Author Topic: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question  (Read 15299 times)

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mikef

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2014, 10:33:06 PM »
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I don't think he does try to get the same safety and self-esteem that everyone else needs . . . I think he goes a lot further (suggesting a greater need).

I agree.   We all have some narcissistic traits to some degree by necessity.  Ultimately, we are all acting in our own best interests.

The difference comes when your behaviour is being destructive to those around you.  Whether family, friends or an entire community.  And it needs to be diagnosed as a problem.   This is why you have to fill a certain number of criteria in order to be diagnosed as a narcissist.  And it's clear that when you do, you are going to have certain effects on the people surrounding you and it's a helpful thing for these people to be able to look up clinical definitions and figure out why they are feeling the way that they do in this person's presence.  Because narcissists often have such a powerful force of personality that many can be overwhelmed by them which can quite often lead to bad, and sometimes even fatal consequences.

Saying that these people are just looking for self-esteem almost normalizes their behaviour.  I personally, don't want to do that nor do I think it is a good idea.

Marc Moïni

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2014, 07:08:00 AM »
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mikef, if I understand correctly your concern is that in some cases people's way of acting in their own best interest becomes harmful to others, and you want protection against this danger, for yourself and others.

And if so, then that's why you see the usefulness in having diagnoses such as NPD, because it makes it possible to defend against the danger their actions represent.

Also, you see the risk in doing away with such diagnoses, because again it makes everyone more susceptible to being harmed.

Is that it?
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Marc Moïni

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2014, 07:50:24 AM »
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Agreed, both work as a general description. But I think we can be more specific.

I don't think he does try to get the same safety and self-esteem that everyone else needs . . . I think he goes a lot further (suggesting a greater need).

The need for social cachet is, in most people, met by fairly moderate expectations, for a lot of people just being a pretty decent sort of person who is liked is enough, perhaps a good father / team player at work / or an artist who produces works other people appreciate or admire (or whatever your thing is), of course some people aim higher (my attempt at being the first person to walk on the sun is still a bone of contention with my last 7 wives) but it's a vanishingly rare thing for someone to need to establish in the minds of others the idea that they are - for example - the first virtuous parent of a child, not just the best parent in the whole of Canada, or the entire continent of North America, or even the globe, but in the history of the world, the entirely of human existence . . . or the idea that you are something so rare, so important, that humanity is unlikely to witness your greatness for another two thousand years . . and so on. These are grandiose themes.

Assuming these claims are driven by a need for social cachet rather than simply being statement of fact (which I think is reasonable) then I would say Molyneux's need to establish self-esteem is uncommon (i.e. not the same need for safety and self-esteem that everyone else needs).

If these things exist on a spectrum (which I think is true for all characteristics), then I would say someone who places themselves on such a grandiose and monumental stage is at the far end of that spectrum, I also think that having a name for that end of the spectrum can be useful.

I'm having more trouble getting a sense of what's important to you here, than I have with mikef's posts. I've read that your original interest in Molyneux's actions was because of the narcissism you see in them, so I figure that you're interested in studying how narcissism explains his actions, but is it because you're concerned with your protection, or with protecting other people, or is it something else that's important to you here?

As to how he might have a greater need than most people, I remember that in my twenties I used to think of myself as one of only a handful of people, maybe the only one, who was capable of doing certain computer jobs. I've since realized how ludicrous it was to think this way, but Molyneux's claims don't look that different to me from the ones I was making back then, and since I've gotten better (without professional intervention) I think he too can develop a more realistic view of himself. My self-esteem was at the bottom of a pit, I was simply trying to climb out of there. Desperately. Likewise, I think his self-esteem is (as you say) towards the end of the spectrum, and so he's desperately trying to get out of the same pit. I'm not too surprised that someone who is desperate to save himself, is finding it difficult to care for others at the same time, and doesn't seem aware that he is causing them damage.

