Megalomania

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Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:15 am

It's not the first time i met a megalomaniac in the internet. Now i know three or four people, who tend to be Theravadins, and they think, after studying the topic for a while, they know everything now. And they have realized it all !!!
But just when it comes to the point, they start to fight:
"I have no conceet anymore", they say with arrogance...

How is it possible? Why do they not become humble, if they really understand it all?
It makes me sad and also i worry for these persons. :(
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Megalomania

Postby OneofMany » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:55 pm

I haven't met any megalomaniacs in Theravada in particular, and hesitate to make a generalization, but I do have a friend who is one(megalo tendency that is). And several family member who suffer from various personality disorders, Narcissism, being one. I'll just speak of the why's they might have an intellect bubble/prison based on those I've personally encountered or grew up with.

With my friend, she's more Evangelical or Christian based really, but when it comes to some megalo-types, the larger the front or mask they show the more extreme the shame hidden..yada yada. So for example, my friend likes to say she is pure love and compassion who is surrounded by evil, hateful people, etc.(I imagine it's a matter of time till I get lumped into that group). Lots of projection of self hatred and denial of ownership/responsibility. She says she knows everything on karma, god, the nature of reality etc.

If I say something that she views as "too smart" or show "more" insight than her(whatever that may be as she perceives it atm), she'll blow up into a show of intellect to prove herself at an imagined threat(anyone knowing more than her). She may think that this protects her, just as with my sister or mom, their sense of self, or self worth is so tied into being a know-it-all. They may grasp at any little accomplishment they make, although it may be a big step for them in all actuality. Then because of this(grasping desperately) they may fiercely guard this idea/concept/belief, so there is rigidity and No way will they think about humbleness. With my friend(just as with my family members), I can see how she had an abusive situation growing up, similar to mine, so we bonded through that, but she copes with the experience through this overly grand persona, as a coping technique. She has entangled herself in this belief. I try to deal with it by stepping back, and think about my own entanglements, and try to be there for her as she needs it.

In regards to academia, I've also seen megalomanacs, they get a MA/Ph.d and act like they know everything. With them, a senior professor will knock them back a bit which can help. I personally just see it, (as well as with others who may be abusive childhood free) as just a natural stage of personal development.

Eventually, they will grow and learn that they are limiting themselves, it may take minutes, hours, days or ages; but when they are ready, they will grow out of it. I just try to stay centered, patient, compassionate, and try to find a lesson out of it for myself. I also think it's good to see as a warning to myself to keep myself in check. Conversations can be difficult, but I imagine they are doing the best they know how, even if I may think I know better/easier way. And it's good practice to let go of my need to have conversation go in ways I don't particularly like. I try to accept them for who they are now, place my expectations at their needs/capabilities rather than mine.

I can relate to how it can be sad, and how you worrying for them, maybe giving/something on their behalf might help such as a donation, metta, prayer, etc.
I hope this helps.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:32 pm

Ayu wrote:It's not the first time i met a megalomaniac in the internet. Now i know three or four people, who tend to be Theravadins, and they think, after studying the topic for a while, they know everything now. And they have realized it all !!!
But just when it comes to the point, they start to fight:
"I have no conceet anymore", they say with arrogance...

How is it possible? Why do they not become humble, if they really understand it all?
It makes me sad and also i worry for these persons. :(

It takes the same amount of ignorance to judge them, that is why you worry and feel sadness. Isn't it better to illuminate oneself, then to look for flaws in others?
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:56 pm

Thank you both.

Oneofmany, thank you for sharing your personal experience. It is helpful for me right now, because it lessens my feeling of being alone with the problem.
And oushi, yes, you're right. If i opened this thread just to talk about the defects of other people, i should be blamed.

I'd like to tell what happened to me.

