Showing posts with label Elon Musk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elon Musk. Show all posts

September 11, 2023

Something about self-awareness


By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker psychotherapist (about me)

There are many articles with good defitions of self-awareness. This one should suffice to describe what I mean by this term for this blog:

There Are Two Types of Self-Awareness 

For the last 50 years, researchers have used varying definitions of self-awareness. For example, some see it as the ability to monitor our inner world, whereas others label it as a temporary state of self-consciousness. Still others describe it as the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.

So before we could focus on how to improve self-awareness, we needed to synthesize these findings and create an overarching definition.

Across the studies we examined, two broad categories of self-awareness kept emerging. The first, which we dubbed internal self-awareness, represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others. We’ve found that internal self-awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness; it is negatively related to anxiety, stress, and depression.

The second category, external self-awareness, means understanding how other people view us, in terms of those same factors listed above. Our research shows that people who know how others see them are more skilled at showing empathy and taking others’ perspectives. For leaders who see themselves as their employees do, their employees tend to have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and see them as more effective in general. From The Harvard Business Review

I got the idea for this blog when I was watching "Morning Joe" where the panel was interviewing Walter Isaacson, author of a soon to be released book about Elon Musk. The discussion centered on his personality and how his having a self-described form of Aspergers may effect his behavior. It's been repeorted that he's said some outraegous things to people and shortly afterwards claimed convincingly that he never said what someone heard. As you see below, Isaacson said there seemed to "be two, three, four different types of Elon" and he went on to say it was as if he had muliple personalites.

You can watch the 13 miute video here.

This really has little to do with what I want to advocate for here. Musk is just an example of someone who, if they had self-awareness and cared about being a force for good, would make a major difference in other people's lives. My impression is that Musk lacks self-awareness. He also may be a malignant narcissist (see my blog What to Make of Musk from Sept. 9th)

It is fair to compare him to Donald Trump because Trump probably has some self-awareness but just doesn't care, in fact he may be very much aware of how he hurts others and relishes doing it.

To the extent that Musk is like Trump in being a malignant narcissist (as I wrote the other day) he may not care either and may enjoy hurting others.

The self-awareness I want to focus on may be best understood by looking closely at people who have little or just about no self-awareness.

Of all the traits such as empathy and caring for others which we would hope are possessed by people whether in power to influence very large numbers, or who can by virtue of their positions make like good or miserable for those in their lives whether in the companies where the exert control over subordinates, or in their families, over all these characteristics is having self-awareness.

If someone wants to be what would generally considered a "good person" they must be able to take a long, hard look at who they are and how they're behaviors, their words an deeds, effects other people.

Again, one has to want to be a good person. If someone, for whatever reasons, doesn't care who they hurt in pursuit of their goals no degree of self-awareness will matter.

For those who do care, if you don't already have a depth of self-awareness, there is hope. The first step can be for everyone - I mean everyone - to decide to engage in a self-assessment beginning by asking people in their lives how their words and action effect them.

This means both family members, friends, and people who you work with. Those who are in postions of authority over people, and may have the power to deny them promotions or even fire them, could distribute a questionnaire that would be responded to anonymously. It could be a simple true/false list a rating scale for questions. For example:

25 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions You Need to Ask

If you find out that people view you as judgmental, arrogant, distant, unapproachable, quick to express disapproval, or get anxious when they are dealing with you, or have any other characteristics you want to try to change psychotherapy is a good option.

If you even want to know how people in your life view you you are probably halfway there.


Thanks to those of you who read, or at least scrolled down, this far. For you, here an explanation of the photo I just took to use at the top of the story. I looked at various graphics under an image search for self-disclosure and not only were most copyrighted, but all were boring. Lots of them show people looking in a mirror.

I decided I take a photo of what's on my table with a few items added and rearranged (the yellow coffee cup was already there, I added the black one). What does it say about me? I'll leave that up to you to speculate about.

September 9, 2023

What to make of Musk?


