Holier Than Thou
When a person has taken the moral high-ground or is just up themselves, they are being "Holier-than-thou": Acting like one is superior to others, condescending.
“Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” - Isaiah 65:5 \ - King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition
“God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust,
adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” - Luke 18:11, Revised Standard Version
Science Behind 'Holier-Than-Thou'
Deep down inside, we see our self as morally superior to the average people. Most of us think we are above average in a lot of things, especially when it comes to morality. People see themselves as being fairer, more altruistic, more self-sacrificing, more moral than most others, according to numerous studies.
“Humility was operationalized as the magnitude of difference between individuals' evaluations of self and other. Overvaluing the self in relation to others or undervaluing others in relation to the self was considered evidence of less humility…………. Religious motivations did not account for unique variation in the general self-other bias. Irrespective of motivations for being religious, however, highly religious people (i.e., upper thirds on general religiousness and religious fundamentalism) more so than less religious people (i.e., lower thirds on general religiousness and religious fundamentalism) rated the self to be better on nonreligious attributes than others” …………
Psychologist Dunning says,
“Clearly, most people felt their own ambivalence was unique and that the hysteria surrounding the Clinton affair was primarily driven by the vulgarity of others. When presented with this blatant discrepancy, one polling expert noted, "It's the great contradiction: the average person believes he is a better person than the average person" (Berke, 1998, p. 4:1).”
In addition, people tend to believe they will resolve moral dilemmas by selecting the saintly course of action but that others will behave more selfishly (Allison et al., 1989).
“…………People consistently, and grossly, overestimate the likelihood that they themselves would act in a selfless and altruistic manner, whereas the predictions made about others tended to converge more closely with reality..………”
“ A zen master does not create the phenomenon around him: 'I am holier than you.' He does not say, 'I am so superior.' How can one who has achieved say, 'I am superior and you are inferior'? The disciple can think that he is superior, but the master cannot claim any superiority, because superiority is only claimed by inferiority. Superiority is only claimed by the ego which is impotent, inferior. Strength is claimed only by weakness: when you are uncertain you claim certainty, when you are ill you claim health, when you don't know you claim knowledge. Your claims are simply to hide the truth. A master claims nothing. He cannot say, 'I am superior.' It is foolish. How can a wise man say, 'I am superior'?”……………….. (Osho)
You are also the same
The place was calm and serene. Suddenly there was big commotion and noise piercing the silence. There were lot of arguments, shouting, questions, answers and interjections.
It was a Zen Master’s place and the master was surprised to hear the commotion. One of the voices was familiar to the master, it was his disciples’. So the master called the disciple and asked what this noise all about.
The disciple told him that there is a group of learned men who have come to see the master.
Master waited silently for the disciple to continue.
Disciple continued, “I did not give them permission to meet you and they are objecting to this. That is the cause of this commotion.”
“These intellectuals do not have any true knowledge “so I told them that my guru will not meet the people with only knowledge of books. These people are logicians who waste time in arguing and creating lot of misunderstanding and division among the common man.
Master told “That is true. But you have forgotten that we are also the same. By trying to show you are different from them you have created a division and the cause of all the arguments and commotion.”
2. On Being Holier-than-Thou or Humbler-than-Thee: A Social-Psychological Perspective on Religiousness and Humility
3. Feeling "Holier Than Thou":……… by Nicholas Epley and David Dunning, Cornell University.
4. And The Flowers Showered – Osho.
6. Zen Stories by Guruji Vasudev.