Narcissism Week, Day 5
To paraphrase Douglas Adams: “Who can be trusted with power, when all those who want it are least suited to it?”
There have been many narcissistic “leaders” through millennia past, but a few recent ones are worth highlighting – with all their dangers. In recent months Donald Trump, long known as an intensely narcissistic man, has become American President, to the horror of most of the rest of the world. As I’ve written elsewhere (Part I & Part II), Donald Trump shows all the symptoms of the narcissistic person, and is very dangerous as a consequence. Napoleon also exhibited intense narcissism. Erich Fromm, in his ground-breaking book The Anatomy Of Human Destructiveness, devoted the last quarter of his work to a full character analysis of Hitler, showing the intense, malignant narcissism of the man, a malignancy that could just as easily, albeit in different mode and circumstances, be applied to Thatcher and Trump.
Thatcher, Napoleon and Hitler also had the curious addition of the phenomenal “semi-autistic” memory, examined in depth by the noted American psychiatrist and writer Darrold Treffert as part of his work with Savant Syndrome. There is no room in Narcissism Week to explore that curiosity, but I think it may be more than a curiosity…
Narcissistic people are always dangerous. They are destroyers – destroyers of reality. Thatcher was a destroyer, Hitler was a destroyer, Napoleon was a destroyer, Stalin was a destroyer, Mao was a destroyer. Donald Trump, given the opportunity, will be the same. Unfortunately the patriarchal mode of society encourages such people to strive for, use and abuse controlling power through hierarchies. For as long as we retain this archaic, narcissistic, inhumane mode of power wielding we will be vulnerable to madmen taking control and using it to try to alter reality to fit their idiotic fantasies.
Alas, a humane utopia seems a very long way away.