Click to enlarge
Above from Musk on X: Our US advertising revenue is still down 60%, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter! and If this continues, we will have no choice but to file a defamation suit against, ironically, the “Anti-Defamation” League. If they lose the defamation suit, we will insist that they drop the the “anti” part of their name, since obviously … 😂

By Hal Brown

If you follow the exploits of Elon Musk, you know, the X-Man, you are aware of the two stories above. Here's a story from HUFFPOST about Ukraine and Musk:

Elon Musk 'Committing Evil' By Blocking Internet Access, Top Ukrainian Advisor Says

There are two Americans who exemplify what happens when power and grandiose egomania are combined with a heaping helping of sadism.

By now anybody following this blog and reading about Trump here and on other websites like Salon knows the defintion of malignant narcissism is that it is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial behavioraggressionsadism and grandiosity. They know that these people are quick to raise hostility levels. They know that the malignant narcissist undermines families and organizations in which they are involved, and that they dehumanize the people with whom they associate.

Those old enough to remember the early videos about what happens in a nuclear reaction know about the ping-pong balls and mousetraps demonstration:

Click to watch video

This is akin to wha happens when power is combined with a pathological need for attention, for being right all the time, for being intolerant of being challenged, combined with sadism. The result when feeling undermined is a nuclear explosion of destructive rage. Would this merely be ping-pong balls. In Ukraine it is claimed that because of Musk people actually died (reference). It seem to be a taboo topic to note that Trump's underplaying the danger of Covid caused uncountable lives and his cruelty led to deaths on the Mexican border.

Trump and Musk both got used to getting their way. Trump is now cornered and hence has become explosive, and if he is reelected will be a danger to democracy. Musk has far less potential power but nonetheless he is cornered because of a disaster of his own making. He bought Twitter for far more than it was worth and proceeeded to make it over in his own image.

His reasoning behind this probably was that Muskifying it would magnify its monetary value making it as magnificent as he believes himself to be.

In doing so he ruined it. His changing its name to X was an attempt to brand it as belonging to him. Consider this from Time:

Click to read

Now Musk is having a hissy fit blaming X's troubles on the ADL:

Elon Musk blames the ADL for 60% ad sales decline at X, threatens to sue - CNN

Loath that he would blame himself... this would take the ability to be self-critical, the total lack of which he shares with Donald Trump.

Being aware of one's ability in any area or endeavor, even with someone who is among the very best at what they do, can also come with humility, self-awarenss, and self-doubt. A current example is Simone Biles who has made a triumphant return to competition after taking two years off to work on her mental health. 

There's also mega-mega (not MAGA as this article shows) pop star Taylor Swift who has every reason she could be behave like a diva or prima donna but is self-effacing from all I can tell  and is just a normal young woman who happens to be one of the most prominent cultural figures of the 21st century. She demonstrates her self-awareness in interviews.  Watch an interview with her here to see what you think.

An older example is Barbra Streisand who has only recently been able to overcome most of her stage fright (reference).

Returning to Elon Musk: 

Elon Musk is hard to love. Elon Musk is hard to like. On his way to becoming the world’s wealthiest person, Musk has emitted so many metric tons of self-indulgent puerility he might have violated the Paris Accords.

Musk’s short fuse is legend. If something’s wrong and it’s important to Musk, employees have learned to avoid his presence if possible.

What to make of this man?

While for me to make a more informed assessment of him I'd have to examine him in person and since as a clinicaL social worker I can diagnose but I can't do psychological tests I would probably refer him to a clincial psychologist who would conduct a baterry of tests including the true/false MMPI and projective tests like the Rorschach and Thermatic Apperception Test( TAT).

Judging him just by behavior the way we can assess Trump's mental status it seems likely he fits every criteria for being a malignant narcissist. See what you think here.

