BRAIN FOOD: Are you suffering from... Icarus Syndrome

The Icarus Syndrome describes people who get carried away by their own success. They begin to believe that, like Icarus, they can ignore what normal mortals cannot. Some would say they purposely cruise close to the sun just to see what happens (after all, they've played with the balance sheets before and no-one noticed). Having risen to these heights, sufferers seek greater thrills, the greatest of which is the unconscious hatching of their own annihilation. Government leaders, heads of industry and movie stars are typical victims of this syndrome, which usually ends in impeachment, disgrace or prison. Treatment is difficult: part of having the syndrome is believing that you're cleverer than everyone else. After all, you made it into the House of Lords, didn't you? The best treatment is none: sooner or later all Icaruses become victims of their own hubris and fall flat on their face.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor,
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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