Inferiority and compensation. Considerations on a fundamental symbol in western culture

Poster session presented at the XXIII S.I.P.I. National Congress – “The network of the compensatory functions in the Adlerian theory and practice”, Milan, 2012.

The full article is available for download in Italian only.

Summary. The considerations developed in this poster can be summarised as follows: firstly, the symbol of Christ on the cross, a religious symbol per se, is read using other keys to interpretation (psychodynamic, literary, sociological and philosophical) on an Adlerian basis; this highlights that the basic dynamics is always the inferiority/superiority dialectic. Secondly, the symbols “cross” and “crossing” – very rich in meaning and present in several cultures – are analysed; the definition of a genetic phenomenon as a crossing-over brings us back to Adler’s brilliant intuition of the psychological and biological world of human beings as based on an inferiority/compensation dynamics, as if these two forces were “crossing” for survival’s sake. Finally, this poster suggests a possible formalisation of the way in which compensation and inferiority operate, by drawing a xy Cartesian coordinate system on which normal and pathological psychological manifestations are placed.

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