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Unformatted text preview: as the unselfish.
We spoke of power as a form of superiority. Since all superiority is comparative, there are various indirect
ways of seeking superiority and avoiding inferiority. One of these is by adverse criticism of our fellows. The
widespread love of gossip, the quick and ever-present tendency to disparage others, especially the fortunate
and the successful, are manifestations of this type of superiority seeking. Half the humor of the world is the
pleasure, produced by a technique, of feeling superior to the boor, the pedant, the fool, the new rich, the
pompous, the over-dignified, etc. Half, more than half, of the conversation that goes on in boudoir, dining
room, over the drinks and in the smoking room, is criticism, playful and otherwise, of others. There are people
in whom the adversely critical spirit is so highly developed that they find it hard to praise any one or to hear
any one praised--their criticism leaps to the surface in one way or another, in the sneer, in the "butt," in the
joke, in the gibe, in the openly expressed attack. This way of being superior may be direct and open, more
often it is disguised. Many a woman (and man) who denounces the sinner receives from her contemplation of
that sinner the most of her feeling of virtue and goodness. The more bitterly the self-acknowledged "saint"
denounces the sinner, the more, by implication, he praises himself.
People seek the strangest roads to the feeling of superiority. From that classical imbecile who burnt down the
Temple of Diana to the crop of young girls who invent tales of white slavery in order to stand in the public
eye as conspicuous victims, notoriety has been mistaken for fame by those desperate for public attention. To
be superior some way, even if only in crime and foolishness, brings about an immense amount of laughable
and deplorable conduct to which only a Juvenal could do justice. The world yields to superiority such
immense tribute that to obtain recognition as superior becomes a dominant motive. How that superiority is to
be reached presents great difficulties, and the problem is solved according to the character of the individual...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University.
- Spring '11