Psychoanalysis

Inferiority And Superiority Are The Same

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Feelings of superiority and feelings of inferiority are not distinct ways of being but rather two sides of the same psychological coin. After all, most of those who feel inferior spend all their time and energy trying to rise up in the world in order to attain the feeling of superiority, with varying degrees of success. Those who fail completely in the endeavor still find certain groups of people and certain ideas to feel superior towards, even as they struggle with their own inferiority. And most of those who do reach a conscious state of superiority continue to deal with unconscious feelings of inferiority in one or more aspects of their lives, as is borne out by recurring dreams of persecution and humiliation at the hands of stronger entities and by myriad behaviors meant to prove superiority, behaviors whose existence would be superfluous without that creeping unconscious doubt. Just as masochism contains elements of sadism and sadism contains elements of masochism, inferiority contains elements of superiority and superiority contains elements of inferiority. In both sadism/masochism and inferiority/superiority we’re not dealing with two separate structures but with one larger superstructure.

For most the goal of life is either to transform feelings of inferiority into feelings of superiority or to augment feelings of superiority while banishing feelings of inferiority but in actuality no transformation occurs during this process. People remain victims of the same psychological outlook whether they consciously feel inferior or superior, an outlook where the most important dimensions of human life can and should be measured and then compared favorably or unfavorably, a psychological outlook where power over others is noble and contempt towards others is adaptive. Of course consciously the oppressed will rail against a system that wields power over them but if history shows us one thing it’s that most of these people aren’t really concerned with social revolution or social justice, whatever they tell themselves, they’re simply concerned with securing power and once this goal is achieved they become the new class of oppressors The question isn’t eradicating power over or eradicating contempt for but rather landing on the desirable sides of those invisible lines of power and contempt.

In our existential conceptualization of self-actualization power over others and contempt towards others aren’t noble or desirable states, they’re unhealthy, maladaptive states that prevent happiness and fulfillment. In the authentic process of growth and self-actualization the bulk of attention and energy aren’t directed outwards but directed inwards, the focus is not on worrying about what others are doing but on expanding the boundaries of Self. And as potentialities unfold the insight arises that the most important human traits and qualities aren’t measurable. Superiority and inferiority lose all meaning, positive and negative comparisons lose all meaning. What does become meaningful is actualizing who and what you really are in the time allotted to you and helping others to do the same.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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