I became friend to someone in an internet-forum and we started to discuss about Buddhism via e-mail. He lives in Asia but is German native speaker. So an internet-friendship occurred.
He had a good understanding about the topic of Nagarjunas Middle Way and about the Palicanon. For me this was a big grace, because i was very bad in reading books. I didn't like to concentrate on them.
It was a very crazy time of writing and reading intensely. Within 15 month we probably wrote 6000 e-mails of serious and funny contents, many very deep topics... I became sort of adicted to getting e-mails....
But this kind of friendship required a hudge amount of time. It was normal to sit for two hours for to write one e-mail. And this several times a day/night. Crazy. Maybe this was not so good.
At the end he set himself the goal to "heal me" from my "Attention deficit disorder". This task was too big. It ruined our friendship. Sounds funny, but i'm really extremely sad.
This was about me.
If i tell about him, i must say, his intellectual clarity is brilliant, but he always was bound to be right. He could never admit a mistake. He thought he is very near to liberation, there is just a small inch missing, he thinks - but looked from outside it is obvious that he is very keen about himself, and that he didn't overcome hate, haughtiness and envy...
I never mentioned this to him. I thought, it would be better to let him be and he will grow out of it by himself when time is right.
But now at last i could not keep this loving equanamity. I failed.
In a controversial discussion i mentioned, that i think he also has a big ego, not only I.
I think, this was a shock for him. He answered to me that my mails will go into his spam-filter. I waited one week. Now i tried to write him and it is said his E-Mail-address doesn't exist anymore. So he deleted his adress and most likely 6000 e-mails, too...
:oops:

Seems, that i scratched a big wound. I feel very sorry, not only for myself and my mistake, not only for this friendship, but also for him, because being near to enlightment is different than the state of mind where he is, i assume.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Megalomania

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:35 pm

Ayu wrote:If i tell about him, i must say, his intellectual clarity is brilliant, but he always was bound to be right.

And you didn't want him to be always right, or what? What if he actually was always right? You wanted to heal him, by proving he was wrong? Imagine how great his lesson would be, if you let him heal you, and he would fail. You would heal him.

Ayu wrote:Seems, that i scratched a big wound. I feel very sorry, not only for myself and my mistake, not only for this friendship, but also for him, because being near to enlightment is different than the state of mind where he is, i assume.

Isn't this view the main cause of this problem? Can you believe in his enlightenment?
It is really hard to find a person that would really like you to be enlightened. You don't want his enlightenment, that is why you feel the need to support your view with opinions of others. You need to hear from others, that he is a selfish egoist, because it is hard for you to rely on your own view. Do not try to asses enlightenment in others, do not try to enlighten them... just regard them as awakened beings. Always.
Why did you reject his help? Were you afraid he will hurt you? Were you certain about his delusion? Do you think you are wiser then he is?
Isn't this all selfish egoism ?
You both failed as friends.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:45 pm

oushi wrote:
Ayu wrote:Seems, that i scratched a big wound. I feel very sorry, not only for myself and my mistake, not only for this friendship, but also for him, because being near to enlightment is different than the state of mind where he is, i assume.

Isn't this view the main cause of this problem? Can you believe in his enlightenment?
It is really hard to find a person that would really like you to be enlightened. You don't want his enlightenment, that is why you feel the need to support your view with opinions of others. You need to hear from others, that he is a selfish egoist, because it is hard for you to rely on your own view. Do not try to asses enlightenment in others, do not try to enlighten them... just regard them as awakened beings. Always.
Why did you reject his help? Were you afraid he will hurt you? Were you certain about his delusion? Do you think you are wiser then he is?
Isn't this all selfish egoism ?
You both failed as friends.

:smile: I appreciate your opinion. You are right, we failed. If anybody tells me, he was a selfish egoist, this is no help for me. I like him.
Why did i recect his help - is a good question. He got angry, because it was not as easy as he wished to free me from "ADD"... So, if i had been wise, i would have let him become angry and see what else happens. But i tried to explain myself to him. Most times this is a mistake.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Megalomania

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:56 pm

You are right, we failed.

If only he could admit it too, both of you would be laughing now.

Good luck, and thanks for the story. Keep you doors open :smile:, especially for those you consider wrong.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby ball-of-string » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:47 pm

Ayu wrote:It's not the first time i met a megalomaniac in the internet. Now i know three or four people, who tend to be Theravadins, and they think, after studying the topic for a while, they know everything now. And they have realized it all !!!


