In 1837, Hans Christian Andersen published his third book in the series titled, Fairytales Told for Children. It contained, amongst other short stories, The Emperor's New Clothes – a story with which you're no doubt familiar.
Although published long before the science of psychology recognised the emperor's state of mind as perhaps pathological, Andersen had poetically made an account.
In contemporary times we see this condition play out at all levels of society from governments right down to local community and even family level.
The leader is so caught up in their surface-level personality, protecting self at all costs, that they cannot tell truth from their internally created fiction. This fiction, they believe, is absolute in material reality.
Their followers, the bureaucrats (or priests as Erich Fromm called them), based equally in a mode of self-protection, choose to accept the leader's position as all-powerful. Anyone who challenges the leader's views is removed and discredited.
It represents, perhaps, the ultimate failure in leadership.
The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one.Erich Fromm, Psychotherapist
In medical terms, this psychological state is referred to as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and although controversial, it tries to account for an often dangerous state of mind. NPD recognises particular patterns of behaviour of heightened self-importance, inability to admit liability, lack of empathy and a relentless pursuit of admiration.
Now, narcissism gets a bit of a bad rap, because every one of us is narcissistic at some level. Young children, for example, are narcissistic in the best possible way.
However, when we cannot develop along healthy psychological lines, when love, support and stability are absent in youth, the narcissistic tendencies can stay with us.
What got me on this topic today is what's going on on Wall Street. Despite the global crisis, and more pointedly, the exponential crisis is the US, financial markets seem to occupy a different reality.
As the trauma of coronavirus increased over the last week, stocks have been going up. Although, things might change today and later this week when US job numbers come out.
It seems that “the markets” want to believe the bullshit Trump & Co. have been spewing and have little or no regard for the pending medical and social catastrophe. With little accountability built in regarding allocation of funds from the 2 Trillion recovery package, it seems that allaying corporate fears are primary for Trump.
Markets and the survival of corporates appear to matter more than people. And this, from my naive position, seems symptomatic of NPD.
I know many of my readers are based in the US, and I certainly do not wish to offend any of you. But from my position of political neutrality, and taking into account what I have learned about the psychology of human behaviour, it appears to me that your emperor is naked and not many can see it.
Through the development of the global emergency, it has become apparent that Trump is dangerous and grossly incompetent.
I only hope too many people don't die as a result.
Interesting stuff Mr. Maguire, I’ve been reading your articles and I find them very interesting. Keep posting good sir. A fan from South Africa living in the US.