The inferiority complex is not only a surface social phenomenon but, in Clown World, it is also one of the underlying causes of all such phenomena. It is arguably one of the structural elements. Because of its ubiquity, understanding Clown World requires that one first understand the inferiority complex.
The term is usually associated with the psychology of Alfred Adler. His belief was that repeated and prolonged feelings of inferiority could lead to a form of neurosis. This neurosis could find expression in attempts to bring down or humiliate people who the person with the inferiority complex perceived to be better than them. The term complex derived from the complex structure of attitudes and behaviours that were based around this feeling of inferiority.
Ordinarily, an inferiority complex is not a big deal. Some people are genuinely inferior and so it’s entirely natural that they have a complex. Those who have incorrectly developed an inferiority complex can usually be persuaded out of it by learning a skill that allows them to feel a sense of mastery and competence.
In some people, however, an inferiority complex can become deeply ingrained, to the point where it becomes a fundamental part of their personality. People like this can behave in odd ways, both individually and as a collective. They can behave in ways that healthy people never will. Since inferiority complexes are becoming more common, the adverse behaviour caused by them is also becoming more common.
Because Clown World is so fucked up, it no longer consistently rewards prosocial behaviours and no longer consistently punishes antisocial behaviours. People who take care of their own kin are reviled as racists, while criminals who beat children to death are given sympathetic hearings. Possibly the worst result is that inferiority complexes are now found among better-than-average people, as well as among the inferior ones.
The most characteristic expression of a inferiority complex is compensating for feeling of inferiority by acting superior. A weakling swaggers, a mediocre intellect puts on airs, a short man demands that everyone else respect him. Any mediocre person who acts as if they are a great talent probably has an inferiority complex.
The other most characteristic expression is actively trying to rip down people with a healthy level of self-esteem. People with inferiority complexes love few things more than gossiping about how some normal person is secretly a sexual deviant, drug addict, grossly unhappy etc. Their speech is full of snide and sneering sarcasm. They find it humiliating to give a worthy person their due, so they belittle instead.
An inferiority complex is similar to what is known as “a chip on the shoulder”. A person with one tends to believe that the world owes them something. This belief is grounded in a sense of having been short-changed somehow, either genetically or with regards to one’s birth station.
This sense of being ripped off by life is similar to what Nietzsche called “resentment”. One resents the fact that one is inferior, and so both bigs oneself up and puts others down. This resentment is the basis of the slave morality that Nietzsche so resoundingly criticised. The inferiority complex inspires a slave mindset.
Inferiority complexes are often the cause of bullying, in many contexts. A normal person doesn’t get much gratification out of bullying other people. In fact, they generally find it unpleasant. A person with an inferiority complex, however, gets a powerful sense of relief from humiliating another person. It gratifies them to see other people brought down to their level.
Many people have inferiority complexes from early childhood schooling. The realisation that one isn’t anything special comes as a great shock to many people, especially coming so soon after the egocentricism of toddlerhood. For some, being judged to be in the middle of the pack comes as a crushing blow to the ego, especially if their parents had high hopes for them.
If a person doesn’t get an inferiority complex from school or from work, they are liable to get one from leisure. Mass media made inferiority complexes normal, by broadcasting into every home an endless stream of people better looking, funnier, smarter, stronger and more talented in every way than the average viewer. Everyone’s girlfriend suddenly appeared less pretty, everyone’s boyfriend less charming.
Inferiority complexes were problematic but manageable until Clown World started. At this point, they cause immense suffering. The most acute are those caused by intellectual inferiority complexes. Thanks to widespread Internet access, it’s now possible to talk to someone smarter than you at any time. This wasn’t always the case.
In Clown World, the intellectually inferior like to compensate with grandiose scheming about reordering the entire world. The most popular pastime is coming up with ways to structure society which would meet the political fashions of the day, or which would satisfy the intellectual vanities of the schemer. An intellectual inferiority complex almost always comes with a sense of moral superiority.
The total effect of inferiority complexes on Clown World is vast. Not only are they the cause of many phenomena, but they also hinder a solution. Because so many people have inferiority complexes today, any true leader great enough to lead us out of Clown World is torn down by the intrigue of the envious before they can make a difference. It can be seen that our problems are self-perpetuating, for fundamental psychological reasons.
This article is an excerpt from Clown World Chronicles, a book about the insanity of life in the post-Industrial West. This is being compiled by Vince McLeod for an expected release in the middle of 2020.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.