If you are interested in diversifying your experience, I know of an Internet forum that is Mahayana specific, and seems to have a few or more megalomaniacs... :jawdrop:
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:39 am

ball-of-string wrote:
Ayu wrote:It's not the first time i met a megalomaniac in the internet. Now i know three or four people, who tend to be Theravadins, and they think, after studying the topic for a while, they know everything now. And they have realized it all !!!


If you are interested in diversifying your experience, I know of an Internet forum that is Mahayana specific, and seems to have a few or more megalomaniacs... :jawdrop:

No problem to believe that.
So what do you think: how is it possible? How to prevent oneself of this arrogance? And on the other hand, like oushi pointed out, how to recognize, if somebody is really a noble one - or how to even accept it?
:namaste:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Megalomania

Postby randomseb » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:43 am

I went through a period of megalomania last summer while engaged in such an internet based discussion situation, in a chat room kind of deal. From having a big understanding gap on the subject of spirituality and buddhism between us, I started taking on holier-than-thou airs, coming to the belief that I had all the answers and it was my job to cram them down her throat, and then after a while due to other circumstances my mind cracked, and everything became very strange. During this time I realized I actually had only a little knowledge, and that I had no business trying to teach anyone anything, especially as knowledge is not what it's all about, and the truth is not something that can be made into words. In the meantime, I lost this developing friendship (and heart) due to both my arrogant behaviors and related know-it-all-ism, and the crashing head first on the wall of the edge of my mind and its sanity. Now this woman seems to think Jedi from starwars is the correct path, and this makes me very sad, but who am I to pontificate about other people's choices and beliefs?

This is my personal experience of the situation the OP is describing.

The moral seems to be to crack a megalomaniac on the head until they lose their mind and that might cure them... Uhhhh...

:rolleye:

(Or: if you think you know it all and get the inclination to dump it all on someone of interest.. don't. Share when appropriate, at the level they can take, else you'll find yourself with no one to share it with. Remember it's not about you, if you already have the answer.. It's about them and their needs.)
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Re: Megalomania

Postby OneofMany » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:46 pm

It is helpful for me right now, because it lessens my feeling of being alone with the problem.
Hey, no problem. ((Hugs if wanted))

So what do you think: how is it possible? How to prevent oneself of this arrogance? And on the other hand, like oushi pointed out, how to recognize, if somebody is really a noble one - or how to even accept it?
I think those are excellent questions and look forward to reading all the replies, as this is something I worry about for myself as well.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:38 pm

OneofMany wrote:
It is helpful for me right now, because it lessens my feeling of being alone with the problem.
Hey, no problem. ((Hugs if wanted))

So what do you think: how is it possible? How to prevent oneself of this arrogance? And on the other hand, like oushi pointed out, how to recognize, if somebody is really a noble one - or how to even accept it?
I think those are excellent questions and look forward to reading all the replies, as this is something I worry about for myself as well.

Thank you. You are very kind. :smile:

I think now, these questions are too difficult to answer in an anonymos forum. To answer this correcty and in a right way one has to be very honest. This topic has many facets. In the final analysis it depends on oneself, how one percieves the phenomenons...
In my practical life it turned out better now:
My mail-friend and i had some technical problems with the spam-filter. He didn't delete his account, it was just told to me by the system: "Adress unknown"
Now he writes to me, he wants to work on his problems with living human beings next to him. Means: not with me, cause i'm just E-mail thousands of kilometres away. That's okay for me. He should not hide from his world in front of his computer. :tongue:
So i see, everything is better than i thought it was. He is on his way and i don't have to worry about him so much. :namaste:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Megalomania

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:15 am

OneofMany wrote:
It is helpful for me right now, because it lessens my feeling of being alone with the problem.
Hey, no problem. ((Hugs if wanted))

So what do you think: how is it possible? How to prevent oneself of this arrogance? And on the other hand, like oushi pointed out, how to recognize, if somebody is really a noble one - or how to even accept it?
I think those are excellent questions and look forward to reading all the replies, as this is something I worry about for myself as well.


In my case, things falling apart in a somewhat colorful manner woke me up to my behavior patterns, but as mentioned above, external, unrelated things also happened in relation to my mind, so this awareness was part of a greater realization (in the mundane sense of the word) on things going on in me.. Had this not happened I would have remained an arrogant know-it-all prick towards this friend, because I just didn't have this self awareness, and that is hard to develop without first being self-aware enough to know you need to become self-aware!

