Darwin once stated, it is not the strongest that are most likely to survive, but those most adaptable to change. Height elicits expectation, yet it does not determine personality or social standing. Despite what many men and women believe, being restricted by one’s height or weight presents a valuable challenge that would not exist, if modern society was more accepting of its innate diversity. From a historical perspective, this is far from new behaviour. However, there are countless erroneous presumptions associated with height that limit our understanding of how heightism originally came to be.
One of the earliest, common references is that of the “Napoleon Complex”, which denotes an inferiority complex or deep-rooted hang-up with one’s own height. However, the original purpose of this term is rarely analysed, nor it is considered that history is typically written by the victor. Smear campaigns were nothing new. Since we have learnt to paint on cave-walls, we have used visual and/or linguistic mediums to convey useful and impractically vain information. To twist and turn information, regardless of its accuracy stretches back to the beginning of ancient warfare. This leads us to a simple fact: Napoleon Bon Apart (5.6ft / 1.68m) was taller than Horatio Nelson (5.4ft / 1.64m). One would think that such a basic fact could easily be discerned by the masses, however, Nelson was accustomed to taking measures against “looking short”. That being said, when the height difference is below 2 inches or five centimetres, it is fairly easy to play with appearances, but whereas many people nowadays can purchase flats from nearby stores, Nelson had to devise his own methods of altering his appearance.
Nelson understood that height is as physical as it is psychological. Anyone can seem tall, while they truly aren’t. If you are bold enough, you can make anyone believe anything, but let’s not throw all caution to the wind just yet. There are physiological limits without bone-shattering application traditional Chinese surgery. Limitations that cannot be applied to the art of propaganda. He may not have been taller than his opponent, although you wouldn’t know with how much effort he invested in being referred to as the taller out of the two.
To show the extent of how successful his propaganda campaigns actually were…in honour of Nelson’s victory, the column built in Trafalgar Square was designed to be the tallest landmark in all of London. Some historians suggest that it was Nelson’s explicit wish for the highest monument to be dedicated to him, so he could oversee the entirety of the metropolis of London at the time.
As we are judged by our appearance, prior to our actions…Before we even open up our mouth, it is only logical to give yourself the best chances. In the old days, it was easier to make yourself appear taller, smarter and more capable. Nowadays, it has become much harder for anyone to pretend to be something they are not, but it is never impossible. Not for anyone…However, it appears to be easier for taller men to deceive women than their shorter counterpart. Again, not impossible. The truth is that under the right circumstances, people will turn a blind eye to almost anything, if they are otherwise occupied…They will disregard height differences, personal disagreements and even the most heart-wrenching betrayals, when the appeal to their self-interest is sufficient. Although the interests of one or more people may be temporarily aligned, that does not guarantee any form of loyalty or respect once they are not. In fact, short men and women live longer, when they’re weary of the company they keep. It is one thing to be useful, but to be repeatedly used as a stepping stone is a fate no one should settle for, regardless of their stature.
Height & Intelligence
History is full of examples, where height serves as an indicator of high intelligence or brute force. Whereas some geniuses are born, most forms of intelligence are cultivated and developed over time. In other words, every human being has the potential to enhance their natural abilities or fight against them. Whereas many living beings are driven by instinct, we have the free will to choose. In this, we are given a distinct advantage. Through conscious choice, one can overcome the height-based bias that runs riot in the world. However, we can only free ourselves, we cannot force others into the position to acknowledge the existence or negative impact of heightism.
Being short is not a handy-cap. It does not determine EQ, IQ or intelligence of thought. Here, one has to to bear in mind that the most intelligent of people were never revered throughout history, they were shunned, exiled and often murdered in the most heinous manner. However, where the general cultivation of intelligence is concerned, Jung’s theory on personality development indicates that if you are not athletically- or strength-orientated as a short person, your talent most likely lies elsewhere. Further research into the hidden talents of the “vertically challenged” shows that many excel at communication. Whereas some had to become quick witted by being subjected to abuse, others were born with the gift of the gab. It gives them an irresistible charm that makes them much more successful in the dating game. For those that are still mastering that knack for words, the trick is to say less than necessary.
Needless to mention, there are many different types of intelligence. Although we continue to quantify new forms, quantum physics suggests the avenues of intelligence are infinite. If we can conceive being a genius in a subject in our minds, it is fairly possible to cultivate the knowledge necessary to succeed. That being said, if you weren’t born swimming against the tide, I wouldn’t recommend to start now. Nurture your natural abilities, but keep an open mind. After all, you wouldn’t expect Bach, Tesla or Einstein to abandon their respective fields, for what was expected of them. Truth is not a phenomena of mass-appeal, neither is free will. The most intelligent, remarkable and revered characters throughout history were not recognised for their achievement. They did not need to be. They did what felt right for them, regardless of what society thought of them. That being said, appearance and social standing can easily override intelligence, but it depends very much on the circumstances. In such an occasion, the personality of a person often defines their instinctual reaction. (It should be noted that psychopaths are predominantly prone to react in specific ways, whereas sociopaths often lack a reaction, unless attempting to elicit a specific response.)
