Gurus, Geniuses, Mystics: Madmen and Con-artists

Uploaded 5/17/2020, approx. 19 minute read

This is my second long video of the day, so I look a bit unkempt, disheveled and bedraggled.

But my faithful Minnie to the rescue with her inimitable coffee. And now I'm going to cause Minnie a narcissistic injury by putting her aside and instead reverting to Herve Clackley.

Herve Clackley was a practicing psychiatrist, and in 1942 he had written a groundbreaking book, the best book ever to have been written about psychopaths. Still to this very day, in my view.

Today's topic is geniuses, gurus and other madmen.

And I want to start with an extensive quote from Clackley's, it's a mirror image, from Clackley's The Mask of Sanity.

This is the fifth edition, 1968. There's a chapter there called the erratic men of genius.

Clackley says, the concept of genius as a type of madness is particularly associated with Lombroso, Cesare Lombroso, who in 1888, with the men of genius, advanced his familiar hypothesis that genius is a degenerative psychosis, a sort of moral insanity, which may at times take the form of other mental disorders, but which preserves certain distinguishing characteristics.

He should have asked me.

Another chap by the name of Grasit, following a similar line of thought, gives some striking examples.

Tolstoy of war and peace fame is said to have lashed himself with robes and to have fallen a considerable distance while attempting to fly.

Yes, you heard correctly, to fly, before he became preoccupied with wondering whether to abandon civilization for a primitive life in the desert.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's many false starts as medical student, clockmaker, theologian, painter, servant, musician, and botanist are noted, as well as his curious letter, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's curious letter addressed to God Almighty, which he placed under the altar of Notre-Dame.

I wonder what the postage might have been.

Rousseau's expressed repentance toward the normal sex act is also noted.

Schopenhauer's peculiarities, long famous, are reviewed by Grasit. His abnormal attitude of aesthetic distaste toward women, his morbid suspiciousness, which led him to write even trivial notes in dead languages, and his occasional assaults on unsuspecting bystanders, who he fancied were talking about him, all suggest a deep-seated maladjustment.

No kidding.

Unusual and apparently irrational behavior has indeed been so commonly reported in the lives of those acclaimed.

Those great artists and thinkers, all of them had these unusual behaviors, that there is a popular tendency to regard it as the rule rather than as the exception.

Vincent van Gogh's career is a familiar example. He is justly celebrated, exploited in cutting off his own ear and sending it to a prostitute of all, is one of many.

Richard Wagner, according to some of his biographers, manifested an utter disregard for the feelings and rights of others, a petty vanity and sometimes a callousness almost worthy of the psychopath.

No doubt has indeed said that Wagner is accused of having a greater degree of degeneracy than all the other degenerates heretofore put together.

Of course, until I came on the scene.

Jonathan Swift in his poem The Lady's Dressing Room, by the way, I read the poem, This is One Sick Piece of Work. It's available online.

Jonathan Swift in his poem The Lady's Dressing Room and in other writings manifests an attitude, says Clackley, so basically distorted that it is difficult to not believe that he was a very ill man, psychiatrically speaking.

In an interesting discussion of life-rejecting attitudes and their relation to obsessive disorder, Strauss makes clear something that is probably not only pertinent to the syndrome but also to other psychiatric conditions.

The basic emotional judgement expressed by Swift might, if it were an unconscious stratum in the psychopath, play an important part in his clinical manifestation.

In other words, what he's trying to say is that had we not known better, we would have thought that Swift is psychopath.

The life of this learned, conscientious and brilliant man does not, however, show behavioural features that would in any way suggest he's being classed in our group.

Nor do the other celebrated figures mentioned above, despite these reports of eccentricity and of various psychiatric manifestations.

Of course, there has been some progress since then and now we have two types of psychopaths, primary psychopath and the secondary psychopath, and these gentlemen, Tolstoy, Van Gogh, Ulysses, Swift and others, they fit perfectly into the secondary psychopath type.

The secondary psychopath type together with borderline personality disorder and covert narcissism, togetherthey constitute the vulnerable, dark triad.

I'm going to make a separate video about the dark triad, the dark tetrad and so forth and I will deal with this issue.

But today's topic is not this, it's about geniuses and so on.

Yesterday I watched a cliche spewing, self-styled, mystic yogi guru. It was a grandiose, half-educated Hindu Indian and he informed a professor of medicine in the Ivy League Yale University who was sitting next to him that the West knows nothing about the human body.

And what did the sage professor do? He nodded his enthusiastic assent as he nearly kissed the hand of this derisible, this fake.

