Megalomania and Philosophy
Updated: Nov 18
According to what I've learned, megalomania is a type of delusion of a grandiose sense of self-importance. The megalomaniac may see themselves not only as superior but also as deserving privileges others do not have and anything else that is great that they do not have in reality.
In essence, every megalomaniac is delusional to some extent. Some megalomaniacs may even see themselves as messengers of God (usually the Abrahamic kind) or even as gods themselves and may express their overrated self-love by getting power in society. Some cult leaders, as well as political and military leaders, were and may still be megalomaniacs.
The point of philosophizing is not only to get closer to the truth but also to rid oneself of delusion, as delusion is in fact a lie one or some may tell themselves. Therefore, a good philosopher will not submit to megalomaniac tendencies. Why would he or she choose to live in a lie when the purpose of their role is to not live in one?
It isn't to say that a philosopher will necessarily rid their minds of all delusions; instead, they will seek to purge them as much as they can. How can one rely on a philosopher who lives in delusion?
A competent philosopher will not see themselves as more than they actually are, but unfortunately, the stereotypes tell a different story regarding philosophers, myself included.
These stereotypes claim that philosophers believe that they know everything, that they see themselves as superior, that they pretend to know what they do not, and sometimes that they genuinely believe that they are perfect beings.
These stereotypes are quite getting on my nerves because they appear to portray philosophers as megalomaniacs who see themselves as more than they are in reality. These stereotypes sabotage the role of philosophy in our world and may also delude others in the process, such as some of you, perhaps. It's just an assumption.
I admit that I saw myself as superior around the time I wrote my books, simply because I was more ignorant back then. Communicating with people across the globe and writing this site have taught me some much-needed modesty.
Anyways, one could argue that one of Socrates' better qualities was that he was "human." By "human," I refer to his down-to-earth behavior and genuine desire for a greater understanding of reality. In order to better understand it, he realized how ignorant he was in practice, and that ignorance can lead one to be closer to the truth, as long as one admits it.
Megalomaniacs, on the other hand, at least some of them, may even believe that they have godlike powers, such as omnipotence, or the power to do everything, or omniscience, the power that allows them to know everything.
The point of philosophy is not to reach omniscience but, rather, to admit that you are not omniscient. How can one be omniscient if they philosophize? The point of philosophizing is to attain knowledge through logical reasoning, and that's exactly what I do whenever I write: I am learning together with you, the readers.
A successful philosopher, or one who has managed to acquire a lot of insight, isn't necessarily a megalomaniac for that reason alone. Yes, a megalomaniac philosopher isn't exactly an oxymoron, as they aren't necessarily polar opposites, but a worker in this field who is genuine about the truth will at least try to stay clear of as much delusion as he or she may detect.
They will strive instead for realism, because the whole point of realism is to see reality in a logical, proportionate way. Hence, I also try to be a realist rather than an idealist.
In psychology, megalomania is considered a mental disorder, which indicates that it can be diagnosed and/or treated. I do not know if people who do not have this disorder can have symptoms of megalomania in their thoughts and behaviors.
After all, as my own psychologist says, we are more than labels, and thus, we may possess several traits associated with different labels. Also, it's possible for one to have several mental disorders. Feel free to search for this information yourself. I do not like fabricating things, like A.I. programs may fabricate "information".
What I would generally deem an oxymoron, or a term that contradicts itself, is a delusional philosopher, or a philosopher who may choose to live in falsehood, even though he or she is a truth seeker. The reason for this specific oxymoron is because I wouldn't be surprised if some philosophers were, are, or will be megalomaniacs.
Why? Because mental disorders can be genetic, some people may become megalomaniacs simply due to their ancestry. On the other hand, being a philosopher is a conscious choice, and I wouldn't say that it runs in one's family. Thus, it would be unfair to keep certain people from being philosophers just because they have a history of mental illness.
So, please, do not think that I see myself as a perfect being who knows everything. That's very far from the truth. Some see me as a master in my niche, but I prefer keeping an open mind than to flattering myself.