What can be done to remedy his problem? First off, he doesn't think he has a problem. However, say he did. This is what Wikipedia says about therapy for these people:

Typically in the analysis of the malignant narcissist, "the patient attempts to triumph over the analyst by destroying the analysis and himself or herself";[19] an extreme version of what Jacques Lacan described as "that resistance of the amour-propre... which is often expressed thus: 'I can't bear the thought of being freed by anyone other than myself'".[20]

Since Malignant Narcissism is a severe personality disorder that has far-reaching societal and familial effects, it requires attention from both the psychiatric community and the social science community. Treatment is recommended in a therapeutic community, as well as a psychoeducational preventative program aimed at both mental health professionals and the general public.

In this world to achieve great success one can be either kind and competent or cruel and competent. One can have empathy or no empathy. One can be reasonable or ruthless. One can be rational or reactive.

One can be Bill Gates or Elon Musk.

For that matter, one can be Joe Biden or Donald Trump.


July 25, 2023

Musk's Twitter rebrand and name change: will it be an Edsel?


Musk owns Space X. He shoots rockets into the air. Did he just shoot an arrow into the air and instead of a successful flight he killed the iconic bird of the company he overpaid for and turned into a purveyor of hate and lies?

By Hal Brown

Read on a single webpage here.

The very top illustration above showing the article which was the No 1 trending story from Time Magazine here.

Elon Musk Rebranded Twitter as 'X.' Users Immediately Rejected the Change

This is another Time article: 

By Turning Twitter Into X, Elon Musk Risks Killing Billions in Brand Value

Here's an excerpt:

Analysts and brand agencies call the product’s renaming a mistake. Twitter is one of the most recognizable social media brands, said Todd Irwin, founder of brand agency Fazer. Bird decals adorn small businesses and websites worldwide, alongside Instagram and Facebook logos.

Twitter’s popularity has also made verbs like “tweet” and “retweet” part of modern culture, used regularly to explain how celebrities, politicians and others communicated with the public, said Joshua White, assistant professor of finance at Vanderbilt University.

X will require the company to rebuild that cultural pull and linguistic consensus from scratch. But that may be part of the motivation, so users stop comparing Twitter post-takeover to what it was before. “It’s an exceptionally rare thing — in life or in business — that you get a second chance to make another big impression,” Yaccarino (an expert) tweeted.

Below are from the newly rebranded social network with Elon Musk's Xing (I guess we'll have to get used to that term instead of tweeting, kind of like Trump's "truthing" on Truth Social) that he enjoys negative feedback. Whether he's a mascochist or believes that bad publicity is better than no publicity can't be determined. It could be a bit of both.

As far as publicity goes, Musk certainly has gotten a lot of attention with this:

This all made me think of the 1985 failed New Coke so I did a web search and was surprised to see that there's a new new Coke and the rebranding of Twitter was featured in the search results. I was't the only one to think of New Coke when considering what Musk did. This is from the NY Post:

Elon Musk risks ‘New Coke’-style marketing blunder after ditching blue bird for ‘X’ logo

It turns out that there's a new New Coke:

Will the new new Coke be the rousing success despite the failure of the old New Coke that CocaCola hopes it will be? Time will tell. The same holds for the rebranded Twitter. However there's a big difference between the two products. Brand introductions in large successful corporations usually aren't made to satisfy the ego of one person. They are made with careful deliberation between innovators and a marketing team. Edsel Ford didn't come back from the grave and decide a car should be named for him. 

Will X be an Edsel? Perhaps it will be come to be called the Xsel. The new Ford Motor Company car was advertised to be the car of the future. Here's what Wikipedia says about why Edsel failed:

Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain Edsel's failure. Popular culture often faults vehicle styling. Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was Edsel's chief problem. Marketing experts hold Edsels up as a supreme example of the corporate culture's failure to understand American consumers. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford's executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, an Edsel was "the wrong car at the wrong time."
Most people couldn't identify the Edsel logo which to me looks like an open mouth.  At least it was unique unlike the new X.

I think the Edsel grill, which came to represent the car, was just plain ugly even compared to the Ford built Mercury.

Will X be an Edsel? Stay tuned...