As stated before, there is such a thing as too intelligent. However, there are two distinct types of “high intelligence.” As paradoxical as it may seem, the first type of supremely intelligent people, capable of outsmarting the world’s finest, frequently feign ignorance to fit in. Conversely, the second type often lack the social intelligence to not outshine their master (at every turn), unless the right circumstances are in their favour.
For many, high intelligence is frightening. Combined with the lack of height, it is like drawing a bullseye on one’s back. Even if you give someone the right answer or advice, if it’s not you they wanna hear it from, then the entire endeavour is flawed from the outset. At times, we fail to realise just how intelligent those around us are, if our ego prevents us from seeing them for what they are truly capable of.
Tall or not, nothing is as it seems. We can never know anyone by their appearance or glimpses of their personality. Even the type or level intelligence only serves us to a limits degree. Truth is only time reveals the reality of a person and/or situation. Hitler considered to the Jews to be of lower intelligence. Before then, men thought of women as less intelligent. And the time before that, it was African Americans. For someone to be superior, some has to be viewed as inferior. The more superior someone is, the more inferior another becomes. In a way, it is the cycle and sway of power. Without a smidgen of humility or compassion toward their opponent, people rise to inconceivable heights. However, they must invariably fall from their high horse in this life or the next. Regardless of how sly or intelligent, no one can escape the moral consequences of their behaviour toward themselves or others. So, think twice before acting out revenge or ill-will…Think twice before judging yourself based on appearance or intelligence. Beauty and intelligence are both in the eye of the beholder. They are malleable, superficial properties that are easily altered, as is what we gain from them. However, the challenge in problem-solving is to realise that we cannot change certain aspects of ourselves, we can only overcome them by denying them the power to act upon us. If we doomed to be short, the most intelligent coping strategy is to make the best of it. Ironically, this is also one of the most effective ways to annoy and irritate those that gain a level of satisfaction from demeaning others. The lack of a reaction/response or even a simple agreement can startle the most determined bully long enough to diffuse tension, but it can also have the exact opposite effect.
Height & Mental Illness
Many short men are either depict as the arrogant smartass, the sly mediator and the cold-blooded sociopath or psychopath. However, how closely related are height and mental well-being? Although it shouldn’t have such detrimental effects, any form of discrimination takes its toll. As height and well-being are indirectly connected through the self-image that is established through childhood and adulthood. Height can never be a definite indicator of sanity and it is ludicrous that some humour this notion. From a professional standpoint, height affects many facets of life, from dating to work opportunities to socialising, which in turn affects mental and emotional health.
Truth be told, just by being short or fat, the chance of getting employed or earning more is significantly lower. After all, it could be argued that any profession that is restricted by height requirements only perpetuates a narrow-minded, inaccurate view of how height determines available career-choices and progression. However, no argument or clever statement can change the reality of the situation.
Although height discrimination has reached the realms of undeniability, that does not stop people from trying. Hell, I would depressed if interview after interview employers would take one look at me and my CV, make some excuse and hired someone half my age with less qualifications but taller. Equal employment opportunities means that it shouldn’t matter if I’m a 4ft grey alien from Alpha Centauri, every living being should have the same opportunity to prove their skills and put food on the table. To be expected to be mentally stable in such conditions is like fighting an endless tide of unrealistic expectations. It should be noted that those who demand often are not expected to deliver, if put in the same position. On a separate note, I’ve noticed short men that have risen above the negative restrictions and implications of heightism rarely associate with other short men, unless carefully selected. They wish to distance themselves as far as they can from being a target, or being associated with anything that threatens the position they have fought to gain. Those that have made it are not all cut-throat, but the majority have had to learn to function in a world of predators. As a consequence, the prey grows far beyond its former predator(s). Whereas some develop anti-social qualities to survive among psychopaths, others choose to steer their moral compass in the opposite direction. They cultivate an air of non-attachment that almost gives them a monk-like presence. They are at peace with who they are. They do not feel the urge to seek justice or vengeance…They only act when acted upon. And I have the deepest empathy for those that have fallen victim to such a powerful force. Few that I know of make it out alive with their ego intact. Some are so emasculated that it stays with them for the rest of their lives (which is most likely equivalent to what they have done to others for being short, fat or otherwise impaired in their opinion).
