“A god complex is an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability, privilege, or infallibility. A person with a god complex may refuse to admit the possibility of error or failure, even in the face of complex or intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks, or may regard personal opinions as unquestionably correct. The individual may disregard the rules of society and require special consideration or privileges.”
The first time that I heard about this was on a TED talk several months ago. The idea seemed to have slipped away from my memory, till suddenly I realized its factuality all over the place. Well, I have met and talked with quite a few scientists, and a good part of them are leaders in their respective fields. Many showed this “quality”.
The question is – is the god complex a necessary attribute of a scientist or is it just another symptom of an inborn human weakness that must be consciously and accordingly limited ?
I am one of those people who really do not like to have ideas imposed on them. The stature of the scientist trying to do so is not important to me, and the notion that all scientists are noble and honest is something I have parted away with a long time ago. And what agitates me even more are attempts by many older scientists to take advantage of the lack of experience (read knowledge) in the younger generation and try to impose their own understanding and bias on them, effectively recruiting new members for their cause.
Of course, every single one of us believes that he or she is inherently right and that the others are wrong. This is an unavoidable, yet useful property of the human psyche that has undoubtedly helped us achieve progress as a species owing to the increased power of the individual. I can understand where the older scientists are coming from. They believe that what they do is of great importance (many have dedicated years of their lives to this and denial is not an uncommon occurrence either) and they must do whatever they can to contribute. And definitely one of the best ways to do so is to plant seeds into a new field, the minds of the new generation that will shape the future.
Still, isn’t it better to leave the young to figure out things on our own? By providing the different points of view we are most likely to get closer to uncovering the true nature of things.
This is one of those topics that are not black and white, and I would certainly appreciate the opinions of my readers on this.