It is a common sight. Westerners seeking wisdom and enlightenment in the East from men, never women, by the way, many of whom are cunning, self-enriching con artists.

This mindless obsequiousness, this submission disregards the fact that Eastern so-called philosophies are largely a hodgepodge of incomprehensible rank nonsense and that the only visible outcomes of the alleged perspicacity and sagacity of these Indian yogis are the dirt-poor, disease-infested, trash-haped heaps that pass for cities and homes in the East.

I'm not impressed.

Asians are right to have chosen Western values and knowledge. They are right to have emulated the West over anything their home-grown so-called spiritual scammers had to offer.

And this Indian was no exception.

Another pearl of wisdom coming out of his idiotic mouth was that the left breast provided a different kind of milk to the right breast during breastfeeding.

Gynecologists and obstetricians in the public did not dare to confront him and to call out his utterly moronic statement.

The West, mind you, sports its own crop of psychopathic narcissists who purvey inane messages to the desperate, ignorant, gullible, paranoid and utterly disoriented masses.

Apparently, there's a giant lurking waiting to be awakened in each and every one of us.

A very good way of describing delusional grandiosity.

We can accomplish anything we put our mind to and we can attract good fortune, in other words money and beautiful girls, if we only want it really, really, really bad.

And that's of course infantile magical thinking.

The world is a lot more sinister than it seems for secretary ideation transformed into conspiracy theories.

In the meantime, the callous fraudsters, con artists and scammers, Indian mystics, life coaches in the West, these people who brainwash millions of idiots and wannabes with promises of instant success or occult info.

They are laughing all the way to the bank.

Their messages, if I made it, I mean look at me, if I made it, so can you.

And you know what? I will tell you all you need to know about it. Of course, for a minor $50,000.

Increasingly more grandiose, people are injured and humiliated and they're injured and humiliated by and they shun truly intelligent people.

True experts, knowledgeable and insightful. In the presence of real wisdom and real knowledge and real intelligence today, people feel bad. They feel humiliated. They feel competitive. They are envious. And so they opt for a such fake God.

It is not surprising that the latter, the Western trickster coaches, Western conspiracy theories, it's not surprising that they often quote the former, the Indian phonies.

They are specimen of the same family of lethal intellectual viruses in human form.

There is a tsunami of mental health disorders heading our way. And these people are not helping. It is projected to affect at least half the population in old age groups.

But there are two additional ways inexorably coursing to our already dilapidated chores, irrationality and grandiosity.

In an attempt to make sense of a capricious and life-threatening universe, people resort to inane conspiracy theories, to fairy tale or fire and brimstone religions, or to demented or ignorant teachings of con artiste self-styled philosophers, public intellectuals and life coaches, half-educated gurus, psychopathic leaders and other savory characters in this zoo.

At the same time, grandiosity had become the norm. Hyper-vigilance thrives and even the most innocuous comments and actions are interpreted as humiliating insults and sadistic criticism. Aggression is cresting as is a rigid resistance to learning.

We know everything. What is there to learn? My truth is as good as your truth. My facts are as good as your facts.

The pandemic rendered everyone self-sufficient and by extension godlike.

Protheosis follows atomized epiphany.

These are not passing facts, unfortunately. They are structural transformations.

They are the shape of things to come.

In a way, I'm glad I'm 59 years old and not 40 years younger. I wouldn't want to stick around much longer in the inferno that will follow this meltdown of civilization.

But this always is a private case of how we react to the prodigy, the precocious genius.

And these kind of people from a very early age, they notice their differentness, their specialness, their uniqueness. So they feel entitled to special treatment, but they rarely get it.

And this frustrates the prodigy and renders him even more aggressive, driven, and overachieving than he is by nature.

As my favorite Karen Bourne, I pointed out, the child prodigy is dehumanized and instrumentalized.

Alice Miller wrote a whole book about it.

The prodigy's parents love him not for what he really is, but for what they wished and imagined him to be.

They worship their imagination, the idealization of the child, not the child. He is the fulfillment of their dreams and frustrated wishes.

The child becomes an instrument. The vessel of his parents' discontented lives, a tool, the magic brush with which they can transform their failures into successes, their humiliation into victory, their frustrations into happiness, and their mediocre lives into a Disneyland fantasy.

The child is taught to ignore reality and to occupy the parental, fantastic space.

And such an unfortunate child feels omnipotent and omniscient, perfect and brilliant, worthy of adoration and entitled to special treatment.

