sādhanā

Inferiority complexes and hero worship

From the Yoga of Dejection, p. 57.

One who has confidence in himself can genuinely praise others because he is capable of recognizing the good in them. However, people who lack confidence in themselves, who suffer from an inferiority complex, may compensate for their insecurity by boasting. They create a public image of themselves that is quite the opposite of their inner state.

Interestingly enough, such people lack the capacity to genuinely praise others. If they have no good qualities to boast about, they may latch onto a hero of some sort and praise him. This should not be mistaken for actual praise, because it is self-serving. When such a person praises his chosen hero, it simply serves to bolster himself and to compensate for his feelings of inferiority. He projects himself onto that hero and worships him blindly to make up for his own weakness, and this incidentally is the basis of all fanaticism.

In all spheres of the material world, and in spiritual societies as well, hero-worship inspired by insecurity is often mistaken for dedication, surrender and even devotion. In reality, however, this unhealthy worship amounts to no more than evidence of feelings of inferiority.

Such people generally endeavor to acquire social prestige and material acquisitions in their ongoing quest for self-aggrandizement. They tend to deride those who differ with them. In their effort to cling to their misconceptions of themselves, they indulge in criticizing those who are not followers of the hero they deify, and in this way they attempt to fill the lack they feel inside.  By adopting this course, they endeavor to counterbalance that which is lacking in their personalities. But the more self-praise they heap upon one side of their selves, the more their insecurities rise up and fight back from the other side. Eventually the struggle to keep up becomes too much for them, and they fall down from the artificial position they have created for themselves.

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