The Mozart-Salieri Complex

Amadeus, a movie released in 1984, tells the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical genius through the eyes of an envious peer Antonio Salieri. Salieri is both in awe of Mozart’s genius and also self-loathing of his own perceived “mediocrity.”

Years after this movie was released, I saw its affects around me from people speaking of mediocrity to others professing to compose music in their heads (where else would you compose it?).

It ties in to something I perceive in the American identity – seeing ourselves as unique. Yet if that is a cultural characteristic, it’s an irony because a group of people professing to be unique hardly makes the individuals within the group unique. Yet at the same time, we are truly individual and, therefore, unique.

Where this Amadeus becomes a complex is when we cut off our creativity because we don’t think we are “genius.” In other words, if I’m not the best-of-the-best, then I won’t do it at all. This happens all the time.

While discussing creativity recently with a colleague, he pointed out that when we are children, we are all artists. We stick our hands in the paint, put it on paper, make a big heart, write we love mommy and take it home as a precious gift to the one we love.

We didn’t consider it genius or mediocrity. We just expressed it and gave it away.

When did we lose this ability to create so easily?

When we began comparing.

Once we compare, we react. Our reactions can be positive or negative, but either way they cut us off from the child that painted the picture from the heart. Now my picture is “good” or “bad” or “genius” or “mediocrity.”

Why do we begin comparing?

Astrologically the first and seventh houses of the horoscope represent the polarity of self and other. The signs that rule these houses are Aries and Libra. Look for these houses and signs in your own horoscope to see how you compare yourself to others.

Of course we must do this. It’s part of the whole personality. But just one part.

When did we begin comparing?

As I’m not an educator or parent, I’m not sure exactly when children lose the “child” and begin comparing. From my distant view, it seems around the age of 8-10. Teenager-hood, that dreaded time in a parent’s life, is when comparing takes full force, when the individuality is at its lowest point but the teenage host thinks it’s at its peak.

In astrology, the personal planets are sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. These planets represent all of your daily characteristics, your likes and dislikes, comforts and pleasures, methods and modes.

After the personal planets come Jupiter and Saturn – the social planets. Jupiter is your school, social, religious and civic organizations. Jupiter is the social self.

Saturn is the police station, the bank, the principal’s office, the curfew. Saturn rules the structures of society. Saturn is the law-abiding self.

Jupiter has a 12-year cycle so spends a year in each sign. In six years, Jupiter is 180 degrees from where it was when you were born (an opposition). This is the time that children enter school and is the first round of what’s called socialization. At some time during your first year or two of school, you are made VERY aware of the others out there which can make the experience traumatic.

In another six years, Jupiter has returned to the place where it was when you were born. By age 12, you are aware of the social environment or never will be. This is the age, to my perception, when the ability to create is threatened by the hyper-awareness and adaption to the social environment.

As a traveler, I’m always on the lookout for key phrases. Phrases that no matter age, gender, race everyone uses to talk about a particular topic.

One of my favorites in this country is the topic of home schooling. Years ago while studying this topic, I mentioned it to a number of people in all areas of my life (few being educators). The response was exactly the same in the exact same words each time – “What about socialization?”


Where did we learn to say this? I said the same thing – where did I learn it? I have no idea to this day.

What’s fascinating here is that the socialization process itself created its own defense of the process. If you think of the applications of this method, it is astounding.

My own awareness of my lack of awareness made me re-think what’s going on both in the school system and outside of it. Those that do homeschool are very protective and now I understand why. The force against them is very, very strong.

While Jupiter is seen as an ancient benevolent in that it’s expansive (who doesn’t want more of everything?), expansion isn’t always “good.” At age 12, Jupiter expands the awareness of the social environment.

Saturn has a 29-year cycle so the socialization that occurs here is when we “settle down.” If you are not married and thinking about house and children and steady employment by age 30, society may consider you odd. The female body does appear to do best in childbearing before this age. Physically, it makes sense.

At age 30, most of us have given up our youthful pretenses. Children and home often require practical action and responses.

While socialization is necessary to get along in the world, is there a way we can keep our creative child and socialize?

The Mozart-Salieri Complex is destructive because it cuts us off from our creative self through comparison with the highest point of creative endeavor – genius. When you don’t honor whatever it is you create in whatever form, you’ve left yourself to wander in the world of socialization that will tell you many different things based on time and culture.

If your creative genius was like Mozart’s, it wouldn’t be yours. Cancel out the comparison because it doesn’t make any sense.

Your mom didn’t put that painting on the refrigerator because it was genius. She put it on the refrigerator because you created it with sincerity and love.


About ohioastrology

I'm just another soul trying to make sense of the world. As I've grown, so has my understanding of astrology. I'd like to communicate that astrology is not occult and not fortune-telling but that it is a fluid, creative description of the life we choose to live.
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