The 1920’s was an extraordinary period for Germans. It was a period of extreme economic hardship, occasioned, not by a sharp drop in oil prices as is the case with Nigeria, but as a comeuppance of the First World War. Just smarting from the loss of the war, one could imagine the exasperation of the average German, at once devastated by the tell-tale negative psychology of defeat and widespread hunger and despondency.
In this situation, Germans desperately needed someone who could give them even a whiff of hope. Then, one young man of lowly rank in the army who had built up an arsenal of achievements during the war, with an extremely persuasive gift of the garb arose. Unlike the high ranking officers who were pummeled by blames for losing the war, he worked himself into public reckoning and was soon viewed as a war hero.
Adolf Hitler never started his campaigns on internet, which, anyway was not available at that time. He went to the beer parlours and dazzled lowly citizens, drunk to stupor by economic hopelessness. Every German was looking for answers. As he moved from one ghetto to another to propagate what the Germans wanted to hear at that time, he got a standing ovation at every joint.
Then, a famous German playwright, Dietrich Eckhart, a member of an occult group who believed in the coming of a German Messiah, heard his speech in one of the joints. He needed no more to be said to be convinced that Hitler was the one. He brought Hitler the needed connections, and convinced the wealthy to put down their money on Hitler’s “Messianic mission”. One thing led to another, until Hitler, who was never taken seriously by the German intelligentsia was regurgitated by fortuitous circumstances as the German Chancellor.
With his legendary communication skills, he controlled the minds and psyche of the Germans. He also controlled maximum power, but had an obtuse and absolute disregard for human life. He single handedly played mankind into the Second World War which his actions and megalomaniac tendencies instigated. By the time his exploits came full circle, the world had lost some 60 million souls in that war across the globe from gun fire, accidents and disease. This number included 6 million Jews who were sequestrated in gas chambers, human experimentation by medical personnel (yes, medical personnel) and all manner of weird methods. Now, a second story.
The Peoples Temple was formed in the 1950’s at Indianapolis as a small religious commune. By the 1970’s it had grown tremendously both in popularity and size under the leadership of Reverend Jim Jones. It later opened shop in a small town called Jonestown in Guyana. Like in all such artificial religious settlements, stories of human rights abuses, rape, sexual pervasion and all sorts of religious orgies, perpetrated by the leadership in the settlement began to make the rounds. An American congressman, Leo Ryan went on an oversight investigation to report to congress. He was ordered shot by Rev. Jim Jones, alongside four other Temple members who decided to travel back to America with him from the settlement. On 18th November, 1978, Jim Jones ordered a total of 918 people in the commune to drink a drum full of a liquid substance laced with cyanide. In what has remained a classical study in mass hypnotism to date, nearly 1000 people lay dead. The hapless Jim Jones, like Hitler, shot himself in the head.
What you may ask, do all these stories have to do with the November American elections?
Nobody gave Donald Trump, now one of the leading presidential candidates, even a remote chance of winning the presidential nomination in Americas Grand Old Party, the Republican Party. Trump, like Adolf Hitler, shocked pundits, and emerged as a leading candidate despite all sane calculations. Today, the old man not only trails behind Hilary Clinton of the Democratic Party, but at times is said to run too close for comfort in many a poll against the equally old woman.
There is nothing particularly fantastic about two candidates running neck to neck in an American pool. What interests me in particular as a doctor, and should be of interest to the whole world is that the mental state of one of the candidates, Donald Trump of the Republican Party has come under serious question.
A professor of psychology in Harvard university, Howard Gardener is reported to have said that Donald Trump is a “Text book Narcissist”. According to Mayo clinic, a narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.
Again, there is nothing unusual about a human being having a personality disorder. Indeed, anywhere between 6-18% of the population usually has one psychiatric abnormality or the other. So, why are we worried that Donald Trump has been authoritatively said to be suffering from narcissism?
For the same reason we are aghast that Adolf Hitler could literally order the execution of 6 million Jews, and Rev. Jim Jones could order a US congressman shot, as well as personally supervise the administration of cyanide to nearly 1000 innocent souls. For the same reason too, that we all cringe when we remember the atrocities of Alhaji Field Marshall Doctor, Professor, President for life Idi Amin Dada of Uganda.
The mental stability of these men, and many more like them, were suspect. But somehow, they slipped into leadership positions in their different societies and took their bites, leaving the rest of the world to write their ugly history.
It is a tragedy of gargantuan proportion and a shame that while the world was busy preaching character, competence, charisma, eloquence vision and all such stupidities, as the prerequisites for good leadership, no one took notice that some of these men who posed as charismatic leaders were regular visitors to psychiatric clinics. The result of such negligence was there for all to see.
In the case of Donald Trump, now dancing towards the American presidency, who will America blame for the predictable outcome of giving such a sensitive office to a man who is obviously waiting for the right stimulus to tip him over into full blown psychosis? Who? Will Americans say there was no one like Howard Gardener to warn them that Trump is suffering from Narcissism?
America prides itself as a country of free choices. We need to warn, however that in making its choice this time, it is not only American destiny but that of the whole world that is at stake. To give the most powerful office in the world to a man with borderline psychosis is more dangerous than shoving a schizophrenic into the cockpit of a fully loaded Boeing 747 Jetliner, and allowing him to take off. For, while a few hundreds of human beings are sure to perish when this plane crashes, there may be no human beings left on earth to remember that the American voters gave its nuclear code to a demented president.
But in all this, one thing is clear. American voters, unlike the Germans in the case of Adolf Hitler, have the full benefits of a clear and unambiguous warning from one of their best psychologists, Howard Gardener. We do not therefore expect them to use the whole world as a laboratory to establish the veracity of the dictum of their 33rd President, Abraham Lincoln who said that “if you want to know the true nature of a human being, give him power”.
But in all this however, I am confident that the world need not fear, for in the game of power, only the ultimate dispenser holds the Trump card, and that is God!