Hooray for the Superiority Complex


So what’s wrong with the Super Complex anyway? Well, obviously, there is nothing wrong in practice or theory, only in sociality. We live in a culture in which the ethos says, “We’re all equal. We’re all special. We’re all talented–now get out of my so I can claim my spot at the front of the line!” See what I mean? There is no actual way to believe you belong in the front, at the helm, or in cockpit as the pilot without the SC. The real question is twofold: “Why do we bludgeon everyone into trying to believe that everyone is special or exceptional and offer no support when the ordinary person grows up to realize that some are truly exceptional and the rest–not so much? Maybe the question is, how can it be true that everyone is special and exceptional?”

The first time a kid faces defeat, maybe the truth is as such: “Look, son, that dude is just flat out bigger, better and badder. I don’t care how big that superiority complex inside of you thinks he is, but he is not going to be able to help you out here, in material life, where pain is very real and very debilitating and some people are just built better.”

Yes, we all have a chance to be exceptional and special, but that’s all we’re promised–a chance. And that chance doesn’t present itself in the same ways. There’s a harsher truth, too: some do not have a chance to be exceptional or special in the ways society determines and defines those very words. e.g. A person with a great personality and who makes others around feel loved will go relatively unnoticed by mainstream culture; a person who lives a quiet, simple life and who does things for others in a sacrificial way will get quiet applause from those around them, but not in mainstream culture. Yes, the person may be fine with this, but that’s not the point. The point is that these people are not considered exceptional and special by mainstream culture, in the social construct we have defined for ourselves. Rock stars rule; athletes are awesome; actors are amazing. The rest, well, they make up that large, relatively anonymous group.

Now, about this chance we have to be exceptional that is by no means a guarantee. The bottom line is, to be exceptional requires risk. Anyone can take the risk to try to see if they have some unique gift in them, but there are two ends. One leads to glory, the other leads to ordinary. Reality says that many will fail trying. Sports and athletes define this perfectly. How many kids want to be varsity studs in high school, then subsequent D-1 elite stars and finally professional superstar-studs? Many try, few succeed. And those that do make it, frankly, are just flat out superior in many ways–physically, at the very least. I think we have to admit that. Why try to make the SC the elephant in the room? That’s not a rhetorical question. The answer is that we do it to protect people’s feeling, of course. You know, that whole self-esteem thing.

I write for young adults. I would be more honest and would be a better mentor if I said that not everyone is special, and definitely not everyone is special in the same ways. Some have rare and unique gifts and, truthfully, are superior in those ways. I agree that society places value on ways that should not be held at such a premium, such as a famous actor or talk show host holding a higher place in people’s hearts than the police officer or teacher, but I have to accept that fact that those to my left and right have already cast their vote. Period. Done. Just accept it.

Ever heard of Kobe Bryant? Lebron James? Michael Jordan? By birth (I mean by DNA, not actually when they are fresh out of the womb), less than three percent of the population is over 6’3″. That means that, when Kobe and Lebron and MJ were born (yes, I mean by DNA coding not when they come down the birth canal), they were in a special class of citizens that had eliminated 97% of the population, and they didn’t even know it. From here, less than 1% of that 3% will make the NBA, let alone become superstars.

So what do we do with the SC that is in our DNA? We can’t deny people their need to harness the SC. It’s ambition in its crudest form. It’s why the Super Bowl exists for goodness’ sakes. The whole my-team-is-better-than-yours syndrome coming to life in front of millions! It’s practically a sequenced amino acid in our genetic code. So why do we feel the need to deny this complex, or at least relegate to a wink-wink, nod-nod?

I say unleash the SC. Let’s uncage it and let it roam. It’s been detained like a zoo animal recently, but it belongs untamed. Most of us have an SC going berserk inside of us anyway, only we look around, kick our feet over the pavement, stuff our hands in our pockets and wonder if it’s acceptable to let it loose. No one has ever succeeded without letting the SC be their catalytic force. Sure, statistics say you’re probably going to fail. More often than not, you’ll find that your SC was a lot larger inside of you then when it plays out in the outside world, and you’ll spend years figuring out how to climb back up the ladder until you get to the crowded rung where the ordinary live their quiet, established lives.

But take the risk before settling for that rung.

The trick: find your interests and see if there’s any performance or productive edge you have in that area. If those two align, then ask yourself if you desire to be great in that area (that’s your SC talking. Listen to i!t). If you get another yes, then accept that as your most honest answer. It feels like wildfire right in the middle of your chest, and when feel it, there’s your path. Of course, you’ll need to pack a machete so you can hack through the jungle of mockers and the gainsayers sure to clog the way!

By the way, I mean all this in terms of trying to accomplish anything totally legal and acceptable. I am not talking some fanatic, terroristic, underground revolution. Sheesh.