Inferiority Complex: An Ego Trip
IS THERE REALLY SOMETHING LIKE AN INFERIORITY COMPLEX?
Psychobabble! the psychologists have taken the place of the theologist. The theologian is out of date, the psychologist is in. And psychology has created great psychobabble, great words, strange words, and when you can use great and strange words which are really nothing but gibberish, you can impress people. Do you know from where the word gibberish comes? It comes from the name of a Sufi mystic, Jabbar. He used to talk nonsense, because he came to understand that whatsoever you say is nonsense. Then why even pretend that it is sense? Jabbar started really talking nonsense. He would use sounds, words… nobody could follow what he was saying. Everybody was free to have his own interpretation. The followers of Jabbar were many — because when the master cannot be understood, it is very easy for the disciples to follow him, because then they can interpret.
For example, if you had asked Jabbar, “Do you believe in God?” he would have said, “Hoo hoo!” Now, it is up to you to find out what “Hoo hoo!” means. The very clever one will think it is the last part of Allah-hoo, that the master has given only a hint, and so on, so forth. Or he will do something absurd. You ask, “What is God?” and he may stand on his head immediately. Now it is up to you to figure it out — and everybody is clever in figuring out things. Somebody will think he had given the indication that everything is topsy-turvy, so whatsoever you have been thinking up to now has to be put upside down. Some disciples even started reading the scriptures backwards! But one thing was good about it: Jabbar must have enjoyed the whole show! He must have really enjoyed how many interpretations people can find. The English word gibberish comes from Jabbar.
Now the greatest gibberish that is “in” is psychological. Freud really created a new language: psychoanalysis is nothing but a new language. For small things, for things which everybody understands, he will find such difficult words: “Oedipus complex” — for a small thing, that every boy loves his mother. Now if you say every boy loves his mother, nobody can think that you are very learned, but if you say, “This boy suffers from an Oedipus complex,” it sounds….
One Jewish lady was talking to the neighbor, and she said, “The psychoanalyst who is treating my son has said that my son suffers from an Oedipus complex.”
And the neighbor lady said, “Oedipus schmoedipus! Doesn’t matter as long as he is a good boy and loves his mother!”
Now, this word inferiority complex….
There is nothing like inferiority complex, all that is there is the phenomenon of the ego. And because of the phenomenon of the ego, two things are possible. If you are egoistic you are bound to compare yourself with others. The ego cannot exist without comparison, hence if you really want to drop the ego, drop comparing. You will be surprised: where has the ego gone? Compare, and it is there;
and it is there only in comparison. It is not an actuality, it is a fiction created out of comparison. For example, you are passing through a garden and you come across a very big tree. Compare: the tree is so big, suddenly you are so small. If you don’t compare, you enjoy the tree, there is no problem at all. The tree is big — so what! So let it be big, you are not a tree. And there are other trees also which are not so big, but they are not suffering from any inferiority complex. I have never come across a tree which suffers from inferiority complex or from superiority complex. Even the highest tree, a Lebanon cedar, even that tree does not suffer from superiority complex, because comparison does not exist.
Man creates comparison because ego is possible only if nourished by comparison continuously. But then you will have two outcomes: sometimes you will feel superior, and sometimes you will feel inferior. And the possibility of feeling inferior is greater than the possibility of feeling superior, because there are millions of people: somebody is more beautiful than you, somebody is taller than you, somebody is stronger than you, somebody seems to be more intelligent than you, somebody is more learned than you, somebody is more successful, somebody is more famous, somebody is this, somebody is that. If you just go on comparing, millions of people… you will gather a great inferiority complex. But it doesn’t exist, it is your creation.
Those who are more mad, they suffer from a superiority complex. They are so mad that when they compare they cannot see that there are millions of people who are different in many ways and superior in many ways. They are so obsessed with the ego that they remain closed to anything that is superior; they always look at the inferior. It is said that people like to meet people who are in some way inferior to them; it gives them great nourishment. People like people who support their ego. The more mad person will suffer from a superiority complex, because he will always choose those things which make him feel superior. But he knows that he is playing a trick. How can he deceive himself? He knows that he has chosen only those points which make him feel superior; he knows what he has not chosen — that is there on the margin, he is perfectly aware of it. So his superiority complex is always shaking: it is made on sand, the house can collapse any moment. He suffers from anxiety because he has made a house on the sand. Jesus says: Don’t make your house on the sand; find a rock…
The more sane person will suffer from an inferiority complex, because he will look all around, will be available to all that is happening all around, and will start collecting ideas that he is inferior. But both are shadows of the ego, two sides of the ego. The superior person deep down carries the inferiority complex, and the person who suffers from inferiority complex deep down carries a superiority complex; he wants to be superior…Except politicians, I don’t think anybody is inferior. I make an exception for politicians.
In fact, if somebody does not suffer from an inferiority complex he will not go into politics at all. Politics is the arena for those who suffer from an inferiority complex, because they want to prove to themselves and to the world that they are not inferior: Look, I have become the prime minister, or the president! Now who can say I am inferior? I have proved that I am not inferior. Politics attracts the people who are very egoistic and suffer from inferiority complex.
Artists are just on the other polarity: they suffer from superiority complex. They know they are creators, they know that they have come with a special quality to create something in the world. Politicians suffer from an inferiority complex, and try to reach to higher and higher power posts to prove to themselves and to others that it is not so. Artists suffer from superiority complex; that’s why artists constantly quarrel amongst themselves. No artist ever agrees that another artist has contributed anything to the world. They are continuously criticizing each other; they cannot be friends, they are all superior people!
The mystic is the one who has come to see the whole stupidity of it, the whole game of the ego. And these are the three worlds available: the world of the politician — the world of power politics — the world of the artist, or the world of the mystic.
The mystic is one who has seen that all comparison is false, meaningless: he has dropped comparing. The moment you drop comparing, you are simply yourself — neither superior nor inferior. How can you be superior or inferior if you are just yourself?
Just think: the Third World War has happened and everybody else has disappeared from the world, and only Anand Bashir, who has asked this question, is left. The whole world is suddenly gone, only Bashir is left, sitting in Koregaon Park, Poona. Will you be superior or inferior? You will be simply yourself, because there will be nobody to compare with.
A mystic is the one who simply knows that he is himself. He lives his life according to his own light, he creates his own space, he has his own being. He is utterly contented with himself, because without comparison you cannot be discontented either. And he is not an egoist, he cannot be — ego needs comparison, ego feeds on comparison. He is simply doing his thing. The rose is a rose and the lotus is a lotus, and some tree is very high and some other tree is very small — but everything is as it is. Just try to see for a single moment without comparing, and then where is superiority and where is inferiority? And where is the ego, the source of it all?
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Book of Wisdom
Chapter title: The three rung ladder of Love
1 March 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘ego and comparison’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- The Divine Melody
- The Empty Boat
- From Personality to Individuality
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- Zen: The Path of Paradox
- The Heart Sutra
- My Way: The Way of the White Clouds
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 2