Hubris syndrome - Owen D.
Clin Med. 2008 Aug;8(4):428-32
Hubris syndrome is associated with power, more likely to manifest itself the longer the person exercises power and the greater the power they exercise. A syndrome not to be applied to anyone with existing mental illness or brain damage. Usually symptoms abate when the person no longer exercises power. It is less likely to develop in people who retain a personal modesty, remain open to criticism, have a degree of cynicism or well developed sense of humour…
Photo In Greek mythology, Nemesis…was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods).
Hubris… from ancient Greek… means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power… More:
Hubris syndrome: An acquired personality disorder? A study of US Presidents and UK Prime Ministers over the last 100 years
By David Owen and Jonathan Davidson – January 5, 2009
Oxford Journals – Medicine - Brain - Volume 132, Issue 5Pp. 1396-1406.
The history of madness is the history of power. Because it imagines power, madness is both impotence and omnipotence. It requires power to control it. Threatening the normal structures of authority, insanity is engaged in an endless dialogue—a monomaniacal monologue sometimes—about power’.
Roy Porter - A Social History of Madness: Stories of the Insane, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987 p. 39
Charisma, charm, the ability to inspire, persuasiveness, breadth of vision, willingness to take risks, grandiose aspirations and bold self-confidence—these qualities are often associated with successful leadership. Yet there is another side to this profile, for these very same qualities can be marked by impetuosity, a refusal to listen to or take advice and a particular form of incompetence when impulsivity, recklessness and frequent inattention to detail predominate. This can result in disastrous leadership and cause damage on a large scale. The attendant loss of capacity to make rational decisions is perceived by the general public to be more than ‘just making a mistake’. While they may use discarded medical or colloquial terms, such as ‘madness’ or ‘he's lost it’, to describe such behaviour, they instinctively sense a change of behaviour although their words do not adequately capture its essence… Read complete research:
The intoxication of power: From neurosciences to hubris in healthcare and public life - Tuesday 9 October 2012
A meeting in association with the Daedalus Trust
The evolution of increasingly complex public life, healthcare, financial and social systems demands highly performing leadership by clinicians, managers, executives, public servants and others. This conference will explore aspects of the pathology of leadership and decision making: how it may be understood and what may be done about it.
The concept of the Hubris Syndrome postulated by Lord David Owen in 2007 compels us to study the evolving dynamics of personality and leadership in public life. An innovative perspective in this study is the inclusion of the dynamics of the nervous system including neurotransmitters and motivational systems. Exciting developments in cognitive, affective and social neuroscience and constantly evolving systems of commissioning, business and governance in healthcare, together with relentlessly changing cultures in society make this a timely, even essential conference.
Sir Michael Rawlins, President Royal Society of Medicine will open the conference.
The aim of the conference will be to integrate emerging knowledge from neuroscience, social sciences and organisational governance to nourish benevolent leadership and create effective constraints to hubris and related conditions.
How can we contain hubris and nourish benevolent leadership?
How can we prevent collusion with hubris in groups and develop effective governance constraints?
How can we create cultures of cooperation, accountability, creativity and effectiveness in diverse institutions in society?