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  #1  
Unread October 15th, 2004, 08:03 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Question Superiority/Inferiority

Can someone fluent in German tell me what word(s) Adler uses for the "goal of fictional superiorty" in German, please? I think the inferiority feeling is usually "Minderwertigkeit". German is so precise that I think it would help to know what terms he does use. Perhaps a German speaking person with good linguistic skill in English would be kind enough to try and flesh out more of the connotation of his term. The inferiority feeling in German, feels " much more down" than our English "equivalent" term usually indicates as I understand German. To me, Minderwertigkeit, has a sadder feeling than "inferiorty feeling" in English. Any comments would be appreciated. English may be OK for science, but for precise communication, it leaves a lot to be desired.
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Unread October 16th, 2004, 01:20 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

I forwarded your question to my translator who responded with:

"I have had trouble with 'inferiority complex' from the beginning but there are certain 'equivalences' we use that are cast permanently in the literature. Minderwertig literally means of lower value, which would be a person who thinks little of himself, or who has a low self-esteem. Inferiority sounds like a state as decreed by another person. Minderwertigkeit seems not as harsh a feeling as feeling inferior, which seems like a permanent condition. It is possible for an individual to raise his self-esteem with some effort. Inferiority seems like a condition that has been permanently implanted in the individual, or has been decreed by a superior power."

He has not yet responded to the German equivalent of "goal of fictional superiorty." (He did state however, that is was a good question.)
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Unread October 16th, 2004, 03:57 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

That is very helpful so far. That is exactly the feeling I have with this Minderwertigkeit term also. It has a sense of powerlessness and "lessness" in it that has a kind of painful feeling. I look forward to hearing the term for fiction superiority feeling.Many thanks.
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Unread October 17th, 2004, 10:43 AM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

Hello George,
Although I am not fluent in German I know that the word for Superiority in German is "Uberlegenheit". Which is something like "being better than...."
Fiction is in German "Fiktion".

Paul
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Unread October 17th, 2004, 11:07 AM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

Hello George,
I just took a closer look to "Goal of fictional superiority". I guess that maybe it can be better to speak of the "Fictional goal of Superiority". Adler used the German word "Ziel" and "Zweck" alternatively to indicate the individual "for what purpose?" or "to what end? ".
Superiority as such made some kind of development in Adler's thinking. In his writings around 1920 he used "Uberlegenheit" ( Superiority). Later around the 1930's he saw it more as a striving for "Overcoming" and "Perfection" and "Completion". I guess you know that in the end he spoke of a movement from a felt minus to a perceived plus.

Paul
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Unread October 17th, 2004, 12:45 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

That is interesting and I will need to digest it. I would have anticipated something like "hochwertiger" with more "altitude to it. Many thanks.
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Unread October 17th, 2004, 07:05 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

My translator has come up with the following suggestion:

"Adler uses 'das Endziel einer fiktiven Ueberlegenheit' which
literally translates into 'the final goal of a fictitious superiority.'"
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Unread October 17th, 2004, 07:31 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Well there it is. "Minder" of less, or below and "Uber" of above or higher. Adler uses language so precisely that it is most enjoyable. You can feel the tension between these two poles as they pull against each other. I now have a better appreciation of the I/F and Superiority notions. And Uberlegen has the same sense as "stratified rock" or at least it would be used of layered materials. So there is a lying on top of something sense to the word. (Perhaps we could call it, for fun, an "on top of the world" feeling.) Yes, the German is more precise. The translators have done an excellent job and I am not suggesting I could improve on it. It is just that subtle things get lost in tranlsation. This can not be helped. Many thanks Henry.
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Unread October 18th, 2004, 05:01 AM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

The German "Überlegen" has also very much the connotation of "to outdo"
The striving for "Überlegenheit" can be seen as the relatively sound form of the compensation of the situation of "lacking" or "shortcoming" which is constitutionally typical for the human kind, according to Adler
Paul
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Unread October 19th, 2004, 03:59 AM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Superiority/Inferiority

It is probably useful to search for a context where Adler is using this term (Ueberlegenheit, superiority). One such context is "Ueber den nervösen Charakter". I have available the Metzger edition, published by the Fischer-Verlag. On page 48, Adler is discussing the birth of neurosis. He presents first a lengthy discussion on the inferiority feeling, aggression, the need of overcoming the inner insecurity, and inner pressures and wants, and continues: "Alle Erscheinunge der Neurose stammen aus diesen vorbereitenden Mitteln, die dem Endziel einer Ueberlegenheit zustreben. Sie sind geistige Bereitschaften, immer fertig, um den Kampf um das Persönlichkeitsgefühl einzuleiten; sie gehorchen dem Kommando der leitenden Fiktion..." And so on. In this citation, you may find all the strategic terms: Überlegenheit, Fiktion, Ziel. Now you may search for a corresponding translation in CCWAA, Vol. 1. See page 9. "Every manifestation of the neurosis originates from these predisposing means, which strive toward the final goal superiority. They are mental predispositions, always ready to iniate the struggle for the feeling of self-worth; they obey the the commands of the guiding fiction." There are a number of other contexts in NC where this idea of superiority is discussed. Studying these contexts as wholes, especially the numerous case-studies, will reveal Adler's intentions behind this concept. However, Paul Miedma has right, in my opinion, in pointing out that there are subtle changes in Adler's use of the concept during the decades. But NC offers probably the best source to start the study of the concept of superiority and its conditions and transformations.

Last edited by Manu Jaaskelainen; October 25th, 2004 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Some linguistic revisions
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