The faculties that are that are honed by constantly brushing against bruising reality, faculties such as compassion, empathy, a realistic assessment of one's abilities and limitations, realistic expectations of oneself and of others, personal boundaries, teamwork, social skills, perseverance, goal orientation, not to mention the ability to postpone gratification and to work hard to achieve it.

All these faculties are now lacking or missing altogether.

There used to be a case that only, I don't know, 0.1% of the population were prodigies, and so we were tolerant of them. We suffered them, we tolerated them.

But today, 99.9% of the population behave as though they are prodigies. So what if I can't solve a quadratic equation? I wash the dishes in my own way. That makes me creative and an amazing genius.

We are all grandiose narcissists nowadays. We all have a claim to fame. We all want our 15 minutes of celebrity.

So the child turned adult sees no reason to invest in his skills and education, convinced that his inherent genius should suffice.

And this is the message of all these life coaches. It's a magical transformation.

All you have to do is set your mind to it. And within days, or if you're very slow, weeks, you're going to make it big.

The child prodigy feels entitled for merely being rather than for actually doing. It's the same way like the nobility or aristocracy in days gone by felt entitled not by virtue of what they had done, not by virtue of merit, but as the inevitable foreordained outcome of a birthright.

In other words, in today's world, it's enough to be born. You are special by virtue of exiting the right anatomical utility channel.

Prodigy is never meritocratic, ironically, but he's a aristocratic.

A narcissist is born in every prodigy.

And when all of us are prodigies, because we are taught so in the education system in the United States and in many other countries by now, teachers are telling children, you are unique, you are special. If you only put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. You can be anything you want. You are limitless. You have no limitations, no shortcomings.

This is a highly grandiose and unrealistic message which sets these children up for failure.

Ultimately, when they are confronted with much less forgiving, much less fantastic version of life, they're going to give up. That's what the majority of people are doing nowadays.

They've given up.

Not all precautious prodigies end up under-accomplished and petulant. Many of them go on to attain great stature in their communities and great standing in their professions.

But even then, the gap between the kind of treatment they believe that they deserve, the one they are getting, is unbridgeable.

And everything I'm saying about prodigies apply to each and every one of you because you all think you're prodigies.

This is because narcissistic prodigies often misjudge the extent and importance of their accomplishments. And as a result, erroneously consider themselves to be indispensable, to be worthy of special rights, perks, privileges, to have made amazing contributions.

Everyone in his Facebook page, everyone in his Instagram account, you are creating art. Your life had become a work of art. I am eating a cookie, 2000 likes. And when you find out otherwise you're devastated, you're furious. You're furious.

And that's why social media has skyrocketed the rates of depression and anxiety because of relative positioning, the constant comparison, the inherent competitiveness.

And the fact, and it's a fact, don't listen to the scam artists and con artists that pretend to be life coaches, philosophers, public intellectuals, and Indian mystical gurus. They are out for your money. They are ignorant, half educated, and inordinately stupid usually.

Because here's the fact, you are not special. You are not unique. And the vast majority of you will do nothing else in life except maybe, if you're lucky, bring children to the world and miseducate them.

You statistically, the vast majority of you will end up failures. Failure is the normal state of things, not success. People are envious of the prodigy, prodigy because of this.

Virginia serves as a constant reminder to others of their mediocrity, lack of creativity, mundane existence. And naturally they try to bring him down to their level to cut him down to size.

The gifted person's haughtiness and high-handedness only exacerbate his strained relationships.

But even if he's the most mortal and humble person to have ever inhabited the earth, he's going to provoke envy by his sheer existence, by his mere presence, and people will be out to get him.

In a way, merely by existing, the prodigy inflicts constant and repeated narcissistic injuries and sometimes mortification on the less endowed and the pedestrian.

And this creates a vicious cycle. People try to hurt and harm the over-winning and arrogant genius, and he becomes defensive, aggressive, and aloof, and even more arrogant.

And this renders him even more obnoxious than before, and others resent him more deeply and more thoroughly. Hurt and wounded, the genius retreats into fantasies of grandeur and revenge, and the cycle recommits us.

Now imagine when 99% of you are doing exactly this, when this cycle had become actually universal and the dominant mode of human relationships, as it is today.

What's the difference between a genius and a fraud? How can I say that some people are con artists and scammers and so on, and others are geniuses?

Prone to shortcuts and shallowness, the narcissist always feels like a fraud, even when his accomplishments are commensurate with his grandiose fantasies.

In some cases, narcissists are right to be grandiose.

But this all-pervasive conviction, the imposter syndrome, the feeling that you're an imposter, that you're a fraud, this all-pervasive conviction, fake it till you make it, it serves several paradoxical psychodynamic functions.

