t give us any context for this question, so I have a hard time knowing how to answer it. But both of these terms can go in many more directions that just two, depending on context.

Kardamom's avatar

@wundayatta You have been on fire, and right on point these last few days. Bravo! I can’t think of anything to add or disagree with ; – )

May I serve you a cocktail?

wundayatta's avatar

[Blushing] I think I need that drink. My ears are burning!

Kardamom's avatar

^^ Here you Go I thought you’d like the glass too. It’s perfect, but not what people would expect, just like you : }

wundayatta's avatar

Beautiful!

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