Tử Kích (TK) was rich and powerful official. He saw Điền Tử Phương (DTP), a poor but reputed scholar, and immediately descended his carriage to greet him. DTP ignored TK completely.
TK was upset and said, “The rich and powerful are entitled to slight others, can the poor and destitute afford to do the same?”
DTK replied, “The poor and lowly are certainly entitled to spurn others. How can the high and mighty dare do so? A king who snubs others can lose his country and an official who spurn others can lose his position. For someone who is competent and yet destitute (like me), wherever he goes, the king and officials do not value his counsel and refuse to implement his strategies, what has he’s got to lose by slighting others?”
After TK heard, he apologized to DTP.
* * * * *
TK is arrogant because of his wealth and power. DTP is arrogant because of his intellect. The anecdote favors the intellect over wealth and power.
However, that is just the way of ordinary people who value material things or knowledge over virtue. Whether one is poor and smart or rich and powerful, arrogance reflects a big ego which relentlessly creates offenses thus generating future retributions of suffering and misery.
Regardless of your wealth status and intellect, you’ll be happier by being humble.