One of our national character is to celebrate someone.
Its a complex psychological process. Generally, people project their dreams or their emotions upon someone else and then create this morbid relationship with them. It happens to everyone at some point. Its a part of psychological development. A self identification process. Then the self realization draws the boundaries as to where the ego lies and where the self exists. The problem is that us Indians become emotionally invested in this someone else and then it becomes this whole other behavioral characteristic which can only be expressed by what I regard as a deity complex.
By god complex I mean a high functioning psychopath. Ray Pensador of dailykos describes the high-functioning psychopaths as follows. “characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness; high functioning psychopaths tend to rule the world. They rise to the highest levels of power in politics, and business”.
Most of the high functioning psychopaths are achievers and are generally the top dogs such as a senior police / military official, dean of medicine, CEO etc.. See how all these positions has the power to make or break someone? That’s what that attracts a high functioning psychopath.
Now mostly these people are responsible for ensuring our survival as a species but they also have no remorse or empathy towards other people in their wake. They could be ruthless and have no remorse and morale, and be indifferent to another human’s suffering.
Carl G. Jung identifies this as a process in a 4 stage self realization. In any great hero sagas (written or played), you could observe 4 basic elements to a degree.
* A young, high potential, egoistic young man.
* Meets a humiliation or sustains a loss. Then meets a guru or a spiritual guide or a master (and trains under him.) It could be his father as well.
* Somehow he is no longer bound to the master figure. (death of the master, betrayal, awakening from false virtues). The hero now fights to prevail, often killing the villain.
* He is a hero now. But the biggest feat is to fight his ego and to become more of an empathized individual which means he not only kills the villain but everything the villain is made of. This is the becoming.
If you are observant enough, you could see this process happening within you, often at a microscopic level.
In pop culure, there is Neo in Matrix, Skywalkers in Star Wars Jaden Smith in After Earth, Rajinikanth in Annamalai or Sivaji (you name it).
This 4 stages of the becoming can better understood by comparing the process with the antagonists in Star Wars, Man of Tai Chi, Ong Bak, Batman Begins, Superman, Tron legacy, Ninja Assassin or Constantine.. take your pick.
By analogy, high functioning psychopaths could be described as a set of people who are often stuck in the third part of the self realization cycle.
Now that we know how the self identification process works, lets move on to the topic.
Deity Complex: (This is completely my observation and I could very well be wrong.)
As opposed to the god complex, us Indians suffer from Deity complex. Having been stuck in the second part of the self realization process, our emotional quotient often identifies itself with someone else, fictional or not, and becomes entangled.
This often happens because of our social structure. A father can almost never let go of his control over the son and a son is often bound by principles to not to go against his father. Son doesn’t move out of the family as soon as he is able to. It often happens after he is married and that is way too late and way too committal to go through the rest of the self identification process. Times may be changing now as an average Indian starts earning at 21 and moves out of the family to work for a corporate. The trick here is that, there is usually another authoritative figure, a manager perhaps, who would continue to play the part of the father hindering the psychological development of his wards.
Let me explain. Compare corporate life to the self identification process Carl Jung has described. The master (manager) is supposed to help the student to get into touch with his inner self and to help him develop his skills, techniques and ideology so someday he becomes independent. That is moving on to the third part. That also means providing room for mistakes and encouraging the ward to take more responsibilities, explore new methods and allow self-teaching, provided that he is right on top of the learning curve. Now we know what an average Indian manager would do.
This is often not the case with an American individual. The family ties never hinders him to do what he wants.. it doesn’t warrants him to shut up even if he knows the father is wrong. This sets up a foundation for what follows next. Americans often speak up against authority to do what they deem right and are encouraged to take risks with or without assessments. The result is an uninterrupted flow of the self identification process which often yields a leader or a hero. Meanwhile our social structure often stops us at level 2 or level 3 promoting a huge population of listeners not leaders.
Effects of deity complex:
So remember how the self identification process messes up and we end up identifying ourselves with the heroes, fiction or not? For some of us, it is lord Anjaneya, viz a viz Rajinikanth, Modi, [insert: any hero]. Almost all the Indian literature and myth is about praising the heroic figure and somehow it has contributed in culturing the deity complex. We developed a pathological need to celebrate this someone else beyond rationale. It has become necessary for us to raise these individuals to a godly level and give them a status so sacred that he or she can get away with almost anything.
Remember Salman Khan’s charges? There was at least hundreds of thousands of people who taught Salman Khan should not be jailed even when they knew for a fact he did kill someone in a drunk and drive stupor. Some people even tried to rationalize it by showcasing the “Being Human” initiative, which is a pathetic PR technique that would shame goebbels’ techniques in propaganda.
IMHO, when you hear about an individual who self-immolated himself to death because Actor Vijay’s movie has trouble releasing, you know this has gone too far.
A more common example:
We all know someone who can not handle criticisms against Rajinikanth, Modi, Sachin Tendulkar or Lord Ram. It is actually their ego defending an attack on themselves. Their self-identification has entangled itself with their heroes so bad that an attack against their heroes passes as an attack on themselves. What happens when someone is injured? They either break down or attack back. These attacks sometime ends up in fans killing each other.
//Personally, I would consider this as evolution’s trick to check itself from being counterproductive. Evolution would have woke up one day thinking, “Whoa.. I somehow missed to weed out a gene and now this bunch of people are bringing down the mean IQ of the world’s population parallel to the x axis. Let me fix it.” Later that day two different fan clubs take out each other.//
I feel the most important problem India will be facing in this generation would be the deity complex that I have described here.
Understanding the self and ego is more of a social problem rather than a personal problem. In a society where anything or anyone unconventional is attacked viciously, there could only be a small proportion of people who can risk it all anyway.
If the situation should change, when a son could defy his father to follow his dreams and still continues to get love and support; when a student could challenge a professor over a scientific process or ideology and still continues to get unbiased academic attention and benefits; when a junior engineer could defy his manager over adapting a new technology and still continues to get promotions and salary bumps as same as everyone; then there lies a society where leaders will not be butchered but nurtured.