Friday, November 1, 2013

God complex


Michael W. Davis

Came across a reference to the God complex other day dealing with how humans approach their interaction with the world. Appears that for many, sticking one’s head in the sand and discounting reality is an effective means for dealing with things they’d rather ignore. This blindness, turning away from the truth, I’d encountered before in my past life when delivering OMG results to managers and decision makers who’d rather disregard bad stuff on their watch hoping it would explode on someone else’s tour. In that realm the behavior was framed as cognitive denial and a well-recognized trait for many that refuse to open their eyes. Notice I’m not using American politics to illustrate this behavior. Oh, not because it doesn’t exist across the landscape, rather it’s because one of our rules at TWV is that we don’t get into politics given it’s such a polarizing issue.

Even suffered from the blindness myself when I ignored my body for over a year when it howled at me, “You got cancer, dude.” And it wasn’t just me. Of the sixty people I meant in the treatment center, all ignored the voice for 12-18 months, and are were stage 3 or 4 cause they turned away for so long.

My point? The God complex does rear its head in many stories as the character (hero or heroine) goes through an evolutionary awareness of their surroundings, themselves, their limitations and strengths. Nothing wrong with having a main character suffer from this blindness as long as by the end, they have transformed to a new level of awareness in dealing with their situation. I mean, how many times in a book have you screamed at the pages, “Finally, she woke up!” Have you ever wished a character had stayed in the dark about their shortfalls, the cruelty of their mate, the risk of their surroundings? I doubt it. So it’s okay for a character’s eyelids to be closed in the beginning but by the end open them peepers wide. You’re right; many in life do remain out of touch with reality, but is that what you want in an H/H? Think about it.  



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Your definition of the God complex aka denial, reminds me of watching a horror movie: "Don't open that door!"

We who have all the paranoia of the ages watch as our hapless heroes walk right into a trap. Why don't they listen?

Healthwise it might be because denial feels like the best medicine. Unfortunately, followed by the realization that the best diagnosis is an autopsy.

Big Mike said...

Yeah JP. Must be related to some survivor instinct for our species, just can't figure how.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Mike, I'm so glad you didn't need the autopsy!

Liz Fountain said...

You know, maybe that's one reason we really love good stories - we watch the hero or heroine "open that door," face the monster, and (at least sometimes) survive. Maybe it helps us build the courage to do that in real life too.

Thanks - Liz