Thursday, May 3, 2012

Insecurity: The Unifying Theory of Humanity?...Part II

I've written previously about how I theorize that insecurity drives human behaviour. When you look around society, much of the behaviours you observe are largely driven by a need that people have to be percieved as important, or to add some value to their lives. At the most basic level, one can look at a young man driving a muscle car and ponder what he is compensating for. (Indeed, Pontiac Trans Ams and Chevy Camaros used to be called "penis extenders" in honour of this theory). You can go into many gyms or fitness centres and watch young people spend hours and hours of their lives trying to get just a bit "better looking". Young men and women who don't realize that they already have virtually flawless bodies will spend hours of time trying to get even thinner or even more muscular. It is an absurd phenomenon, but it is easy to comprehend when you understand that those young people are deeply insecure about themselves and their actions are largely driven by their insecurity about how people percieve them.

Observing and understanding the obsessive behaviour of gym rats or muscle car enthusiasts is one thing, but what about world leaders? Do you look at Barack Obama, David Cameron, or Stephen Harper and think much the same thing? Likely not. You may even be tempted to look at a man like Barack Obama and admire his incredible self-confidence. He might seem like a fulfilled man who is on a mission in life to make the world a better place. But is he?

I think that many politicians go into politics because they want to make a the world a better place. Or, to be more accurate, they go into politics because they think they want to make the world a better place. There is an important distinction. Many politiicans go into politics because they genuinly think they want to make a difference and they think they have some ideas about how to make the world a better place, but the actual driving force for them to act out on those ideas is insecurity. Deep, deep inside, most people want to feel good about themselves because they are deeply insecure about how they are perceived. If Barack Obama was completely secure and confident in who he is, why would he be motivated, at the most raw of human motivations, to get up and give speech after speech about how the world should be? He wouldn't. He's simply go on with his life, trying to make a difference, but needing no recognition for his contribution to this world. No, most politicians need that public recognition that they are doing the right thing.

Now most politicians may not be inherently evil people who want to go off to war and kill thousands of people. But what happens when almost everyone who goes into politics does so because they are deeply insecure about themselves? You have a pool of people, from whom the leaders emerge, all of whom have this deep insecurity about themselves. The most insecure ones are the most driven for acceptance and recognition by the world and therefore are the most likely to end up as the leaders of parties or of countries. As a result, the prime ministers and presidents of this world are mostly deeply insecure men in dire need of penis extension. Narcisists and megalomaniacs, who suddenly have access to billions of dollars and lots of military equipment, and faced with crisis after crisis around the world. Married to this insecurity is the genuine belief that they can make the world a better place, so off they go to do so, even if the path to a better world is very bloody. George W. Bush is the classic example of what I'm talking about here. One doesn't have to be a psychologist to undersand the deep insecuriteis that Bush Jr. suffered from. One can see his longing for paternal approval and recognition. And the whole world witnessed and suffered the results.

So who is the opposite of this model of political leader? Perhaps the Dalai Lama. Though I am an atheist and I think many of the Dalai Lama's beliefs are preposterous and baseless, you have to admire his peaceful approach to life that seems to be rooted in a very secure feeling about himself. He doesn't strike you as the kind of bloke who, if given the nuclear codes and the keys to all the military might in the world, would go on a mission to liberate Tibet by force. I don't get the feeling that the Dalai Lama has a deep seeded need for societal and historical recognition.

I'm not finished with this post but, after letting it sit for a couple of days, I have nothing further to add at this point. So, I'll leave Part II here and come back to my theory in the future. 

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