The God Complex

There is a natural tendency within the human psyche to want to be God. "It's All About Me!" Remember the '80's generation dubbed the Me Generation? It nurtures a selfishness that puts Self above others. Such selfishness fosters personal, corporate, and national behaviors that cause harm. It's hard to LoveThyNeighbor? when It's All About Me. It's hard to care for the environment when It's All About Me. It's easy to invade other nations when It's All About Me. It's easy to act unethically in the office when It's All About Me.

But the problem goes deeper, because by nature it crowds out even the existance of God. When It's All About Me, then there is no room for God. Then we become God. Ideas like UniversalMind, GodIsSomethingYouDo, Hinduism, NewAge, Mormonism, etc are so attractive because you get to be God. It is the ultimate expression of Pride.

-- BrucePennington

Let's start some place concrete. Have you read RobertHeinlein's first story, Life-Line? If not you can find it in any public library. Check out the following quote:

Now in the context of UniversalMind of course there's a lot more worms and they're a lot more tangled up than GodsNavel?. But RAH's picture is hard enough to hold in your head and it will do as a stalking horse. So ... where is there Pride in this?

Then on GodIsSomethingYouDo ... maybe that would have been better put as "God is a verb", but I was talking to a young child. The point there is, why should we think of God as a noun at all? And if God is a verb - where is there Pride in that? Contrasting this with the Cartesian view in which you are distinct from all the rest, and must stuggle to establish a relationship with God ... aren't you trying to get here anyway? If this is vanity then do you struggle in vain?

For the record, I liked both UniversalMind and GodIsSomethingYouDo! They're beautiful concepts. My point that these ideas are attractive to us because we get to be God is focused on our pride.

But if GodIsSomethingYouDo then "it"'s not something to be, is it? Hmm. The language is so tricky. The phrasing ThouArtGod fails because of this I think.

We can discuss whether the ideas are RealLife or not, and such a debate is just a discussion of facts, a discussion about reality. Such a discussion would have nothing to do with pride. But what we want may or may not have anything to do with reality. There are folks who will reject RealLife because it offends their sense of fairness, or their sense of right and wrong, or just because of greed or pride. There are people who believe the Christian WorldView is AbsoluteTruth?, but angrily reject it because they consider it unjust. ThatsInsane?. Whatever the reason, if the person rejecting the idea is doing it because they think their idea is how things should be, then we are talking pride.

If it is just because a person sees evidence that points to another idea, then that is just a search for truth. That is different than the multitudes who are chosing their WorldView based upon their personal opinion of how things should be. They are deciding that they know best, above all else. Usually, such a view comes from pride. I hope I've factored out the distinction, here. -- BrucePennington

You've done pretty well - I felt lost but then you wrapped it up at the end. I agree that believing in what you wish were true is insane - pride might be a word for it. As might vanity. But if this answers my Cartesian question I don't understand the answer.

Ok, after re-reading your question, I can see where I missed your point. And I'd have to say I'm with you on this. If God IS love, and we are letting God live through us (which is the ultimate point of the Christian life, by the way), then GodIsSomethingYouDo would describe that life. I can see it, yes. -- BrucePennington


Isn't it interesting how that when we describe somebody as having "a god complex" that it's not a good thing? I thought that god only behaved in perfect ways! This is further proof that god is only a human invention, and of course this god behaves in human ways. If there really was a god, then it would be a compliment instead of a put-down. Behaving like god means you are a real jerk, hmmm...

Actually, this is hardly evidence (let alone proof) of the existence or not of god. It's simply one example of a category of insults or put-downs in which the target is sarcastically compared to an idealised figure in order to draw attention to the contextually inappropriate positive attributes of that figure that the target exhibits, or the degree to which the target does not meet them. E.g., a bright kid might be deprecatingly called by "Hey, Einstein!", or a bad driver might be compared to a racing driver ("Oy! Lewis Hamilton! Slow down a bit!"), etc. In this case, claiming the target has a "god complex" simply means he or she is exhibiting a contextually inappropriate inclination toward omnipotence or omniscience, or at least some behaviour reminiscent of these.

Or, it could mean, "acting like a total jerk" in the way that this "supposed" god does, in that they make demands that do not make sense, and expects those demands to be filled. Also, they demand that people worship at their feet, in the way that this ridiculous god thing does. It is all modeled in the image of kings who were totally idiotic, egotistic, criminal, totally human, and were "self ordained". Hmmm... this all sounds like the stupid dreams of "rule and be worshiped" that some egotistic humans have. The priests sure eat this stuff up, and sure enjoy all their demanded gifts and place of holiness. God is man's idea of what the perfect life for a human ruler would be. Ah Ha!

Nice rant, but that's not usually what people think of when they use the phrase "god complex."

