Why does everybody want to prove and to assert? What is the psychology behind proving and asserting oneself?
The psychology behind assertiveness, behind proving oneself, is very simple. Every child, from his very beginning, is told that he is not what he should be. Disciplines are given, commandments are given; he has to fulfill them. If he cannot, he starts feeling inferior. It seems that others are fulfilling them, only he is not capable. And the inferiority complex is the basic mind disease out of which many diseases arise.
No child is born with an inferiority complex. It is the parents, the teachers, the priests, the society, the culture, which are responsible for creating the inferiority complex in the child. And the only way for the child to get rid of it seems to be to prove himself worthy according to the expectations of others. It creates a very miserable situation. He is not growing towards his own potential, he is following guidelines given by others. He will become somebody else that he was not by his nature supposed to be. He will never be happy; misery is going to be his lot. He may be able to assert himself; he may not be able to prove he is worthy, or he may be able to prove he is – whatever the case, misery is going to be the end result.
If he proves worthy in the eyes of others and becomes respectable, he will smile – but in his being there will be no flowers blossoming. He will show that he is dignified, but deep down he knows he has betrayed himself. He has committed the greatest crime possible: he has betrayed his own nature. He has gone against existence and listened to all kinds of idiots.
If he succeeds, then he is miserable. If he does not succeed, of course he is going to be miserable; he has failed. Others were right, that he is basically inferior, that he does not belong to the higher class, that he belongs to the lowest. It hurts – because no individual is higher and no individual is lower.
I do not mean by that that everybody is equal. I am not a communist. Communism, to me, is out of date. It is as dead as Christianity, Buddhism, Mohammedanism. My approach is totally different.
In the past these were the only two alternatives: either man is equal – equality of all human beings – or people are unequal. I have a third alternative: people are unique, incomparable. They cannot be compared, so how can you say who is inferior and who is superior? Is the flower of the marigold inferior to the rose? But how can you decide? They are unique in their individualities. The whole existence produces only unique people; it does not believe in carbon copies. So the question of equality or inequality does not arise; I cut it from the very roots.
There is a Greek story.