In 2020 Musk named one of his chuldren  X Æ A-Xii is considered a letter in Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and and Faroese and is prounced as a long E sound. (Reference) I assume his name is pronunced XeeA, or Exy-A and for formal introductions he'd be XeeA the seventh.

His wife, the Canadian singer Grimes, real name Claire Boucher, explained the name's meaning to her fans.The singer  has used Æ before, naming a song on her latest album 4ÆM.

The A-12 is a Lockheed plane built for the CIA. It was known by designers during its development as Archangel.

She also claims Archangel is her favourite song but does not explain who the song is by.

I wonder how the child will do when he reaches school age.

Perhaps since Elon loves X so much he should change his own name. Of course, Malcolm Little did it when he change his name successfully to Malcolm X, someone I doubt Elon is a fan of.  This probably rules out him changing his name to Elon X although it does have a ring to it.

Prince ended up being called the artist formerly known as Prince even after he changed his name to a symbol that had no pronunciation. 

Cassius Clay paid homage to his friend and mentor Malcolm X when he changed his name to Muhammad Ali although throughout the 1960's the media referred to him by what he called his slave name. (Reference)

Thanks to everyone who read this far. I know that I have a habit of digressing into lengthy afterthoughts only tangenital to my main blog story.

July 13, 2023

Tucker interviewed a disgusting man, Elon promoted this, it reinforces my deciding to be one of 100 million who joined Zuck's Threads

By Hal Brown

Link just to this page here.

I won't even go into who the man Tucker Calson interviewed on Twitter is and what he did. You can click here to read The Salon article about him and how desperate for attention it demonstrates Carlson is.

Amanda Marcotte's article includes this xkcd free to share cartoon:

Here's a version with a word I changed so it applies to me:

Twitter was a useful tool for communication which you could liken to the telephone before robocalls. Then a billionarie known for innovation in other fields bought it and he turned out to be a creep intent on making the popular social media platform into a megaphone for lies and hate.

Another billionaire who already owned equally popular but slightly diffrent  social media platforms launched a competitor to the creepy guy's.

Within a week 100 million people joined the new platform. I was one of them.

I admit I had one self-serving reason. This was a way to post links to my most recent blogs.
My Threads page

I had no illusions that this would lead to many, if any, new  readers. So far I have no followers. On Twitter (here), which I joined for reasons I don't remember in 2013, I have 162 followers a few of whom are well known.

My second reason for joining threads was to be one of the 100 million and take a jab at the creepy billionaire.

As the Salon article shows, the creepy billionaire's platform has become less popular since he took it over. 

Of course everyone knows the real life actors in this drama are. In the unlikely case that you don't, this is from Business Insider: Musk and Zuck promised us a cage fight, but what we've got are 2 reply guys trading petty jabs.

When Elon Musk took over Twitter I joined Mastodon (my page is here) where I've already made over 1,000 posts.

Unfortuately Twitter managed to hold on even though fewer people were using it.
I just checked my Threads link and saw that The New York Tines, NPR, and CBS News had posted liks to recent articles there. 

One the main drawbacks to the Threads vs. Twitter competition is that the former can for now only be accessed through an app dowloaded to a smart phone while you can get to Twitter both on your cellphone and laptop. 

"Meta has not confirmed whether it’s working on a web app to make Threads available through a web browser. But every single major social media app – such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – is available through a web browser, so we imagine it’s only a matter of time until Thread expands to desktop." (Reference)

Twitter continues to stay high in the rankings because so many notable people from celebrities up to and including President Biden are using it to communicate. 

Taylor Swift has almost three times as many followers as President Biden:
Of course people are used to Twitter and lots of them don't care about that Musk has made it so toxic they'd spit it out like they'd just bitten into a worm in an apple. I'm still using it to promote my blog stories so I'm just talking the talk and not walking the walk. I've posted a link to this blog as a way, albeit to negligible effect, to express my opinion of Musk.

I have no way to predict whether anyone will engage my tweet and will read this as a result. I'll update this later in the day to report on this.

