September 28, 2008
Obama, Oprah, and the Guru: Malignant NarcissismBy Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.
Grandiosity, more than anything else, is what characterizes Obama's character and campaign. Grandiosity is also, more than anything else, what characterizes narcissism, and Obama's narcissism has become obvious to many.
Tony Blankley refers to Obama's posturing as the "height of hubris." Jeffrey Kuhner writes that Obama "is a self-absorbed narcissist who portrays himself as a political messiah -- the anointed one." David Limbaugh writes of the "unspeakably presumptuous extravaganzas as those [that] feted Mr. Obama at Berlin and Invesco Field."
In reference to Obama's narcissism, Charles Krauthammer asks, "[H]as there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?" Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, writes that "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist," and offers a detailed explanation.
Obama's entire campaign is nothing more than a demand to be recognized as superior without commensurate accomplishments. For individual instances of the undistinguished senator's grandiosity, please see Barack Obama Audacity Watch.
Two other very reliable witnesses to Obama's narcissism are Oprah Winfrey and her guru, Eckhart Tolle, both themselves pathological narcissists. Delusions of grandeur interpersonally connect Obama, Oprah, and her guru. All three believe they can, even that that they must, change the world for the better, and that means garnering for themselves more and more adulation, what the psychologists call "narcissistic supply."
The public record shows this: First, within the minds of Barack and Michelle Obama resides the grandiose, even megalomaniacal notion that they have the power to make the world as-it-is into the world-as-it-should be. Second, the Obamas look to talk-show host, Oprah Winfrey, as their "global role model" to effect this change. Third, as the Obamas' model for change, Oprah relentlessly promotes the grandiose New Age religion of her guru, Eckhart Tolle.
A closer look at these three narcissists and their widely-ignored interconnections is in order
The Malignant Narcissism of Oprah's Guru
Oprah's guru Eckhart Tolle is a troubled and troubling individual. He claims to have experienced "a reincarnation as a spiritual teacher" through a self-admitted psychotic episode. He is a case study in the development of the mental illness of malignant narcissism. Like the original Narcissus, Tolle is obsessed with the two-dimensional reflection of himself. In his The Power of Now, Tolle writes about what he learns from viewing his own image in a mirror:
Here, in a nutshell, Tolle expresses the fundamental delusion and extreme grandiosity of his own malignant narcissism. Tolle actually believes that he has become the greatest living spiritual teacher by overcoming "egoic delusion." But a mirror image is not true, but backwards. Tolle is not the greatest spiritual teacher in the world as he imagines, but one of the least competent. Such an enormous gap between presumption and reality is characteristic of malignant narcissism.
After Tolle made friends with his backwards image, his New Age doctrine began to jell, and as we might expect, it stands in stark contrast to the Judeo-Christian tradition. The God of the Old Testament is a mere projection of the human mind. Jesus is not the Son of God, but rather a "rare" human being. "The unconscious majority of the population" must "awaken" (to Tolle's teaching and greatness) and either "evolve or die." The Scriptures are only valid when interpreted by Tolle himself. That belief of his approaches the very ultimate in grandiose imaginings.
Beyond his backwards reflected image, Oprah's guru relies on something even more disturbing to change the world. It is a spirit or a force Tolle calls the "Source" which he claims resides within himself and Oprah, and within all those others who have learned through his teachings to "dissolve" their egos. That "Source" has told Tolle that the word of the God of the Bible is not reliable, that there is no death, and that he and Oprah both are as God, able to say of themselves "I Am That I Am." These things that the "Source" has told Oprah and Tolle are the exact same things the serpent told Eve in the ancient garden (Genesis 3:1-4, New International Version).
"I Am that I Am" is the Self-authenticating affirmation from God to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15). In Hebrew, this is YHVH, or Yahweh, the sacred name of God that is "to be remembered throughout all generations" (Exodus 3:15). Tolle's appropriation of this Name to himself is the very ultimate in grandiose imaginings.
Oprah's Malignant Narcissism
Oprah welcomes Tolle's preposterous claims with uncritical glee because they justify the adoration of her own backwards and exalted mirror image on her altar of self-worship. That Oprah is self-obsessed should be obvious. Her image has appeared on every cover of her monthly magazine since it was founded eight years ago. She prays to herself, asking how she can be used "to serve the greater calling that is my life?" She gives thanks for "the life that I have created now." Her giving is always a public production, ultimately about herself and the "good" she is doing. Even when she says she doesn't want to make it about her, it's about her.
Like her guru, Oprah mocks the Judeo-Christian tradition, insisting that "God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience. If God for you is still about a belief, then it's not truly God." Spirituality to Oprah is not God-centered, but self-centered. She says that spirituality "is about paying attention to your life -- always asking, in every moment, ‘What can I learn from this?'" Oprah is as delusional as her guru, believing that by spreading Tolle's doctrine and creating a global "new kind of tribe" which looks to her and her guru as saviors, she is "putting [her] ego in check." In reality, Oprah is doing nothing more than promoting a how-to book for latent narcissists.
In March of this year, Oprah intensified her efforts to make the world as it is the world as it should be by kicking off her ten-week global Internet online class touting Tolle's book, A New Earth, and its importance in raising everyone's "awareness." The interactive Web cast reached 500,000 people in more than 139 countries. Since that time, according to Oprah's Web site, millions more have downloaded Oprah's and Tolle's teachings, helping "human beings, all over the world, bring about a shift in consciousness."
