A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reuters Asks Experts About Qadhafi's Sanity

Reuters goes there: Daring to address the question I called "Qadhafi: Mercurial, Eccentric, or 'Just Plain Nuts'," Reuters weighs in with
"Analysis: No Method in Deciphering Gaddafi's Mind," so they ask some shrinks and get this:

It may have become acceptable to question Muammar Gaddafi's state of mind but it's a futile exercise to try to predict his behavior.

Psychiatrists and mental health experts say they are often called upon to diagnose from afar -- a call driven by society's desire to get to grips with bad situations.

Yet whether the subjects are dictators or "brotherly leaders," as Libya's leader portrays himself, the minds of men like Gaddafi are unique and therefore uniquely unpredictable.

"What people try to do is to achieve some kind of typology," said Nigel Eastman, a professor of psychiatry at St George's, University of London.

"When individuals behave outside of what we think of as our normal box, in ways that threaten or harm others, we find it so incredible that we need to try to find a way of understanding it."

"But the leap from feeling we need to understand them to achieving a valid understanding is an impossible leap."

I think that's the $100 an hour version of "just plain nuts." See Gary Larson cartoon yet again.

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