Oh sure, Pinky and the Brain
Their bungled attempts
to take over the world
make us all laugh, at their mishaps and the very
irony that two lab rats
However, there are real megalomaniacs
out there. And if you have to work with one
of them, megalomania
will become a whole
lot less funny.
A friend told me about someone she
worked with, someone
to whom she referred as "The Brain" (although an altogether
different part of the anatomy might have been more
This person was (still is, I suppose)
very intelligent, and we think this was
a contributing factor to his megalomania. He was so
used to being right about many facts that
he was as sure each and every opinion of his
was as correct. We aren't talking about being just a little
opinionated, he seriously thought that people who
held different opinions than him were utter morons.
This was as true for big issues, such as the best way to
spend $1 million dollars, as for small issues, like which
font is best used for PowerPoint presentations. Trying
to argue an opposing position was cause for an hour-long debate,
which would only end in him saying he wasn't dissuaded
from his opinion, and therefore all shall adopt his position.
Such was his megalomania and egomania that all discussions
centered around his opinions. My friend was conditioned
to always have in mind the question, "What will The Brain think about
this?" Even now she is torn in her new work questioning
whether The Brain would think it a "colossal waste of time"
or at least of "minimal interest". (Anything of
"maximal interest" being already underway by The Brain
himself, by definition.) She takes a little pleasure
in imagining that she is flying in the face of all his
opinions, but on the other hand, his opinions weren't all
asinine, although a great deal of them were.
She's conditioned not only to think about his
opinion, but also to defy it out of frustration.
The moral of the story is that it is great to
associate with brilliant people, but that
one should not sacrifice too much autonomy
nor accept being micromanaged.
Megalomania is something you want only to deal with
in cartoon form. Unfortunately, if you are doing something
important, you are likely to encounter one. Take this warning
and refuse to be assimilated. Participate
in your own manipulation.
I'm not a professional psychologist, so the above
reflect my own megalomaniacal opinions rather than any