Noble ones won't judge or impose knowledge beyond one's means, they will accept you as you are and subtlety slide teachings in without seeming to unless you asked specifically for some, I think

:spy:
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Re: Megalomania

Postby greentara » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:23 am

This world is nothing but a projection of our own entrenched dispositions, so anyone who reacts to it with feelings such as curiosity, desire, anger, fear or hatred is like a small child or monkey when it first confronts its own reflection in a mirror. At first it is curious, then it becomes angry, then it gives a blow, and finally it runs back to its mother in fear.
We're all in the same boat full of pride and fear.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:11 pm

Dunno, my feeling is that a noble one probably wouldn't add someone to their spam filter, even after being grievously insulted..much less just being told they have a swollen ego.

Either way though, the problem was just that self got in the way of communication, could be on one side, my inclination is it's probably on both, that's how it usually happens with me at leat. Sorry it happened, and honestly I hope that you can patch things up with this person, and keep some kind of healthy relationship..it may have been crazy and "too much"..but it also sounds like you were getting something positive at one time.

This kind of falling out happens institutionally too..i've seen it in martial arts for example. I think the best we can do in these situations is just attend to keeping our own nonsense in check, no access to anything else really.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:33 pm

Yes. :smile: Thank you for these words, J.D. :twothumbsup:
It's all difficult enough.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Ayu » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:17 am

randomseb wrote:Had this not happened I would have remained an arrogant know-it-all prick towards this friend, because I just didn't have this self awareness, and that is hard to develop without first being self-aware enough to know you need to become self-aware!...

:namaste:
This is a worrisome point. But - hopefully - everybody is on his way and the Dharma will show how it works. One just has to let it in...
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Megalomania

Postby OneofMany » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:16 pm

I think now, these questions are too difficult to answer in an anonymos forum. To answer this correcty and in a right way one has to be very honest. This topic has many facets. In the final analysis it depends on oneself, how one percieves the phenomenons...
So true.
So i see, everything is better than i thought it was. He is on his way and i don't have to worry about him so much
Coolness, IMHO working on oneself whether alone or in groups, email or face2face is great. Sometimes relationships grow out of their need, change/adapt dynamics or separate into their own respective paths. :thumbsup:
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Re: Megalomania

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:43 pm

oushi wrote:It takes the same amount of ignorance to judge them, that is why you worry and feel sadness. Isn't it better to illuminate oneself, then to look for flaws in others?

So you are judging others judging? Well done.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Megalomania

Postby MalaBeads » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:25 pm

Ayu,

I dont know if this will help (disclaimer: I have not read Dr. Robert Burton's work "On Being Certain: Believing You are Right Even When You're Not") but it looks intriguing. As Buddhist practitioners, we may be a little more experienced with "mind" than most neuroscientists, and I have to say I am a little sceptical by the current trend to reduce all "mind" to the workings of the brain, and yet.....I think there's alot that can be learned from the neuroscientists. Abhidharma may be just as useful as neuroscience, who knows? :shrug:

I am posting this for your consideration only because immediately after reading this thread I opened my email and found this notice of his book. It seemed pertinent so here's the blurb that was in my email:

"When we talked recently, Dr. Burton explained that his new book has two main parts. In the early chapters, he extends the principles he developed in On Being Certain to other mental sensations. We tend to take things like our feeling of certainty, agency, and causation for granted, but he points out that these are generated in parts of the brain that we can neither access or control. What makes A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind stand out is that Burton then explores the implications of this reality. He argues that while we can become ever more knowledgeable about how our brain works, the MIND, which is something that we each experience subjectively, is much more elusive.

The fact that we are trying to study the MIND with the MIND has inherent limitations and I think that Dr. Burton is right when he says our response should be HUMILITY."

BTW, this is from another podcast that I subscribe to called the Brain Science Podcast, hosted by Dr. Ginger Campbell. I hope she does not mind that I quoted some of her email here and that as a result her subscription list may increase.

Anyway, may this be of some use!
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