The Short Sociopath VS The Tall Psychopath
So far in my career, I’ve encountered short and tall sociopaths. However, I’ve always found that my colleagues would find it easier to cope with the 6ft6in than the 5ft4in service user. While episodes of violence were more common for the taller clientele, short men were far more contained but infinitely more vicious when violent. Despite the inherent danger, I’ve always been more comfortable around short sociopaths in comparison to tall psychopaths or sociopaths. Although not all short sociopaths I’ve met socially or professionally have been high functioning, the majority were highly intelligent in their own way. One that society may not be ready to acknowledge just yet, since it has no need to. As stated before, once there is a need, most will say or do anything to fill it…But what happens afterwards entirely depends on the person and circumstance.
The term psychopath and sociopath are often used to describe the worst fears anyone can have about someone we are associated with. Their true nature is thought to be egocentric, merciless and incapable of remorse. The stuff of your worst nightmares… But contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to look far to find a full-blooded psychopath or sociopath. Just switch on your TV. Whereas psychopaths thrive on attention, sociopaths often keep to the shadows. Nonetheless, both can also create shadows from which to operate. Most of us won’t have to look beyond our community to find a borderline psychopath or sociopath. The difference is tall people remain undetected far more often, unless their actions have been witnessed on a large scale. One that is not or cannot be denied.
To explain, the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy on a fundamental level is on a genetic level. Whereas both can have their hereditary roots, emotional processing is affected differently. Psychopaths, although they may not be able to feel, are often driven by an emotional need. Sociopaths are not. However, both disassociate from their emotions to variant degrees. Both are capable of vicious fits of rage, although they are often underplayed when the individual is short.
The most important difference I’ve found in dating a psychopath and a higher functioning sociopath is the need to prey on emotions. Psychopaths appear to have an inherent need to manipulate and deceive that makes them overconfident. The paranoid tendencies of a short sociopath is the textbook example that counters such the deep-rooted emotional need of the stereotypically tall and good looking psychopath.
Height does not differentiate. Since height discrimination has become an everyday occurrence, whether you’re a psychopath, sociopath or just anti-social makes no difference. If you’re short as a male, you’re doomed to be an outsider, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. From personal experience, short-statured people like myself either make an invested effort to follow trends or they create their own. As a psychologist, it is my firm opinion that trend-setters are always outsiders. Whether short or tall, they have the confidence to walk their own path.
However, for sociopaths, the end justifies the means. If that means their imprisonment, torture or death, then so be it. Psychopaths, due to their inherent emotional needs, have an in-build weakness, whereas once the mask of a sociopath drops…There is nothing. A vast, infinite void of emotion that drives shivers down your spine. Beyond false anger, there is dead calm silence.
In simple terms, the circuits in the cortex do not connect and/or process emotions properly…like two wires that don’t fully connect. Since they don’t, there is an accumulation of energy, leading to large bursts of emotion, when the buildup is so substantial that the connection is forced.
It is difficult for anyone to let someone close to us see us in our worst light. For sociopaths and psychopaths, the light is merely more revealing than most people can handle. Not all of us were born or conditioned to be a certain way, but none of us deserve the rejected for that fact.
Predators have their uses in any society. Historically, their talents were put to good use in the military. The more psychotic, psychopathic or sociopathic the opponent, the more insane was the person that actually defeated them. In wartimes, you wouldn’t care about the short guy wielding a battle ax like a mad man, unless he is coming toward you. The military has always been in high demand of controllable soldiers that will follow any command to the death, not uncontrollable cannon balls that wreck their projections. Psychopaths gain their power from knowing their place and when to rise above it…Sociopaths will do so regardless, if they wish to.
Being short makes that endeavour slightly more complex, as there is more to conceal and distract from. Playing with appearances is more complicated, as making oneself taller isn’t an option. Surrounding oneself by tall, but genuine, supporters is a frequently used technique. However, the tall selfless wingman that’ll deliver women on a plate is a sheer fantasy, unless they are blackmailed into doing so or persuaded by someone with a higher level power compared to them. I’ve found that when it comes to territory, many men do not remove women from the equation. That being said, women are no longer subject to arranged marriages or career-restraints, but we are just as vulnerable to social engineering. Particularly, in the case of male heightism.
When we become chronically dissatisfied with ourselves, it becomes hard to hide. People sense, feel and see that one person, which drags the group down. On the other hand, every group also has its leader: the alpha male or female. Whereas tall psychopaths or sociopaths often have the opportunity to cosy up to them by replacing the beta…Their short counterpart often has to strike with fierce momentum to displace or even scatter the group (with less beneficial results). In conclusion, height doesn’t affect the severity of a condition, but at times it forces men in the position to overcompensate merely to be noticed. Unfortunately, by the time they are noticed, their reactions have often been torn so far out of proportion that they distract from the issue at hand.