God complex

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A god complex is a colloquial term used to portray a perceived character flaw as if it were a 'psychological complex'. The person who is said to have a 'god complex' does not believe he is God, but is said to act so arrogantly that he might as well believe he is a god or appointed to act by a god. Some people also call it a Messianic complex.

Some believe that 'god complexes' are "particularly common in arrogant, highly educated, worldly, or powerful people." [1]


[edit] Scholarly research

There are few academic works specifically addressing god complexes, although a great deal can be found about narcissism.

According to the book All Mighty: A Study of the God Complex in Western Man, by Horst Richter (ISBN 0-89793-028-2), authoritarian compulsions are related to the rebellious stage of childhood development. Richter argues that the arrested development of such compulsions leads to denial of suffering, self-doubt, and death, and an expectation of servility for women or minorities.

[edit] Concept used to criticize modernity

A particular use of the God complex is to be found in basic attempts to criticize modern societies. Some groups of people, especially those bound by their own culture to live in a God-based mental universe, usually advance the theory that a collective god complex, rooted in what they call the utopianism of the French Enlightenment lies at the basis of Western modern civilization and is considered by some to have led to the reign of terror that afflicted all of Europe beginning in the late 18th century. Details of such theory are available online at this American grassroots political movement website. [2]

For a defense of the rationale of modern times from a mainstream philosopher, see Hans Blumenberg, "The Legitimacy of the Modern Age" (Frankfurt, 1966 [in German], Cambridge, 1983 [in English]).

[edit] Napoleon Bonaparte

The French Revolution may well, in the opinion of some, illustrate the destructiveness of arrogant reforms attributable to god complexes. The purported God-like intention of intellectuals to reinvent the world, and in particular the retroactively claimed god complex of Napoleon Bonaparte, may have been in some opinions the catalyst for the twenty years of war that ensued. A collective god complex, rooted in the utopianism of the French Enlightenment, is considered by some to have led to the reign of terror that afflicted all of Europe beginning in the late 18th century.[3]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

  • McLemee.com - 'The Shrink with a God Complex' Ronald Hayman Newsday, (April 22, 2001)
  • News-Service.Stanford.edu - 'Did Caligula have a God complex? Stanford, Oxford archaeologists find evidence that depraved tyrant annexed sacred temple', John Sanford (September 10, 2003)

God complex

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