WikiPedia: "A God complex is a state of mind in which a person believes that they have supernatural powers or god-like abilities. The person generally believes they are above the rules of society and should be given special consideration." also: http://www.google.com/search?q=definition%2C+%22god+complex%22&btng=Search

Exactly. The definition above, "... is exhibiting a contextually inappropriate inclination toward omnipotence or omniscience..." fits nicely, doesn't it?

Uh... and then some people are so closed minded that all they know is what they were taught, and they fear to think. Logic and careful thought can unlock the most complex and impossible equations with simple solutions, but the outcome is often not what the masses want to hear. If god is real, then god is an idiot and has useless powers used in useless ways, and it is also a selfish, angry, egotistical moron... just like some humans...

Could be, but so what? Your comments appear to be OffTopic and irrelevant.

Eh?

On second thought, this whole page is OffTopic and irrelevant.

More likely that your thoughts are "OffTopic and irrelevant".

Huh? What does this page have to do with PeopleProjectsAndPatterns or SoftwareDevelopment?

This page has been on Wiki since before Wiki was nearly killed.

Searching for TheGodComplex ... IllusionOfIndividuality UniversalMind

It seems that there are still those on this Wiki, that just don't get it. Kill off what makes Wiki, Wiki, and you have nothing left. Reminds me of those new ignorant managers that come on the job and kill a productive business in no time, because they insist on killing the environment that created its success.

OffTopic pages are a small percentage of the overall content and have a home on TheAdjunct. OnTopic content is what makes Wiki, Wiki.

There was a time, when all pages lived in harmony here, and Wiki was successful. Then came the dictator "idea" and then came the bloody wars. Along came a dictator, and he did delete and ban to hearts content, and he did create a useless other Wiki, and this WikiWiki did and has floundered. For life, Wiki must not be kept caged and trapped, it must be free to allow for open out-loud discussion and inspiration, other wise Wiki is a tomb for the dead. How many times must the lesson be learned?

It would be difficult to show a correlation between the "success" of Wiki and moving pages to TheAdjunct, let alone prove that doing so has diminished its success. Anyway, the "success" of this Wiki and its activity level are not related, as it continues to successfully maintain a large and interesting collection of content. A book is not considered unsuccessful because its author has stopped adding chapters, so why should Wiki be considered unsuccessful because fewer pages are added or edited than at some time in the past? Furthermore, Wiki has never been about arbitrary content. Its focus has always been about PeopleProjectsAndPatterns in SoftwareDevelopment and related subjects, despite some questionable tolerance, at times, of OffTopic material. Unconditionally allowing OffTopic content might increase its activity, but to what benefit? There are plenty of other places where such material is better suited and more appreciated.

The point, it seems, still eludes. Isn't it often heard of late "where has everyone gone?", and "Wiki seems dead and uninspired", etc, etc. Why go to the loft, if you find no inspiration for artistic work there? "Oh my!", says the priest, "My congregation has dwindled to but nothing!" There are those that see Wiki as an old out-dated book as you describe, and then there are those that wonder why it can not be a place of inspiration and new work. Did Ward envision a short-lived period of intense work, and then nothing but a forgotten library? I wonder... If I give birth to and idea (a child) do I ignore it after a little while? Wisdom, sometimes never visits all. So, why should it be that a few dull boys sit on and stubbornly protect and reflect on the "glory days", and force all to go elsewhere for more glory days? That's like saying "This business was once successful, but now it runs in the red, and we insist that it does so". Fear? Of what? Maybe that life is free and one must then allow for "organized chaos", but the librarian never likes life, and insists that life become like death to enter the tomb.

It can certainly be a place of inspiration and new work -- on PeopleProjectsAndPatterns in SoftwareDevelopment -- should the mood strike anyone. There are ample places for other topics. As the progenitor of other Wikis including the star of Wikidom, WikiPedia, this Wiki has been and continues to be an unqualified success. However, a Wiki is merely a tool for creating collaborative documents. It is not a business, nor is it like one. It does not rely on continued growth to be "successful". When the documents are done, or mostly so, why would one expect it to remain active?

Like I said: "Wisdom, sometimes never visits all."

That doesn't make sense. "Sometimes never" is contradictory. Do you mean "Wisdom rarely visits all"? It still doesn't make sense.

Hahaha!, it means what it says. Wisdom as an entity, does not always come to visit with everyone. Simply put: Some people never seem to acquire wisdom, as they just can't be bothered by it.


Maybe SteveJobs has earned the right to have a GodComplex?. I'd hate to have to work with him, though.


EditHint: Remove "The" from title.
JanuaryZeroNine

See also: ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder, SoftwareGivesUsGodLikePowers

EditText of this page (last edited January 30, 2009) or FindPage with title or text search