A Short History of Human Error by Oliver Thomson

By Oliver Thomson

It is a candid, occasionally arguable learn of the mental or different flaws of political, non secular and monetary leaders from precedent days to the current day: from Rameses II to Colonel Gaddafi, from Genghis Khan to Stalin and Hitler, from Buddha or Saint Paul to Martin Luther or Ron Hubbard, from bipolar, insecure, asthmatic or sex-addicted presidents to alcoholic top ministers, mad kings, overweight emperors and kleptomaniac dictators. among their fans we discover psychopathic police chiefs, homosexual generals, crazed philosophers, epileptic prophets and ludomaniac enterprise- males. we glance at how the minor character problems and illnesses of the few have led usually to massive distress for the numerous. with no slavish adherence to the most recent psychiatric models the writer makes use of at the least a few of these thoughts to aid examine the anti-social behaviour qualities of leaders prior and current and to evaluate the measure to which their psychological or actual kingdom contributed to many of the world's worst man-made mess ups: wars, genocides, famines, persecutions, enslavements and recessions. We reflect on the questions: what number hundreds of thousands died as the Archangel Gabriel supposedly looked as if it would either the Virgin Mary and Mohammed? what number hundreds of thousands died simply because Napoleon used to be bullied in class, simply because Hitler did not get into the Vienna Academy, simply because Stalin had an alcoholic father or simply because Mao suffered from cognizance deficit hyperactivity affliction? ' it isn't reasonable that the lives of thousands depend upon the judgement of a guy whose brain is warped by way of arteriosclerosis.' C.MacLaurin,1925 'Civilization as we all know it's principally the production of psychopaths' Clinton Callaghan

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One of the key arguments about paranoid heads of state is whether they were paranoid before their promotion or whether paranoia is simply a common consequence of achieving power, becoming over-sensitive to the unpopularity and potential dangers that this so often creates. Would-be rulers may be narcissistic enough to want to claw their way to the top and then become paranoid as they sense real or imagined threats to their survival once they get there. This paranoia is relatively common amongst self-made rulers, but even more so amongst the descendants of dynasties, especially polygamous dynasties like those in Muslim and far eastern countries where there was extreme competition amongst sibling heirs with different mothers.

A classic example of escalating kleptomania is found during the Hundred Years War between Engand and France when neither government had the money to pay its troops and the habit grew of living off the land. So unemployed routiers pillaged the French countryside without mercy. 1394) having learned his trade under Edward III became a freelance captain of the White Company in Italy, changing allegiances without compunction and taking money from both sides. His company were guilty of the massacre of Cesena in 1377 during Pope Gregory XI's war against Florence.

What follows will not pretend to have the precision of a doctor's or a psychiatrist's examination of a living patient; all our evidence is at second hand and most of it dates from long before psychology or psychiatry were invented. Chroniclers tend to be shy about mentioning ailments and even with modern leaders their pyschological or medical condition is often kept secret. So while there is little doubt that Julius Caesar was epileptic or at least had paroxysmal fits, there is no such certainty about Saint Paul and while nobody doubts that the elder Pitt was bipolar there are only hints that Oliver Cromwell had the same problem.

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