Nassir Ghaemi

  • Aired:  08/08/11
  •  | Views: 22,963

Psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi believes that mental illness can foster great leadership, but the Republican presidential candidates are too "normal." (6:54)

>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

THANK YOU.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS A NEW

BOOK CALLED A FIRST RATE

MADNESS WHICH I BELIEVE

STANDARD & POOR'S HAS JUST

DOWNGRADE FORD A THIRD RATE

INSANITY.

PLEASE WELCOME DR. NASSIER

GOMI.

HELLO, DOCTOR.

>> HI.

>> BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.

NOW, SIR, YOU HAVE A BOLD

PROPOSITION.

>> YES.

>> IN YOUR NEW BOOK.

FIRST YOU ARE A PROFESSOR OF

PSYCHIATRY, TUFTS MEDICAL

CENTRE IN BOSTON.

YOU ALSO HAVE A POSITION AT

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, I

BELIEVE.

AND YOU DIRECT THE MOOD

DISORDERS PROGRAM AT TUFTS

MEDICAL IN BOSTON.

YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK CALLED A

FIRST RATE MADNESS.

UNCOVERING THE LINKS BETWEEN

LEADERSHIP AND MENTAL

ILLNESS.

YOU SAY IN TIMES OF CRISIS

IT'S NOT SUCH A BAD THING

FOR OUR LEADERS TO BE A

LITTLE UNHINGED.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SO YOU'RE SAYING

YOU SHOULD HAVE A MAD MAN

WITH HIS FINGER ON THE

BUTTON.

>> TO KEEP US SAFE.

>> THAT'S ONE WAY OF PUTTING

IT.

>> Stephen: I CAN'T THINK OF

ANOTHER.

WHAT DO MEAN.

WHY IS-- WHY IS A FIRST RATE

MADNESS A GOOD IDEA?

>> WELL, WHAT I FOUND WAS

THAT A LOT OF OUR GREATEST

LEADERS HAVE MENTAL

ILLNESSES OR ARE MENTALLY

ABNORMALLAL AND A LOT OF OUR

ABNORMAL AND A LOT OF OUR

WORST LEADERS ARE MENTALLY

HEALTHY.

AND THERE'S EVIDENCE FROM

DIFFERENT STUDIES AND

PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY

THAT THERE ARE BENEFITS TO

SOME MENTAL ILLNESSES, NOT

ALL OF THEM, LIKE MANIA AND

DEPRESSION.

FOR INSTANCE MANIC PEOPLE

TEND TO BE MORE CREATIVE

THAN NORMAL PEOPLE.

DEPRESSED PEOPLE TEND TO

HAVE MORE EMPATHY.

AND ARE MORE REALISTIC IN

EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES IN

THEIR ASSESSMENT

OF THEIR CONTROL OF THE

ENVIRONMENT.

>> SO A MANIC-DEPRESSIVE

PERSON HAS THE WHOLE

PACKAGE.

>> RIGHT.

(LAUGHTER)

THEY HAVE THE MANIA, THEY

HAVE THE EGO YOU MIGHT SAY

TO THINK HEY, I COULD BE

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

STATES.

COULD RUN THINGS.

>> NOT SO MUCH THAT.

I THINK A LOT OF NORMAL

PEOPLE HAVE AMBITION AND

WANT POWER.

THE MANIC PATIENTS, PEOPLE

ARE MORE CREATIVE.

AND IN TIMES OF CRISIS, YOU

NEED THAT KIND OF CREATIVITY.

>> Stephen: WHO IS THE

PRESIDENT WHO SHOWED A MANIC

CREATIVITY IN TIMES OF

CRISIS.

>> FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT.

HE HAD MILD MANIC SYSTEMS

THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE WHICH

PSYCHIATRISTS CALL

HYPERTHALAMIC PERSONALITY

AND I DON'T THINK IT IS AN

ACCIDENT THAT HE CAME UP

WITH ALL OF THE THINGS THAT

HE DID IN THE NEW DEAL.

>> Stephen: SO YOU ARE

AGREEING WITH ME, THAT THE

NEW DEAL WAS THE WORK OF A

MADMAN?

(LAUGHTER)

SOCIAL SECURITY, WORK

PROGRESSION ADMINISTRATION

GOVERNMENT CREATING JOBS IS

A MAD IDEA.

>> IT WAS A BRILLIANT MAD

IDEA.

>> Stephen: YOU MAKE HIM

SOUND LIKE A MAD SCIENTIST.

>> NO, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE

THINGS ABOUT MANIA IS THAT

IT DOES CAUSE A PERSON TO

HAVE MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF

THOUGHTS, MANY OF WHICH ARE

CREATIVE.

CONNECTIONS HAPPEN BECAUSE

THE THOUGHTS ARE GOING FAST

AND IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS

IN A WAY THAT IN MENTALLY

HEALTHY AVERAGE PEOPLE DON'T

HAPPEN.

>> Stephen: LET'S TALK ABOUT

THE CURRENT CROP OF

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

RUNNING--

(LAUGHTER)

WHICH OF THEM DO YOU THINK

SEEMS THE MOST CREATIVE?

(LAUGHTER)

>> I HAVE TO SAY, YOU ASKED

JUST THE RIGHT QUESTION

BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE

SHOULD BE ASKING ABOUT OUR

CLEAT LEADERS.