That's why I don't see the justification for putting people at the end of the spectrum into a category labeled as "there is something wrong with these people's brains". I see the usefulness in identifying them in order to protect others from their dangerous actions, but I think that labeling them "abnormal" in any way actually makes it more difficult to bring them help in a way that they can accept. Does this make sense to you?
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P Jaques

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2014, 01:49:35 PM »
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I'm having more trouble getting a sense of what's important to you here . . .

Again, I'm not 100% sure what this means, to the question of whether Molyneux's could be accurately described as narcissistic, or having narcissistic traits, I'm not making a judgement based on what benefits to myself (or others) that judgement might have, or the pros and cons of that judgement, or what feels important to me, in fact I don't factor myself into the question at all, whether Molyneux is a narcissist or not has nothing to do with me, it's either true (a reasonable description of the given facts) or it's not true, what this all means to me is irrelevant to the claim.

I'm struggling to even understand some of these questions !

Look at it like this, if we were both to sit in a café looking out the window, and a girl walked by wearing a green jumper and I were to ask you what colour you thought the jumper was, whether it was green or bluey green, maybe a kind of olive green . . . and you responded that you thought it was a leaf green . . . and then I were to ask you things like 'what benefits do you see in thinking the jumper is leaf green' or that I was - in the context of your answer - 'having trouble getting a sense of what's important to you with regard to the colour of the girl's jumper' . . .

?

I've read that your original interest in Molyneux's actions was because of the narcissism you see in them, so I figure that you're interested in studying how narcissism explains his actions, but is it because you're concerned with your protection, or with protecting other people, or is it something else that's important to you here?

I think you are jumping a little bit ahead of the evidence here, I was linked to Molyneux through the world of conspiracism (one his demographics), I could immediately see he shared certain pronounced traits, splitting being the one I mentioned. I wouldn't say I was 'interested in studying how narcissism explains his actions', I wouldn't say I was that focused or studious, I am just generally interested, think of it as an exercise in social anthropology, something we are all - innately - drawn towards, your interest in my interest in Molyneux is much the same as my interest in Molyneux.

"is it because you're concerned with your protection, or with protecting other people, or is it something else that's important to you here"

Hard to say to be honest, I don't feel like I have any driving motivation here, like a lot of things to a lot of people I just find it interesting, I have no defined aim, I am not hoping to alert the world to Molyneux's flawed thinking or dissuade people from following his ideas (I think people should be free to do as they please) - so in that respect nothing about this feels important to me, it's like a conversation, something I find engaging.

As to how he might have a greater need than most people, I remember that in my twenties I used to think of myself as one of only a handful of people, maybe the only one, who was capable of doing certain computer jobs.

But . . .  was that idea in the context of just your company or perhaps even the whole profession . . . . .  or did you feel you were the only person in the history of mankind with the abilities to handle these kinds of tasks ?

To be honest I think this kind of thinking could well be more common that we suspect (this is not based on any solid evidence, just a thought / hunch), I imagine these kinds of thoughts would serve an evolutionary role, I imagine they would peak in a person's 20s and be more prevalent in males. I'm pretty sure in my 20s I had all sorts of ideas, even if only tenuous, where ambition was tangled up with reality.

I've since realized how ludicrous it was to think this way . . .

I'm not so sure, like I say these ideas may well serve a useful purpose.

but Molyneux's claims don't look that different to me from the ones I was making back then . . .

Obviously I don't know the details of your image of yourself back then, but youthful-arrogance is not unusual, without people with ideas 'above their station' we would be in a much poorer state, the idea that you are the best programmer in London, the best engineer in New York or the best writer in the whole of Europe, is probably the fuel some people need to stick at what they are doing, to over-stretch themselves, and sometimes achieve great things. But even youthful-arrogance is usually tempered with doubt, one day the greatest poet, the next day screwing up all your 'useless' work and tossing it in the bin, flashes of grandiose ambition are sometimes needed, but even those who consider themselves gifted beyond what their abilities suggest manage to know enough about what is going on to prevent themselves from sharing their sense of their own greatness with the world. I'd say that was one of the factors that differentiates the true megalomanic from someone with a healthy (or even excessive) amount of confidence, when they need that idea to exist not just in their own head - for their own needs - but for it to exist in other people's heads too.


