Following the events in Libya these days it is easy to become confused about the logical process if I forget that the leader of the country, Col. Al Qaddafi, is a megalomaniac. That may sound like a negative, judgmental thing to say about someone, especially a head of state. But it is less a personal comment than it is a psychiatric evaluation.
Megalomania is a recognized psychiatric diagnosis which is easily detected. It has to do with a person’s view of (himself) as being a “great person,” with outstanding qualities unable to be matched by anyone else. If someone were to say that about another being, it would be one thing; but when a person describes (himself) in that way it becomes recognizable symptoms capable of being diagnosed. It is not I who has decided that the unpredictable Colonel has psychiatric issues. Recognized doctors across the globe have made that diagnosis.
In the recent uprisings in Libya there have been several “statements” made by Col. Al Qaddafi which are rambling and confusing. One speech of 73 minutes left the press and others listening shaking their heads trying to figure out what it was that the Dictator of Libya was trying to say. It is not an isolated incident; it is the norm.
I remember the first time I heard the word megalomaniac used. It was a revered friend and educator speaking about a colleague who was also highly-educated and respected in his field. “However”, said my friend, “he is an out-of-control-megalomaniac.” In no way did that statement diminish my friend’s respect for the work the colleague had done. It was just a non-judgmental statement about the personality and behavior of his colleague. I knew immediately what the word meant. I was a witness to the bizarre commentary which came from the person on a regular basis. It was embarrassing. My friend discussed how difficult it was to work with this person, even though he was sought-after regularly for knowledge of his field.
I don’t know about the intelligence or quality of the Colonel’s “work,” although what he demonstrates falls into the categories of mayhem, murder, theft and similar types of horrendous behavior. To be “good” at those things is not something I would call a credential.
One of the comments we heard about the President of Egypt during his last days in the presidency was that “he didn’t get it” when he was presented with details concerning opposition to his reign. His age, his lack of understanding of contemporary media, and his belief that he had “the right” to be the dictator of Egypt were all signs of his “not getting it.”
Similar things can be said about Al Qaddafi. He is flailing in front of the people of Libya and the world. His erratic behavior and defensive responses through the military who are committed to him show signs of deterioration. Some would say that those signs have been visible for a long time.
It would seem that it is only a matter of time before Al Qaddafi’s reign as dictator topples. His words of the last couple of days lead us to believe that he sees that happening in a military encounter with those who oppose him. If, however, there is a sizable defection from his military, he may find himself isolated and his demise may be of another kind. It appears that he has already begun to ship members of his family from Libya. One can only hope that he finds himself on one of those planes before a tragic end takes place. I am not one who espouses violent endings.
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