A complex is merely a pattern of emotions or thoughts, organized around a theme. A simple example might be that if you had a leg amputated when you were a child, it would influence your life in profound ways, even if you overcame the handicap.
A person may have many thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings of inferiority, triumphs, bitterness, and determinations centering on that one aspect of his or her life. Typically complexes are meant in a negative sense; that the complex affects your enjoyment of life negatively, but really I just mean it in the sense of a pattern of thoughts and emotions, and they can be positive too.
Sometimes complexes get confused with personality. And the boundary between the two is definitely fuzzy, considering that the definition of personality isn’t even really agreed upon, and often includes “emotional patterns”.
Have you ever Met…
- A sarcastic person who can’t take anything seriously, but always acts in a way that’s imperious and detached?
- A “heart on their sleeve” type person who gets overly personal too quickly, and it just too ready to tell you their life’s story?
- A distrustful person who assumes everyone is out to screw them, and wants to be the first one to do the job?
There are probably hundreds of different “types” like this. They often don’t have names, but you recognize them when you see them.
I don’t mean to look down on these people in any way. We all have our baggage, only some of us have actually reached Level 3 Adulting.
Social Media as a Collection of Microbubbles
On social media, for each of the possible types of people and complexes, they usually all have their own celebrity scene, or at least a small handful of very popular accounts that embody that certain complex. They tend to be powerful players in the Internet of Beefs, and I believe act as attractors for other people of the same personality type, or with the same complex. I can’t prove it, it’s just what I observe from seeing some of these personalities and the retinues that follow them around online.
And it perfectly fits the self-reinforcing pattern online, that people seek out others who will validate their beliefs. In turn, internet personalities and popular accounts will tend to curate their fan bases – first with the content they post, and second with the interactions that they foster – which strengthen and deepen this self-reinforcing loop.