By Louis Kakoutis


In every society, the judgement, indeed the sanity of anybody who challenges the status quo is fiercely questioned by authorities who refuse to recognize their inadequacy because they pretend they are infallible.

This condition, which is known as "megalomania" in psychology textbooks, is probably behind every single war which has ever been fought. On the personal as well as the societal level, the deleterious consequences of megalomania are very clear because those who refuse to recognize and acknowledge error are ultimately responsible for repeating error.

Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem. For no good reason, the term "megalomania" has been replaced by "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" and it first appeared as a mental health diagnosis in the DSM III-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) in 1980.

Whether it is called 'Megalomania' or 'Narcissistic personality Disorder' the fact is that those who suffer from this "mental illness" should not be allowed to exercise any authority over others because these hopelessly incompetent tyrants:

A/ Feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerate accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

B/ Are obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

C/ Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

D/ Require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation � or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);

E/ Feel entitled. Demand automatic and full compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

F/ Are "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve their own ends;

G/ Are devoid of empathy. Are unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

H/ Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of their frustration. Suffer from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as they believe others feel the same about them and are likely to act similarly;

I/ Behave arrogantly and haughtily. Feel superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people they consider to be inferior to them and unworthy.

Megalomaniacs should not occupy positions of authority because, in a democracy, the rule of law is established, not by those who think they are above it, but by those who are committed to serve it. As long as we are unwilling or unable to do justice, we all suffer.

Next: A fascinating read by Nietzsche.