A Munchausen Society

My dad was telling me today about how he was at his end-of-year awards ceremony for where he works and how he heard some motivational speaker talk about how he was abused as a kid and what not. When I was in a kid and even in my teens I would really like those type of stories. As I got older I became more skeptical that they were even true and felt that it was a gimmick.

I thought about it more so with Gregory Hood writing the article “My Weakness Is Strong”. It seems that having something happen to you like surviving a disease when no one gave you a chance, or being abused as a kid is sort of like a badge. Three years ago, a linebacker for Notre Dame made some speech about how his girlfriend died or what have you and it was discovered pretty quickly that the whole thing was a hoax. I thought it was bizarre at the time but now that I think about it, I realized that this is an example of munchausen’s disease which is a want for attention by having something happening to you.

I do think though that it might be part of the human condition, albeit in small doses. Someone I knew broke there wrist when I was in third grade and seemed to be at the center of attention. I really wanted to break something too. I was never fucked up enough to actually do something like that on purpose but when I was a little older and still thinking it got you all the attention (I think I was twelve), I actually broke my wrist by hitting the brakes too hard while going down a hill on my bike (and the bike catapulted). Having a cast go up almost to your shoulders (and in May-June no less) dispelled any want for that to ever happen to me again.

More importantly, if having some sort of “story” to tell to people is considered a plus rather than just a waste of time, then it says something about our society. It just seems like this is going to open the way for scammers of sorts – people who defraud insurance companies, perpetrate hate hoaxes and all the other things. I’m almost starting to think that we are entering a 1984 type scenario where in the future, a sizable chunk of the population actually makes a living doing these things.



One thought on “A Munchausen Society

  1. I think it’s part of a feedback loop. We live in a society that coddles and cherishes victims and weakness. There are segments of the population that derive their social cohesion entirely through indignation from oppression (which is largely imagined). Therefore, the easiest way to get attention and gain social status is to seem like a weak victim.

    When is the last time you heard praise for someone’s accomplishments (and not those made against adversity)? My guess is not often.


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