May 27, 2023

Can Twitter replace Fox News? Consider what my Twitter page looked like this morning.

By Hal Brown 

Most of you, if I have an accurate sense of my blog readers, are loathe to even click on Twitter let alone actually have an account and post their own tweets there. You probably would be one of the people depicted in the DonkeyHotey image from 2022 above. You can see how he was depicted by caricaturist DonkeyHotey (website) with an impish smile in 2012 to looking mean but oblivious in his grandiose state of smug self-delusion in 2022. 

Yet Elon Musk makes the news almost every day and now, according to a featured article in Salon this morning, wants to have Twitter replace Fox News:

I am not sure how this is possible. I doubt very many people want to turn off their televisions and use their laptops or other Internet devises to get their fix of right-wing opinion. There are ways to watch the Internet on the big screen (seeWikiHow) - but how many people are going to do this? My hunch is not very many. I tried to get my laptop to play through my smart TV with a cable I had for another purpose and after considerable trial and error I manage to get it to work. 

Then  noticed that my smart TV had an Internet setting so I was able to get Twitter there.

This may all seem like techie stuff, but in order for Musk to succeed in making Twitter an alternative to Fox News he has to have numerous people willing to take the steps to put it on their televisions. 

Given that, how many people even open Twitter first thing when they look at what's online using an Internet device? The MAGA world he lusting after, even want to follow the news, are more likely to turn on their television than go to the Internet. If he really wanted to become a media mogul like Rupert Murdoch he would be better off if he purchased NewsMax or One America News (OAN) and try to expand the number of cable stations which broadcast them. This is a bit dated being from 2021 but is relevant: Large Majorities of Newsmax and OAN News Consumers Also Go to Fox News. He'd have his work cut out for him but at least he'd have an opening to break into television.

My morning online routine is to look at my overnight email, then see what HUFFPOST has as their top story, check Raw Story for their articles which summarizes news as it breaks, I scan The New York Times and Washington Post websites, and see what Salon is publishing.

I always have MSNBC on so on weekdays "Morning Joe" is playing in the background.

Among all these sources I try to come up with an original take for my blog of the day.

For those of you who rarely if ever look at Twitter, and may see screen grabs of select tweets in various articles, below are screen grabs of my Twitter page for this morning.

Clicking images will enlarge them and not take you to Twitter.

After skimming the Salon article I thought I'd see what just going to looked like.

The top tweet is from Musk about DeSantis and his announcement on Twitter:
What stood out to me was the Trump-like incoherent sentence "But you what isn't noise?" I assume he meant to write "But what you hear isn't noise" ending with a period rather than a question mark. The sentence after that isn't grammatical either. What would convey what (true or not) Musk meant is that what people heard wasn't noise but rather was DeSantis setting an all-time record for fund-raising.

If you click on Find out more this is what you will see:
You will have to go to Twitter (here) to read their Community Notes Guide.

In order going down the page as it appeared on my laptop are the following mishmash of tweets. I don't know if your Twitter page would look like this. I was struck by the contrast in tweets from liberal Thom Hartmann's tweet with was second under Musk's tweet to Lauren Boebert which was the next tweet. Down the page there was a similar contrast.

While alternative platforms, one of the best known being Mastodon (below)  have tried to replace Twitter, none have lured away the well known posters on Twitter as the screen grabs show.

Today there are tweets from President Biden, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rick Scott,  George Conway, Jim Jordan, and Barack Obama for example.

 So far I haven't seen a post on Mastodon, where I have an account where I've made 952 posts since Nov. 2022 (here) copied onto a news or opinion article they way so many tweets are.

Update: (Ben Collins is a senior reported at NBC News)

Trumps "Truth" posts add up to the only psychological test you need to diagnose Donald Trump as a dangerous maniac. All the leaders of our allies need to do to be terrifed that he'll be the next president is to read them, by Hal Brown, MSW

In 2017 Dr. John Gartner, the founder of Duty to Warn, wrote  All I Ever Wanted to Know about Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets: A Psyc...