If when a narcissist believes that he's a fraud, it supports his sense of omnipotent superiority.


Look at me, I'm a fraud and I'm still able to deceive everyone into believing my tall tales. I'm so talented at being a fraud. I'm so successful at deceiving everyone that it must mean that I'm superior, must mean that I'm omnipotent, must mean that I'm a very special person.

I don't defraud in a way that is immediately exposed and I'm not mocked or shamed or ridiculed or punished. I pulled the wool over people's eyes and I pulled my, I mean, I'm successful with my scams.

So his belief that he's a fraudster actually contributes to his grandiosity and he justifies his profound belief that everyone like him is just pretending to knowledge and to skills that they do not possess. Otherwise, they would have spotted and exposed him long ago.

I mean, think about it. If I'm a fraud and you don't spot me, you don't realize I'm a fraud, when you're a fraud as well, because had you been genuine and authentic, had you known what you're talking about, you would have immediately seen that I don't know what I'm talking about, that I'm, you know, putting a fast one on you.

But if you don't, then you're like me. It gives an utter sister license to indulge his intellectual laziness and his emotional absence. He gets by without investing too much.

So why bother? And it constantly generates the adrenaline rush that he's so addicted to.

This is always a tantalizing fear being outed, being exposed as the con artist that he truly is. And I firmly believe that this is a major driving force in all the psychopaths, all the psychopaths that all of you are taking as gurus today, all the people who are followed by millions.

Oh, I can think maybe of one, etc. I believe they are getting an adrenaline rush from how stupid you are to follow them.

I've been asked how do you define Forbes, I gave an interview to Forbes magazine. And I've been asked how do you define prodigy, prodigy, wunderkind in German. It's a young, precautious person whose achievements far exceed the accomplishments typically of his peers and age group. So they are rare.

And then Forbes journalist asked me, there seems to be a lot of attention paid to child prodigies.

But what happens when these folks mature? Do many of them mature into adult leaders in their fields? What are the biggest challenges facing child prodigies as they age?

And I also that recent studies seem to indicate that prodigies grow up to become narcissistic underachievers. And then the question was, why is it that most child prodigies fall into fields like math, chess, music, rather than, for example, literature? And I answered that fields like literature require maturity and life experience. Prodigies, no matter how gifted, rarely possess the requisite emotional spectrum and acquaintance with the nuances and subtleties of human relationships, or the accumulated knowledge that comes from first end exposure to the ups and downs, the vicissitudes of reality.

In contrast, the manipulation of symbols, mathematics, music, chess, does not require anything except the proper neurological hardware and software and access to widely available objective knowledge. In a way, prodigies can be compared to computers, both excel in simple manipulation, but they fail to impress in other more fuzzy undertakings.

And remember, everything I'm saying about prodigy is an allegory. It's a metaphor. It's you are a prodigy, because you've been told this repeatedly over the last 20 or 30 years.

Each and every person in today's world believes himself to be outstanding, unique, amazingly creative, the epitome of creation. And so all these dynamics which used to be reserved to precious few are now widespread. They're now the new normal.

And I'm quoting Carl Schmitt, Wotloff, I know of no new program, only that art is forever manifesting itself in new forms, since there are forever new personalities, its essence can never alter. I believe.

Perhaps I'm wrong. But speaking for myself, I know that I have no program, only the unaccountable longing to grasp what I see and feel and to find the purest means of expression for it.

Oh, the naivety, naivet of a lost age. It's people today don't create art because they want to express themselves. They don't even create art because they want to communicate. They create art because they want to impress. And they want to impress because they need others to tell them how special they are, how amazing, how unprecedented, how moving, how unique. Remember how it's called? Narcissistic Supply.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived. We are in an narcissistic psychopathic civilization where knowledge matters less than the appearance of knowledge, where everything is contested, where no authority is respected, not even intellectual or scientific authority, where everyone is equal to everyone else, malignant egalitarianism.

And when everyone is godlike, and if he only puts his mind to it, or she puts her mind to it, they can achieve anything and everything under the sun, billions of dollars, thousands of great sexual partners. They can get laid. They can make money. They can become famous instant celebrities. They can do anything they want. Many of them don't. Many of you don't.

But at least you know that you can.

How do you know that you can?

Because psychopathic, narcissistic gurus, life coaches, mystics, and other scammers told you so. And look at them. If such an inferior sample of humanity can make millions of dollars, can become so famous, and can claim authority, intellectual or spiritual or whatever, then obviously, so can you.

And you know what, coming to think of it? You have a point.

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