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Psychology: perceived superiority

There is a natural tendency in people to try to achieve superiority. There are many different kinds of superiority, but they are all associated with survival. Superiority is perceived as being strong or powerful; having control over one’s own life and survival. Often this superiority translates as control over the lives of others too.

Insecurity and anxiety can breed an obsession with the need to dominate others. We are driven by our own anxieties about survival and success.

Primitive superiority

The strongest members of the community are often the trouble makers. They have physical strength, a primitive strength that allows them to voice their opinions forcefully. They will take to the streets and demonstrate, riot and use force to get what they want.

Status

Our status in society is a measure of superiority. It tend to be class driven in the UK, but also determined by socio-economic factors. It’s a pecking order and your place in it can determine the opportunities that you can expect in life.

Moral superiority

Some people attempt to achieve a moral superiority. The local priest isn’t the wealthiest member of the community, but will command respect because of a moral superiority.

Genetic superiority

There is a genetic superiority, the so called ‘beautiful people’. They get preferential treatment based on the way they look. They become models, pop stars, film stars and find it easier to get a job than people with average looks or people who are perceived as less attractive.

Racial superiority

There is a racial superiority too. The Nazis thought they were the master race and ideas of racial superiority persist today. This leads to racism and the belief that some races are inferior to one’s own race.

Cultural superiority

Cultural superiority is common in Britain and people are even called cultured. People who can appreciate fine art and classical music are considered culturally superior. Even the appreciation of literature is considered culturally superior.

Academic superiority

Education gives academic superiority and this is most distinct in the culture of universities. If you can’t achieve superiority in any of the other realms of superiority, you can be superior even if you are a small fat ugly nerd from some country no one has heard of as long as you have a PhD in Cultural biodiversity.

If you’re feeling inferior, there are lots of ways to combat that perceived inferiority. You can’t change your race, but you can improve your education, morality and cultural experience. This can compensate for feelings of inferiority. There is also a perception of superiority associated with gender, but that is more complex. Again, this can be compensated for with changes associated with perceptions of other traits.

What do you think? Do you feel superior or inferior in one of the ways mentioned? Please comment using the box below. You can also follow me on twitter.

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