I read today that Elon Musk's tendency to steamroll others could have resulted in the needless deaths of thousands of test animals at Neuralink. I am somewhat of a fangirl, I must admit. After all, I went through the trouble of getting a vanity license for my C7 Corvette that reads "MRSELON". (I know, I couldn't be more of a dork.) For me, it is the myth of Elon that is more important than the actual human being himself. The tech world and all the techie-wannabes (myself included), mythologize Elon into a sort of real life Iron Man.
This lead me to contemplate the tendency of the public to glorify leaders of industry without taking into account the humanness and complexities of the person. Without taking into account that someone like Elon hardly lives up to his own outsize persona to a point that he may even be, dare I say it, a shitty human being. Rare is it that one should chance upon someone who is "all good", or "all bad." In my humble opinion, most people actually kinda suck.
It is not appropriate or fair to make sweeping generalizations about an individual's personality based solely on their public persona or professional accomplishments. Personality is a complex and multifaceted aspect of an individual, and it is impossible to accurately assess someone's personality without having a direct, personal relationship with them. It is important to remember that everyone has both positive and negative traits, and it is not productive or kind to focus solely on the negative.
With that said, there are certainly some personality traits that have been attributed to Elon Musk that could be considered dangerous in certain contexts. Paying close attention, one can see that he displays a cluster of character traits which other famous leaders of the past have shared. Some of these leaders have been painted as "good" and benevolent in the history books, others as evil. For example, some have suggested that Musk is extremely intelligent and ambitious, which can sometimes manifest as a willingness to take risks that others may consider reckless. He has been known to make bold, sometimes controversial statements and decisions, which can generate significant attention and backlash.
Additionally, Musk has been described as a demanding and intense individual who expects a high level of dedication and hard work from those around him. This can be motivating for some, but it can also create a high-pressure environment that can be difficult for some individuals to handle. In extreme cases, this type of personality trait can lead to burnout or other negative outcomes.
Another potential danger associated with Musk's personality is his tendency to become highly engaged and focused on a particular goal or project. While this can be a positive trait in terms of driving innovation and progress, it can also lead to an obsessive or tunnel-vision mindset that can cause individuals to overlook potential risks or negative consequences. In some cases, this type of focus can even lead to unethical or illegal behavior such as what may have gone on in relation to the recent Neuralink news.
All of this lead me to see that Musk may have tendencies towards megalomania. Such a unique personality is a double-edged sword. I can say I am very familiar with it, because I sometimes catch myself verging. Thank God I (think) I have just enough Jewish guilt to not ever think I actually AM God. Musk, on the other hand, has had so much monetary success at this point that he may no longer have a full grasp on reality.
Megalomania is a psychological condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and a need for excessive admiration. Individuals with this condition often have grandiose ideas and beliefs about their own power, intelligence, and importance, and they may have a strong desire for control and domination over others. Some of the typical traits of megalomaniacs include:
An excessive need for admiration and attention
A belief that they are superior to others
A lack of empathy or concern for the feelings of others
A desire to control and dominate others
An inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement
A tendency to exaggerate their achievements and abilities
A refusal to accept criticism or feedback
A tendency to manipulate or exploit others to achieve their goals
A lack of remorse or guilt for their actions
These traits can manifest in different ways and may vary from person to person, but they are generally considered to be characteristic of individuals with megalomania, and they come in clusters. With that, it's important for all of us (especially me), to remember that Musk and other industry "heroes" at his financial level are just regular people at the end of the day, and that some of their achievements might just be the result of circumstance and a quirk in personality. A quirk which may not always be so great.
*(It is important to note that megalomania is a psychological condition and should not be used as a label to describe someone's behavior or personality without proper evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional.)