Barack Obama's Malignant Narcissism
On May 20, two months after Oprah's global Internet kickoff, Time magazine published Michelle Obama's tribute to Oprah as part of its 100 most influential people of 2008. It read in part: "Oprah is a wonderful friend and an incredible force. Her friendship and support have meant so much to Barack and me . . . Using her platform to serve as a global role model, she challenges us [Barack and me] to make the world as it is the world as it should be. And she is always the first to show us how it can be done." What else could Michelle be referring to here but Oprah's most focused project, her global Internet campaign promoting the anti-Christian teachings of her pathologically narcissistic guru?
Three months later, in August, the overlooked imperious theme of Michelle Obama's convention speech looped right back to her Oprah tribute. That theme, entwined with much family fluff, was "the world as it should be." Mrs. Obama used that phrase four times, emphasizing that she and Barack are "committed" to "building the world as it should be." Michelle Obama's own carefully considered words, written in Time magazine, tell us that she and her husband imagine that they are going to effect this change by using Oprah Winfrey as their guide, inspiration, and "global role model."
When Barack speaks of himself as "a fellow citizen of the world," is he visualizing world peace becoming a reality through Oprah's expanding tribe? Don't doubt it. Michelle introduced Oprah in Iowa prior to Oprah's introducing Obama, gushing that the talk-show queen "touches the souls of so many of us" and "empowers us all." Michelle's "us" included Barack. In his Berlin speech, pretentiously entitled, "A World that Stands as One," the Oprah-empowered Barack said that the "walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down." That is exactly what Oprah is all about: promoting the lunacy that Tolle's teaching transcends and unites all religions. Once the Christians, Muslims, and Jews join Oprah's tribe and accept Oprah's guru as their chief prophet, then Presto: world peace!
Like Oprah and her guru, Barack Obama also mocks the Judeo-Christian tradition, claiming to be a "committed Christian" all the while welcoming Oprah's global anti-Christian crusade as a model to follow. (For more on Obama's fake Christianity, see "Obama's Faith, Family and Variable Values Tour" by Jan LaRue").
Let's review the connection between the narcissists: Barack Obama looks to Oprah Winfrey as his "global role model" for change. To effect this worldwide change, Oprah, in turn, relies on the "infallible" teachings of her guru, Eckhart Tolle. Tolle, in turn, looks in the mirror and makes friends with the backwards image of himself, thus enabling him, and others who see themselves in the same backwards way (Obama and Oprah), to "change the world." All three mock the Judeo-Christian tradition. All three are determined to remake the world "as it should be."
This is downright insanity, a malignantly narcissistic folie à trois. Counting Michelle Obama, it is a folie à quatre.
Best-selling author Dr. M. Scott Peck referred to malignant narcissists in his book title as The People of the Lie. Lying is what makes Tolle's, Oprah's, and Obama's narcissism malignant, or evil. True and false, right and wrong, do not have the same meaning to malignant narcissists as they do to sane people. What is true and right to the narcissist is whatever brings adoration and respect to his or her backwards, glorious, and depthless image. What is false and wrong is whatever harms that image.
Narcissus was an actor, as are all who succumb to his malady of self-obsession. Obama, Oprah, and even Tolle, are now star players on the world stage. The more grandiose the narcissist's image, the bigger the lies required to protect it. Oprah, her guru, and Obama all tell the same huge, egregiously reprehensible lie in different words. In a Christian nation, they cannot allow themselves to be seen as anti-Christian. That is why Oprah's website introduces her guru's virulently anti-Christian doctrine by asserting that it "is not for or against any religion." Not against Christianity? If the Scriptures appeared in front of Oprah and Tolle on baked clay tablets, they'd be taking sledgehammers to them. Obama would join right in. Referring to himself as a "committed Christian" is essentially the same huge lie Oprah and Tolle tell.
It is significant that Obama, Oprah, and Tolle all mock the Judeo-Christian tradition, because that tradition carries with it a standard of truth and conduct. According to the Ten Commandments, for example, idol worship and lying are wrong. Tolle, Oprah, and Obama, violate those commandments by worshiping their own images and lying to protect the imagined integrity of those images. Malignant narcissists cannot tolerate a spiritual or religious system of absolute standards. All morality must be self-referential. Thus, it wasn't the truth that led Oprah to endorse Obama but rather what she called "my own truth." Eckhart Tolle is Oprah's guru only because his mentally deranged worldview validates Oprah's "own truth."
In their efforts to remake our planet, Obama, Oprah, and Tolle are not looking toward a world that glorifies God or Christ. They look to be part of the reign of a different savior. According to Oprah, not only does Obama always tell the truth, he also knows how "to be the truth," a straightforward messianic reference. Obama's, Oprah's, and Tolle's "world as it should be" will be one that glorifies the two-dimensional, backwards, grandiose, greedy idol-images of themselves.
Within that morally upside-down world, the walls protecting our republican government and our Judeo-Christian values will crumble -- just as Obama said in Berlin that they must -- and our people will be sacrificed to the false god of malignant narcissism.
May the True God, our Creator, forbid such a dreadful future!