Well, that depends on what you mean by being complex. There are many definitions of a complex personality, but one common thread between them is that a complex person behaves in a complicated and often unpredictable way even when presented with similar stimuli.
Simple personalities admire a routine and predictable life. They like to rely on things and the benefit of expected outcomes. Ignorance is a bliss for them, and although complex personalities like indulging in limited routine behavior, they are unpredictable where it matters. Complex personalities like to keep the predictability limited to repetitive tasks like eating, drinking, and other daily chores. However, when it comes to showing creativity, devising strategies to tackle a problem, or even making a holiday plan, complex ones chuck out the stale ideas as soon as they smell them. That’s why creative people and artists are more often than not complex personalities. The quality that gives complex people an upper hand in artistic fields is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated topics and come up with unique solutions to even the most rudimentary problems.
Let me delve into some examples of complex personalities to provide some further clarification.
Albert Einstein is a typical example of a complex personality. Einstein, inspite of working as a clerk for the Swiss patent office in Switzerland, came up with four path-breaking scientific theories in 1905, which some consider as his golden year. But in the same year, there must have been several patent clerks in his office and certainly around the world. Why didn’t they come up with the theory of relativity?
Well, the difference lied not in what he did for a living but what he did because he was living. Einstein, to escape the routine of his life, used to come up with vivid imaginary solutions to physics problems in his head; something he called thought experiments. While sitting in his office surrounded by the same mundane tasks, Einstein would escape inside his multilayered brain and try to come up with pragmatic solutions to scientific problems that have stumped scientific thinkers for thousands of years. He worked like a robot when doing his office work, hence indulging in a constant routine. But when it came to searching for solutions to problems that have baffled generations of scientific as well as spiritual thinkers, Einstein didn’t only think outside of the box, he stopped believing there was a box. This is the difference between how simple personalities living in their ignorance think and how complex personalities who are fed up with the rules & traditions of the society think.
Let’s take another example. You might be surprised, but Adolf Hitler was also a complex personality. A person with a single-minded objective of working for German nationalism by whatever means necessary, Hitler might seem like a simple-minded individual. His hate for people less fortunate than him and a thirst to take vengeance from the people who wronged him appear typically fanatical and hence straight forward.
Nonetheless when we delve a little deeper into Hitler’s mind and observe how he accomplished his seemingly simple objective, we realize how disturbingly complex this man was. His complexity comes from the solution he devised to a problem, centuries of spiritualism and socialism had struggled with. Hitler saw the age-old problem of how to create a pure human race -he referred to as Aryans- and came up with a solution no one before him had dared to fathom. He very cleverly and secretly motivated the German people, especially the ones with nationalist feelings against the Jews, portraying them as everything that was wrong with their country.
What followed was a mass exodus of Biblical proportions to which no German man or woman objected to because of Hitler’s hogwash. After that, he exterminated the Jew population and many other minorities while continuing to give German people evidence that these moves were bringing positive changes in society. The ability of Hitler to mind wash innocent and comparatively simple-minded individuals into following him on a journey that still puts entire humanity to shame, undoubtedly stands evident to his ungodly regime. It also gives us striking evidence of Adolf Hitler being at least partially complex, if not wholly.
Let us come back to the initial question. Is being a complex personality, good or bad? Well, the assumption of complex personality being bad comes from the notion that ignorance is bliss and for simple-minded individuals, it seems it certainly is bliss. It’s because not involving yourself in deep debates surrounding existential questions of the human condition like where did we come from, where are we going, or who created the universe not only keeps you from being overanxious but also allows you to be more happy and satisfied.
Don’t get me wrong. Neither a simple nor a complex personality is the so-called correct way to live. There is no right or wrong here. Both personality types have their way of living, and I respect that. However, being complex on a psychological level means you fret over these existential questions along with many you come across on a daily basis. Where the simple-minded people see the blue sky, complex ones see Atmospheric Refraction. Where the former marvel at the beautiful rainbows, the latter indulge in debates about the Diffraction of Light and its uses. Although the approach allows complex personalities to be intellectually profound, it also makes them more lonely, self-centered, and generally unhappy. Why do you think Newton saw the proof of gravity where others would have seen a free apple?
Being complex in itself doesn’t make you good or bad. Being a complex personality, you can either let your intelligence drive you or drive it yourself. The day you let your curiosity turn against you, is the day your complexity becomes bad, not only for you but for others around you as well. Let’s not forget that complexity is a double-edged sword. You can use it to defend yourself and the people you care about, or you can use it to destroy the world. You can use your layers deep intellect to bring forth the next scientific breakthrough like Einstein or kill thousands of innocent people and become Hitler.
The choice is yours. You have a gift. A gift of forlorn maybe, but still a gift. How you use it is your prerogative. I hope you use it for the betterment of the world and to make some happy moments for yourself. Being complex can make you stand out from the crowd. After that, you can either lead the crowd in a new direction or down the cliff.