Having dealt with the first two main calamities of humankind – brain compulsion and primal fear – let us now have a look at the third and last one in the row: the inferiority complex.
Alfred ADLER was the one who coined the expression. The realisation that we all have to struggle with “feelings of inferiority” from an early age on may be attributed to Adler’s observational powers and interpretation: our mere size compared to our parents, coupled with extremely limited manual skills as well as our initial helplessness and the subsequent dependence on “adults” (at first!) generate a feeling of NATURAL LITTLENESS (a vague, unconscious perception). It all depends on the parental upbringing skills whether or not this feeling of natural littleness gradually or often quite quickly develops into a feeling of inferiority and finally leads on to the morbid, degenerated inferiority complex!!! And this is exactly where the calamity of humankind starts – the general incapability of the parental “animals” (that very often turn out to be “monsters”) to bring up their offspring.
Since man came down from the trees and learnt to walk upright, he gradually lost his natural ability to bring up his little ones! In wildlife, the “upbringing” has worked out smoothly for millions of years according to the individual genetic programs of the mother animal (in most cases). Genes are the natural blueprint of every living being. Molecules are created from atoms, chemical bonds from molecules and genes from all these bonds, which contain all information – it tells you not only what a specific creature has to look like (dog, cat, mouse, flower or human) but also how this creature should or HAS TO behave in any situation! We actually owe this enormous variety of species on our planet to the constant bigger or smaller changes (mutations) within the aforementioned genes.
No bird couple needs to learn how to raise its offspring. No lioness, no mother monkey requires extra lessons in “upbringing” – we humans, however, do! That is the bitter price we have to pay for being endowed with a mini intellect. The comfy times of genetically controlled and consequently automatic child upbringing have been long over! When human couples become parents, there is no longer any guarantee that they are automatically able to raise their children the RIGHT way. They first have to LEARN to do so – in terms of KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN NATURE, preferably according to Alfred ADLER and Co. For thousands of years, parents have been making the fatal mistake of behaving like apes and freely reproducing. At the same time they claim that they are actually “educating” their children while they forget and not even consider that they are humans after all who have lost this automatism immanent in animals!
This fact is crucial which is why we have dedicated it an extra chapter in order to deal with the issue in more detail – see e.g. topic 4 or 5! For now, let us summarise that PARENTING has NOT been A PIECE OF CAKE for us humans for a long time! Just as everyone first needs to possess a driver’s license before driving a stupid car, all couples who would like to have children should require a "parent’s license” – that is, they should prove that they have a profound knowledge of human nature! Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this DISASTROUS IGNORANCE is silently passed on from generation to generation, generating one neurotic population after another – unintentionally (unconsciously), of course! Someone is referred to as neurotic if he is physically (organically) healthy but mentally deranged, due to a wrong upbringing!
Later, we will shed some light on the reasons as to why our childhood is extremely important for us humans. First, we need to familiarise ourselves with the next fundamental notion, imprinting. For now, it suffices to bear in mind that “intuitive parenting” not only results in an inferiority complex but consequently also in the known mass phenomenon of SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS (Emax-state!), which paves the way for the most ridiculous masquerading of human behaviour!
ADLER was already aware that gender confusion (also known as homosexuality), which in 2% of cases results from organic causes, can be attributed to a disastrous upbringing.
Almost all of these negative aspects could easily be prevented if everyone (whether parent or not!) would adhere to the following, very simple behaviour – not only when dealing with children: respect, affection, devotion, true love and all of it unconditionally, if possible! They constitute the fundamentals of every relationship, also of conscious parenting or the process of learning how to raise children. The development of a steady feeling for community (social interest) (ADLER) from an early age on would also be a vital side effect, of course!
You can look at everything that has been said so far in a very concise format on our butterfly poster. Preferably, our butterfly should hang in every household, every department, every office, every psychotherapeutic practice, every solicitor’s office, every prison cell and especially in every class room all over the world – not to forget in every kindergarten, so that child care workers can playfully teach their young protégés the only right way to a better future for humankind. More will be said about this issue so vital for us humans in a separate chapter (e.g. topic 4)!
