The world was arrogant and self-satisfied, but behind all this confidence there was an uneasy sense of impending disaster. The old creeds, both religious and political , were largely in the process of dissolution, but we did not realise the fact , and therefore did not look for new foundations.
Montaigne [puts] not self-satisfied understanding but a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.maurice merleau-ponty
Nietzsche asks how it has come about that so prodigious a contradiction can exist as that between the lack of true culture and the self-satisfied belief in actually possessing the only true one and he finds the answer in the circumstance that a class of men has come to the front which no former century has known, and to which (in 1873) he gave the name of “Culture-Philistines.”georg brandes
Do your neighbour good by all means in your power, moral as well as physical by kindness, by patience, by unflinching resistance against every outward evil by the silent preaching of your own contrary life. But if the only good you can do him is by talking at him, or about him nay, even to him, if it be in a self-satisfied, super-virtuous style such as I earnestly hope the present writer is not doing you had much better leave him alone.dinah maria mulock
The form most contradictory to human life that can appear among the human species is the "self-satisfied man."josé ortega y gasset
Moreover, given the unpleasant option of having to associate with either the self-satisfied beautiful or the self-pitying plain, he'd choose the former every time because beauty could sometimes transcend smugness whereas self-pity just made ugliness all the more unattractive.
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