. . . and since I've gotten better (without professional intervention) I think he too can develop a more realistic view of himself.

Maybe, it's hard to say, if he does in fact suffer from NPD (which is far from a known fact) the general prognosis is that it is incurable, if he is just a little bit 'crazy', with an inflated sense of himself, then maybe he can get 'better', if he wanted to, if there is even a need to get better (which I'm not sure there is).

That's why I don't see the justification for putting people at the end of the spectrum into a category labeled as "there is something wrong with these people's brains".

The label simply describes a set of characteristics, it doesn't say anything else, it doesn't make any moral claims, it does't describe an underlying disease agent or recommend a response.

If someone were thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods - and this set of characteristics was common enough (although rare) to appear in conversation we might (as we do with everything like this) give it a label, these people might be called Tuuubish.

What you seem to be suggesting is that rather than saying "my boss told me that he's Tuuubish, and that both his mother and father are Tuuubish too, and like a lot of Tuuubish people they apparently they just love to eat their dessert before their main mean" . . . we should be saying . . . "my boss told me that he's thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods, and that both his mother and father are thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods too, and like a lot of people who are thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods people apparently they just love to eat their dessert before their main mean".

The justification for calling Tuuubish people Tuuubish, for putting them at the end of the spectrum into a category labeled "thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods" is that they are thinner than average, with large hands and a preference for sweet foods.

For me, that's all narcissism as a label is doing, it's shorthand for a collection of traits.

By the way, I have nothing against Tuuubish people, some of my best friends are Tuuubish  :P

I see the usefulness in identifying them in order to protect others from their dangerous actions, but I think that labeling them "abnormal" in any way actually makes it more difficult to bring them help in a way that they can accept. Does this make sense to you?

Yes, that makes sense, basically the pejorative nature of the label means that people - who the label might be applied to - are unlikely to accept that label (that diagnosis) as readily as if they were told they are diabetic or suffer from depression.

But I've got no desire to correct Molyneux, to fix him, even if I knew how, and I'm sure he wouldn't want me to either, I'm also pretty sure he'd think I'm the one who needs fixing - and is it even possible to tease apart someone's character from what others might see as a disorder, that seems to be pathologizing a person's character based on a lack of conformity to a norm ?

This all seems overly complex to me, to me Molyneux acts in this way > XXX, the shorthand we use for someone with those traits is YYY, I'm not sure my thinking goes much further than that.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 02:02:54 PM by P Jaques »
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DePoo

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2014, 03:54:39 PM »
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How dare you people psychoanalyze Molyneux without his consent and without you having a degree in psychology?

Only Molyneux can psychoanalyze people without their consent and without a degree in psychology!

P Jaques

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2014, 04:20:24 PM »
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How dare you people psychoanalyze Molyneux without his consent and without you having a degree in psychology?

Only Molyneux can psychoanalyze people without their consent and without a degree in psychology!

Psychoanalyzing ? Who me ?

Tell me, in your dreams, when the women attack you, do they have moustaches like Freddy Mercury ?
No, no, no, no, stop, stop, stop . . . you're wrong and I'm right . . . can we have the next caller please Mike.

DePoo

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2014, 05:05:16 PM »
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How dare you people psychoanalyze Molyneux without his consent and without you having a degree in psychology?

Only Molyneux can psychoanalyze people without their consent and without a degree in psychology!

Psychoanalyzing ? Who me ?

Tell me, in your dreams, when the women attack you, do they have moustaches like Freddy Mercury ?

As a child, did you touch your butthole?

P Jaques

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2014, 06:12:10 PM »
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How dare you people psychoanalyze Molyneux without his consent and without you having a degree in psychology?

Only Molyneux can psychoanalyze people without their consent and without a degree in psychology!

Psychoanalyzing ? Who me ?

Tell me, in your dreams, when the women attack you, do they have moustaches like Freddy Mercury ?

As a child, did you touch your butthole?