The fact that these thoughts, findings and urgent demands (consequence!) have been going round on our planet for some time now (unfortunately almost unnoticed and unheard!?), is confirmed in a quotation by the distinguished ADLER-expert Karen HORNEY (1885-1952). Karen HORNEY is the mother of the renowned German actress Brigitte Horney, by the way. In her book “The Neurotic Personality of our Time” from 1937, which actually could have been written today, HORNEY writes that “Time and again, a lack of true affection and love is the basic evil. A child can bear many things which are often considered as traumatic (i.e. dramatic, mentally confusing and destructive! – supplemented by AFIDA) (…) if only it feels inwardly accepted and loved. (…) a child keenly feels whether the love is real; it cannot be bamboozled by feigned demonstrations of love. The main reason for a child not receiving sufficient affection and love lies within the inability of the parents to pass these on as a result of their own neuroses. More often than people believe, (…) the basic lack of affection remains concealed behind a mask while parents claim that they are only baring the interests of their child in mind. (…) factors, which fundamentally contribute to an atmosphere that more than anything else forms the basis for future feelings of immense insecurity”.
In summary, hardly anyone of us human children is able to grow up completely void of quirks! We all struggle through life with slight feelings of inferiority up to really strong inferiority complexes and a concomitant feeling of self-consciousness. Yet, we wonder why this is so?! The answer is very simple: we lack a thorough insight into our IMPERFECTION!
He, who has been dazing himself for thousands of years and from generation to generation with the illusion that “we are the crown of creation”, will never grasp the reason for his suffering. Without true KNOWLEDGE (or “fuel” for our mini intellect!), this is not possible!
The neurotic merely wonders why he constantly rubs people up the wrong way and always blames others, whom he considers the “baddies” whereas he himself is the lonely “angel”! This approach is in fact completely natural: a person suffering from feelings of inferiority is in a constant (Emax)-state; he feels uncomfortable and needs to change this state; when he places the blame for his misery on outsiders, he feels relieved (Emin), but this relief is only of short duration and the neurotic continues to require new “scape goats”. Such desperate, unconscious and purely instinctive approaches to a problem may be characterised as "(Emin)-searching off the wrong track"! Every one of us has examples galore from our own lives for similar moments…
Experts refer to this phenomenon as “compensation“, a term derived from the Latin meaning “balance”. It is an absolutely legitimate and above all natural desire to shift from a disruptive state of discomfort (Emax) to a sense of wellbeing (Emin) – as stated before, our good old slanted plane works everywhere! There is, however, a fundamental catch to every compensation attempt: as long as the compensation remains instinctive, that is, unconscious or rather unknowing, one will never be able to reach a final, redeeming liberation of the causes of this discomfort! A “little” knowledge about the contexts, which in fact are really quite simple, result in a true liberation also in this case! One can note that we humans with our mini mind and animal genes (99% of our genes), are forced to realistically broaden our knowledge about ourselves most urgently – knowledge of human nature according to Alfred ADLER! This approach will automatically lead us to modesty, of which there is a dire lack of till today.
Our parents‘ INability to raise children inevitably brings about our more or less pronounced feelings of inferiority which we want to and have to get rid of somehow, for example by a blame shift towards others (also referred to as “projection”) or by very popular and unscrupulous, global methods such as haughtiness and megalomania! The fact that we strive to be the “crown of creation” is the most common megalomaniac attempt of compensation! Hallelujah!…
Even though philosophers (such as Fichte, 1762-1814: “Before educating children, parents have to be educated”) have been continuously criticising the completely insufficient educational skills of parents throughout the centuries, along with poets (e.g. Goethe, 1749-1832: “Well behaved children could be born / If only the parents were well behaved”) and of course professional experts of human nature such as Alfred ADLER, other so-called “experts” have been extremely reluctant to openly draw attention to this devastating situation! I therefore hope to have clarified how important the "parent’s license" is. We will again and again deal with this disastrous deficit in human societies and reflect how it can be realistically overcome, also within other topics. KNOWLEDGE and INSIGHT are our cues again! We should never be afraid of the truth as we cannot continue to develop otherwise. We have been wasting enough time with “God’s likeness” and other musings for the past ten thousand years, haven’t we?