'' WHILE OTHER entrepreneurs struggled to develop a worldview, he developed a cosmic view,'' Isaacson writes. Musk's self-conception is that he is building companies to save humanity, according to Isaacson.

Space X is to make humans multiplanetary species, so we can escape to Mars if something apocalyptic happens to earth.

Tesla's mission is to move humanity past a hydrocarbon economy, towards a sustainable future. His new firm xAI is there to help prevent artificial intelligence from taking over the world.

Neurolink, which embedded technology into people's brains, is there to help the blind see and the paralyzed to walk. You can't get more savior-like than that.

''People don't usually talk with such a superhero ice, almost Homeric kind of vibe in Silicon Valley,'' Peter Thiel told Isaacson.

Sometimes, the story Musk tells about himself seems so grandiose it enters the realm of epic myth. A person so consumed by a myth is not seeking to be conventionally successful.

Dennis Ford argues in his book '' The Search for a Meaning'', he or she is trying to be faithful to the mythic pattern.''

Such a person is not seeing the world the rest of us are seeing, but his own mythic world, and is trying to recruit people into his own reality.'' He kept talking about making a rocket that could go to Mars,'' one of Musk's college friends told Isaacson.

'' Ofcourse, I didn't pay much attention, because I thought he was fantasizing. 

'' Decades later, on his second day working at SpaceX, an employee attended a board meeting and was gobsmacked :

'' They're sitting around seriously discussing plans to build a city on Mars and what people will wear there, and everyone is just acting like this is a totally normal conversation.''

A  person within this mythic consciousness can easily distort reality, confabulate and lie. Such a person can have the grandiose sense that he is indispensable to our species.

Musk's perennial crisis/urgency mentality, which drives him to behave as a craptaculous jerk to the people around him and serve as a rationalization for when he does, also fits.

People who have met Musk sometimes say it's as if he's not fully rounded human being, but seems like a character playing a role.

One of Isaacson's sources says, '' He's a retained a childlike, almost stunted side.'' Perhaps it's because he is still inhabiting an adventure story.

Sometimes in life imagination is as important as intelligence. Musk's apparent attachment to the hero myth seems to both make him fearless and also frequently a kind of monster.

The mythic mind is a self-involved mind, which can never quite regard other people as being as important as the hero/self.  Indeed the Musk of Isaacson's book is on a  series of epic quests - and is complex enough to be simultaneously hero and villain.

The World Students Society thanks David Brooks.


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