Not just as a child, to this day I like to get between 4 and 5 hours in a day.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 06:13:48 PM by P Jaques »
No, no, no, no, stop, stop, stop . . . you're wrong and I'm right . . . can we have the next caller please Mike.

DePoo

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2014, 10:09:18 PM »
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How dare you people psychoanalyze Molyneux without his consent and without you having a degree in psychology?

Only Molyneux can psychoanalyze people without their consent and without a degree in psychology!

Psychoanalyzing ? Who me ?

Tell me, in your dreams, when the women attack you, do they have moustaches like Freddy Mercury ?

As a child, did you touch your butthole?

Not just as a child, to this day I like to get between 4 and 5 hours in a day.

I'm touching my butthole right now and typing with one hand.

P Jaques

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2014, 11:54:16 PM »
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I'm touching my butthole right now and typing with one hand.

Pictures or it didn't happen.

Shouldn't this be in the 'grooming' thread ?
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DePoo

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2014, 04:20:23 AM »
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I'm touching my butthole right now and typing with one hand.

lol

Pictures or it didn't happen.

Shouldn't this be in the 'grooming' thread ?

mikef

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2014, 06:01:22 AM »
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mikef, if I understand correctly your concern is that in some cases people's way of acting in their own best interest becomes harmful to others, and you want protection against this danger, for yourself and others.

And if so, then that's why you see the usefulness in having diagnoses such as NPD, because it makes it possible to defend against the danger their actions represent.

Also, you see the risk in doing away with such diagnoses, because again it makes everyone more susceptible to being harmed.

Is that it?

When you look at someone like Molyneux, or any other person like that through the lens of NPD, then you understand their behaviour.   Everything can be put in context.  It's like looking at some one who just doesn't seem to behave like most normal people do and being confused about it all.  Then you look up that behaviour and suddenly everything moves into sharp focus.  Like seeing everything blurry suddenly come into sharp focus because you have put on a pair of glasses.   Saying that they are basically like other people, but a just a bit more, doesn't help in this process.  Because it doesn't accurately describe them.

And yes, for those who have been victimised by a narcissist (like myself, not by molyneux) it helps them understand their experiences and thereby move on from them, being much less likely to experience them again.   Especially when one of the narcissst's favourite tricks is gaslighting.  That's when they make you think that you are the crazy one with mental problems.  Sound familiar?  Molyneux does that all the time to people who disagree.

At the end of the day it brings clarity.  It's like looking at the movement of the planets and not understanding them and then someone explains to you that the Earth revolves around the sun.  Everything makes sense.  When I look at Molyneux as a narcisisst, everything he does makes sense to me.   Forming a cult around yourself is exactly what narcisissts do, whether it is the small scale of the family that most operate on, or whether it is the large scale of cults that ones like Molyneux operate on.

P Jaques

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2014, 06:22:26 AM »
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At the end of the day it brings clarity.

Well said, your whole post, word for word, is petty much spot on.

I'd add one thing, looking at a narcissist through the lens of NPD also allows you - like all good science - to make predictions about future behaviour, so not only does the description make sense of past behaviour, it also helps warn people of possible future issues.
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Prodigal son

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2014, 08:26:26 AM »
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Also agree with the above. Especially PJ's point about predicting behaviours.
In my experience people like this seek constant adulation and praise - to be at the centre of proceedings wherever they are and to react with pique or ill-humour when it is clear that this cannot be arranged, so their behaviours can be plotted to some extent.
In a relationship however, since there is simply no end to their need for narcissistic supply, the partner or family member cannot provide it eternally and so must submit to control so that they can be made a foil to the narcissist, either as an ally or antagonist and often as both in alternation. There ain't much middle ground.

Also, understanding narcissistic behaviours enabled me to focus on such aspects of my own conduct, because I am not untainted. It does seem to me that some people display very few narcissistic traits, but in general I don't think it's entirely a matter of "us and them".

The result has been that I question my relationships with others and the world a bit more than in the past and try to minimise the extent to which I force them to conform to my preferences and maximise the extent to which I am genuinely open to reality, however harsh.

