I feel like the most archaic form of evil feelings human has is arrogance. Its existence can be traced back to the time when humans hadn’t even set their foot on the earth yet. It’s a feeling so primal and so old but also so familiar because we still breathe it in and out, in and out.
Arrogance is not our neighbor nor our acquaintance. It’s inside us. It resides there on the deepest pit of your, and my, heart. To be fair, even though I said ‘deepest’, most of the time it’s not important. As long as we still live with a constantly overflowing arrogance, not even burying the feeling underground could prevent that rotten thing from spilling out to the outside world.
Going through the history of this world, of humans and nature and everything in between, I dare say that almost all destruction stemmed from arrogance. The precise reason why syaitan was abolished from Jannah. The precise reason why the first murder on earth was conducted. The precise reason why Abu Thalib, despite being one of the most self-assured people to step forward protecting Rosulullah anytime anything came near him, never recited syahadat until he closed his eyes forever. And of course it will be a never-ending list if I have to mention every conflict, every war, and every devastating thing humans brought upon themselves by, yeah you guessed it right, their arrogance.
But we are not yet talking about the scariest part of this evil feeling. Arrogance may lead up to a loss of lives and environmental damage, yes, but the scariest thing is, we may not even realize that we have been letting ourselves engulfed in a bubble of arrogance this whole time. There is this type of arrogance we often overlook. That is, we think we know the best. That we are a very capable human being whose purpose in life is to satisfy our needs and that’s it. We try so hard to justify every action we do and are so convinced that we are doing the right thing.
Think of every effort we exerted to make our dreams come true. Think of every difficult decision we made along the way. Think of every good deed we did at the span of our (thankfully still ongoing) lifetime. It terrifies me that maybe, just maybe, all this time we did all of them just for the comfort of ourselves. For us and us only. We don’t care anymore about the journey, we only set our eyes on the destination. We have no problem pursuing the end destination using every means possible, morally questionable means included. We demand attention and acknowledgment from other people so much we are starting to leave our roots to exchange it with “the more acceptable form by society”. And we’re not regretting it one bit, because we can never make a wrong decision, right?
How many times have we been embarrassed or even getting mad at someone for trying to tell us the right way to do things because we think-“duh, I, of course, know it better than you”? How often have we paused to consider whether helping someone out will benefit us for a longer duration than the act of helping that one person itself? How many times have we questioned our destiny and claimed that we have done more than enough to get what we wanted so why it’s not happening? Humans are so entitled to things we barely know about.
I have been struggling too, I must say. It’s hard to not have that superior feeling when your surrounding has this propaganda of “college students are the ones this country depends on” “not everyone has a chance to go to college, so everyone in college should fight for the greater good of people”. Everyone thinks we know the best. But do we?
I’m not saying that college students should just go back to the library doing their assignments and studying for the upcoming exam (which if you want to do that, that’s completely fine too) without asserting themselves at all to things that fall into the “not a college student’s business” category. I’m saying we have to make a room of realization that maybe, maybe we are wrong. Maybe we misunderstood. Maybe we made mistakes. Maybe we are still learning and that’s okay, everybody is. Then we summon most of our courage to apologize. To accept the truth and not being a coward. And see, this is not just applicable to a big movement of college students, for example. This applies to small things we do daily, done by all of us.
I love the concept of “long-life learning” so much. I think it encompasses all qualities opposing arrogance. The concept that we will never get to the point of “All-knowing” and “Undeniably expert of something” during our lifetime. That we will continue to lack something, which is so very normal and that’s the way it should be. But at the same time, we are hungry for more knowledge, more chances to learn something new, more drives to upgrade ourselves to be a better version than yesterday.
I dream of a society where the act of apologizing for something is not seen as a sign of weakness. I dream of a society where the act of correcting someone’s mistakes is always based on a clear and pure purpose to make things right and not shaming the people who did the mistakes. I dream of a society where its people can forgive completely, not letting any bitterness left, but also not erasing its memory of past mistakes, since those mistakes will be a valuable lesson to plan a (hopefully) better future.
So off we go on an adventure to make those dreams no more dreams, shall we?