If we talk about one of the most popular complexes of all time (the inferiority complex), we must refer to a paradigmatic case that was analyzed by the very discoverer of this complex, Alfred Adler. Its protagonist was a young pianist from Hungary who we will call Sandor. Sandor’s talent at the piano had been extolled by the most famous composers of his time. For example, the prolific composer of Broadway musicals Karl Massin (“The world is a giant egg”, “I have a damned headache from loving you so much”, “I was rich until I stopped being”, “The potty of a mother”) said of him that “I do not know another pianist who knows how to play with the ten fingers at the same time.” (This praise contained a veiled criticism of his last musical’s pianist who was the producer’s protegé and who played the piano using a single finger and it was a while before he found the corresponding key.) Well, this young man of such promising future suffered a severe inferiority complex. And not in order to follow the fashion of his time, like so many other New Yorkers, but for a dark secret that his subconscious jealously guarded.
When Adler tried to unravel this secret, he had to face the fierce opposition of the young man’s parents, who did not want it to be known that in reality their son did not have the faintest idea how to play the piano and had been pretending all those years. But Adler found out this on his own the day that, before a concert at Madison Square Garden, he offered to place the score on the music stand and, instead of the score, he placed the tale of the Three Little Pigs with illustrations, which went completely unnoticed by the young man (as well as the audience that crowded the concert hall and who accorded him a standing ovation). According to Adler, it was this inability to play the piano in full awareness of what he was doing, which had caused the young man such an inferiority complex. Even when compared to the Broadway pianist who played with a single finger and with long intervals between one note and the next, the young Sandor felt “inferior”.
After a therapy of several months, Adler managed to completely cure the young Sandor, getting him to stop pretending to be a great pianist to adopt a profession for which he was really gifted. And for what profession was Sandor really gifted? Adler wondered. And analyzing his behavior until then (having successfully posed as a talented pianist despite believing that Sol-Fa was a Chinese therapy), he came to the conclusion that he was a born actor. And he was not wrong. From that moment, Sandor developed a successful career as an actor. In Hollywood, the producers begged for him since he made them save a lot of money in each production. When he performed the role of Superman, for example, there was no need to hire special effects since Sandor, once he got into character, was able to fly, lift an ocean liner whit one hand or avoid a train collision. And all without any trick. Just pretending.