Whether I am successful or not, I cannot say. In general however this understanding has persuaded me to treat people as well as I am able at all times whatever their politick, preference, or personality, though I also wonder about my kill ratio in that endeavour. Sometimes it don't seem too good because a few people have got quite uppity with me from time to time, sometimes enduringly.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 05:15:12 PM by Prodigal son »

ThisBeTheVerse

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Re: Stefan Molyneux--the "Splitting" question
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2017, 07:26:54 PM »
+1
I didn't have time right now to read this thread - just commenting on the splitting article.
But in a nod to the posts before the last few, who doesn't touch their butthole daily.

First off - I think you write well, engaging and lively prose. My view of communication is that ideas should be expressed as simply and easily as you can do it. If a big word is the most appropriate then use it, but don't try wrapping up a simple concept in elaborate language, and always try to reach as many people as you can without complicating things needlessly. I myself can be too wordy/verbose, so I'll try and keep this short. [edit. yeah, right, keep trying fella]

I think your view of his egomanical self-love and splitting of the world into black & white is pretty sound analysis. I don't think one necessarily needs clinical training. some knowledge of critical thinking and the human mind is enough for me to confidently state that S&M definitely also suffers from (along with many other things):
- many projection
- so self-hatred
For best example, bad childhood & family experiences run through his work, but most illuminating is a video where he complains about getting an anonymous 50 cent donation, and somehow this leads to him saying that the giver must have had a shitty childhood and a bad family. He extrapolates all this from an anonoymous donation, so we must ask - where is he getting this information from? The only answer must be from himself, the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyCBPi-vqHM) is an uguarded moment of joking and mocking of this donation which he feels is beneath him (clearly he cannot comprehend a person might listen to one podcast then leave), his mind is relaxed and doing what it knows best - which is sadly I must say self-hate - but putting it onto this anonymous doner.

Furthermore, knowledge of critical thinking and how the mind works can tell us this: that his many projection of his so self-hatred (which he kindly makes visible in action for the world to see) is one of the mind's self-defence mechanisms. If he can convince others to likewise cut off their family, then his actions and mental delusions & decisions to do that are justified, and he can continue to live feeling like he is right. It is his minds way of fixing the cognitive dissonance, and any residues of guilt that may still remain from his actions. For everyone desires to feel they are justified in their actions, and the mind will happily provide the ways and means of enabling a person to still function, and 'be right'. It may be an entirely unconscious thing too. very few human beings truly confront the trickery and self-delusions of our minds.

The last paragraph is mostly a copy/paste job of a comment I wrote on that video. me me, is me.
The video actually starts with him talking about how he is sceptical of those that proclaim to speak for freedom, as presumably because he knows himself best, he is instantly wary that those that speak for freedom are just like him. With a little knowledge of how he operates, it comes across as a massive projection and a great description of his whole operation and how it works - being a fraud & charlatan, soliciting money etc.

I'm no amatuer psychologist (& definitely not professional) but I DO know a fair bit about the human mind and critical thinking, and these themes of bad childhood & family experiences come up often enough in his attacks and the ways he 'wins' 'debates' that he engages in. And he has given the world a wealth of video evidence where he is being relaxed, comfortable, doing what he enjoys best; standing on a podium, acting, and 'winning' 'debates'. But his enjoyment of this theatre makes him unguarded and leads to ... many projection of his so self-hatred, which we can see and I must comment upon. I have no training like I say, and don't usually engage in analysing others since I'm more busy analysing myself, but all it takes is for good men to do nothing etc.
Now I must get back to touching my butthole.

oh - butt wait - the real answers to the issues he has are simply wake the f*ck up and take responsibility for your life and actions, don't go blaming it on others, don't go blaming it on anyone/anything/everyone that you possibly can. easier said than done of course. but if his idea/definition of philosophy is anything, that is what it should really be. To accept that we are all f*cked up, hey it's called being human, and to take responsibility.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 07:45:48 PM by ThisBeTheVerse »