WHO ARE CREATIVE, RESILIENT,

EMPATHIC AND REALISTIC.

THESE ARE THE FOUR TRAITS OF

LEADERSHIP THAT GROW OUT OF

MANIA AND DEPRESSION.

AND WE WILL GET PEOPLE LIKE

THAT AND WE SHOULD ACCEPT

THEM.

>> Stephen: WHO.

>> I HAVE TO SAY I HAVEN'T

NOTICED ONE OF THEM TO HAVE

A LOT OF THOSE QUALITIES.

>> Stephen: SO THEY ARE ALL

JUST TOO NORMAL.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: IS OBAMA NORMAL?

>> HE SAYS HE IS.

HE SAYS HE'S WELL ADJUSTED

TO QUOTE HIM IN AN INTERVIEW

FROM A CAMPAIGN.

AND HE WAS CERTAINLY

PACKAGED AS NO DRAMA OBAMA,

ALL CALM AND NORMAL IF

THAT'S THE CASE HE MAY NOT

BE UP TO THE CRISES WE HAVE

TODAY.

BUT MY HUNCH IS READING HIS

MEMOIR WHICH WAS WRITTEN

LONG BEFORE HE RAN FOR

PRESIDENT, THAT HE MAY BE

MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.

AND THAT MAY BE A GOOD

THING.

>> Stephen: YOU KNOW WHAT,

ONE WAY TO GET A BETTER

LEADER ONCE THEY ARE IN

OFFICE IS TO-- IS TO GAS

LIGHT THEM AND MAKE THEIR

CRAZY, WHICH MIGHT BE WHAT

THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN

DOING ALL ALONG, JUST TO

HELP OBAMA.

I MEAN THE TEA PARTY COULD

BE THERAPY FOR HIM.

(LAUGHTER)

>> WELL, YOU'RE BORN WITH

THIS, GENERALLY.

IT'S GENETIC.

>> Stephen: IT GENETIC.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: SO PERHAPS WE

SHOULD TAKE LIKE CHEEK

SCRAPINGS OF OUR LEADERS TO

FIND OUT IF THERE IS A MILD

PROPENSITY--

OR PERHAPS WE SHOULD HAVE A

RESERVE PRESIDENT WHO IS

PERHAPS NOT QUITE AS

BALANCED AS THE MAIN

PRESIDENT, AND WE UNLEASH

HIM WHEN THING GOES BAD.

>> THAT WOULD BE ONE IDEA.

BUT I THINK ANOTHER WAY TO

DO IT IS JUST LUKE WE HAVE

THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

RELEASE THEIR MEDICAL

RECORDS AND IN A MATTER OF

FACT WAY WE ASSESS THAT,

MAYBE WE SHOULD LEARN ABOUT

THEIR PSYCHIATRIC BACKGROUND

IN A MATTER OF FACT WAY,

EXCEPT THAT SOME ABNORMALITY

IS QUITE GOOD.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT

REAGAN?

HE HANDLED THE UNITED STATES

BEAUTIFULLY IN A TIME OF

CRISIS GOING UP AGAINST THE

SOVIET UNION, OBVIOUSLY THE

INVASION OF GRENADA, AND HE

WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL.

HIS IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, BEING

WILD WAS TO PUT TWO

DIFFERENT FLAVORED JELLY

BEANS IN HIS MOUTH AT THE

SAME TIME.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: DO YOU SEE

ANYTHING IN REAGAN,

WAS THERE ANYTHING IN HIS

PAST THAT WOULD SUGGEST THE

KIND OF CREATIVE OPPORTUNITY

THAT A MENTAL ILLNESS MIGHT

BRING?

>> I WOULD AGREE WITH YOU

THAT REAGAN WAS PERFECTLY

NORMAL.

I'M NOT SURE I WOULD AGREE

WITH YOU ABOUT HIS GREAT

LEADERSHIP.

I THINK WE HAVE HAD-- .

>> Stephen: YOU HE

PERSONALLY KICKED DOWN THE

BERLIN WALL, SIR.

>> DID HE?

(LAUGHTER)

IN THE LIST OF NORMAL

AVERAGE LEADERS WHO WE'VE HAVE

HAD WHO MANY PEOPLE WOULD

SAY HAVE TO THE BEEN VERY

SUCCESSFUL, THE ONES THAT I

THINK THERE WOULD BE LITTLE

DEBATE ABOUT WOULD BE PEOPLE

LIKE GENERAL GEORGE

McCLELLAN AND NEVILLE

CHAMBERLAIN IN WORLD WAR II

AND MAYBE IN RECENT TIMES A

LOT OF OUR RECENT PRESIDENTS

INCLUDING REAGAN, AND OTHERS

WHO HAVE MAYBE SOME

SUCCESSES.

BUT MORE RECENTLY MAYBE

GEORGE W. BUSH HERE, MAYBE

TONY BLAIR IN ENGLAND,-- .

>> Stephen: BUSH WAS NORMAL

WATCH.

ABOUT CHENEY?

(LAUGHTER)

>> HE DIDN'T HAVE HIS FINGER

ON THE BUTTON, SO I DON'T

KNOW IF HE COUNTS.

>> Stephen: HE HAD HIS

FINGER ON THE FINGER ON THE

BUTTON.

>> GOOD POINT, GOOD POINT.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO

MUCH.

THE BOOK IS A FIRST RATE

MADNESS.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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