George Sarant

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Posts Tagged ‘ego

A POSTURING POMPOUS ASS

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Michael Bloomberg is a little man with a very big ego and a penchant for plastering his name all over anything he gets ahold of; so for example, the venerable Business Week becomes Bloomberg Business Week. He overturned term limits to get a third term as Mayor of New York City, because, well, he’s special and shouldn’t be bound by rules meant for lesser men. The problem is, like most egomaniacs, he is nowhere near as consequential as he thinks he is, and his pontifications do not carry the weight of infallibility.

Witness his unbelievably stupid and inconsiderate decision to proceed with the New York City Marathon, thereby diverting resources from places like Staten Island, which are in desperate need of things like the generators set aside for the marathon, or the police, or for that matter, the basic necessities of life. It never would occur to him how callous his decision was, because in his mind these places are backwaters, outside of the media bubble he lives in. His notion of the city is a media construction, not the reality on the ground. Early on he raised property taxes by nearly 20%, and when the little people complained he basically said that living in New York carries a premium and you just have to pay more for the privilege of living here.

It’s not that he’s been a bad mayor. Indeed one could even argue that he’s even been a relatively good one, but he certainly is not a great one.  He did find time to weigh in on the presidential election, citing global warming as a major factor in his decision. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone saying anything about climate in this election cycle. He further pronounced that the storm that hit the region was due to such climate change, just like green entrepreneur Al Gore; never mind that there is not a shred of scientific evidence to support that assertion. This is not to deny climate change, but rather the claim that this storm was attributable to it, when every meteorologist says otherwise. But the facts don’t matter. Bloomberg has spoken.

But he is not as exceptional as he thinks he is.  This is a city full of other people with the same attitude- that their wealth is proof they possess some special grace. But they confuse an ability to make a lot of money with an inherent mastery of every other subject, and assume their pronouncements are rooted in a knowledge that they do not in fact possess. Many people do not perceive themselves as others see them, but the greater the disparity, the more they play the fool. But this is usually lost on them because they surround themselves with people who confirm their self-image. A man like Bloomberg is too full of himself to perceive his limitations, and the more conceit he brings to his pronouncements, the more he appears like an emperor with no clothes.

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Written by georgesarant

November 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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EGOMANIA AND POWER

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Today’s New York Times, of all places, contains an article about President Obama’s unbridled ego, his hypercompetitiveness, his high opinion of himself, and his need to dominate, even in relatively trivial pursuits. However, “he tends to overestimate his capabilities,” to put it mildly. For a long time I have felt that egomania is one of the most significant negative features of our time, an idea that will be developed in detail subsequently.

 Everything kids are taught and fed today is designed to build and reinforce “self-esteem.”  As a result, we have a population that views itself as the center of the universe, has a sense of entitlement, and often engages in obnoxious behavior as a result. Everything revives around “me,” and “I” is a term you read and hear ad nauseum. The world is viewed entirely through the prism of the self, so that everything is perceived in terms of how it affects or relates to that individual, which determines its place in the hierarchy of values. Everything is perceived in terms of how it relates to “me.” So, for example, in the case of an actor who was informed of the death of a friend, his only reaction was to say that he wasn’t feeling so good either, going on to describe a slight pain he had. But if everyone, or at least many people, go around thinking “I am special,” we wind up with things like aggressive driving and road rage when they are not given their proper due behind the wheel.

But the more severe the pathology, the more one is likely to fall off a cliff at some point, as limitations become unavoidable, and it becomes clear that one is not so special after all. When this recognition is achieved, it essentIally determines how mature a person is, and the best characters learn it sooner rather than later. But a few people go through life never having to deal with a larger reality, as everything they encounter seems to reinforce their special status and confirm their self-perception. It never registers that their situation has come about largely due to luck and they continue to perceive themselves as possessed with some special grace. The result is the kind of megalomania we see with stars and their entourages, or Presidents with their worshipful aides.
However, under such conditions contradictory information tends to get filtered out, reinforcing a sense of invincibility increasingly divorced from reality. That appears to be what is happening in the White House today, with a President who believes he is always right, the best at everything, and inherently great. He was anointed with a Nobel Prize before he even did anything. He was chosen as “the One” by millions around the world. He was validated by a fawning media, which only confirmed the inevitability of his rise. Thus it is unsurprising that he has an overabundance of confidence.
There are, however, “facts on the ground.” He is often described as “eloquent,” which only indicates how far our standards of rhetorical quality have fallen. For he is a mediocre man in a time of mediocrity. His idea of the Presidency is all appearance and ceremony rather than substance, so, for example, he left it to the congress to fashion his unpopular health plan, while he has spent his time almost continuously campaigning with agreeable crowds. When there is such a dynamic in Hollywood it is frivolous, but when coupled with real power in government it is frightening.
Due to the fact that his eminence is constantly reinforced, anything that stands in the way is heretical. Thus, his greatness should not be limited by inconvenient nuisance things like the the Supreme Court and congress, or an obsolete document like the constitution. Given this, we may be headed for catastrophe if he wins the election- not because he would be President again, but because he would feel vindicated to the point where he would feel entitled to rule by decree. He would issue proclamations and presidential orders contravening the other branches of government and possibly precipitate a constitutional crisis, resulting in impeachment proceedings. Then while our government is self-destructing the world would spin out of control; all because we have a man who is not as great as he thinks he is, but there is no one who can convince him of that fact. That is the truth of our situation today, which can only be rectified, perhaps, by the electorate.

 

Written by georgesarant

September 5, 2012 at 12:08 AM