The Cult of Narcissistic Personality

Image: "Meeting the Borg Queen" by Eddi Van W/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: “Meeting the Borg Queen” by Eddi Van W/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Big thanks to our reader Nomad, for this guest post. He has shared many of his thoughts about this topic in comments over the years, I asked him if he could consolidate his ideas into a single post.

I feel very grateful that he has shared this insight, and I invite anyone reading this to also share your own opinions. My thoughts are at the end. Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have any of your own insights on the topic? Have you ever dealt with NPD people, in the workplace, in festivals, or in a philanthropic situation?

Listen to this while you read, I also recommend you watch the Vaknin cartoon video below.

 


 

NPD and the BOrg

by Nomad Traveler

We are all familiar with narcissism, but just like inattention can manifest as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. And just like ADD, NPD is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

MAYO CLINIC. As summarized on the Mayo Clinic web site:

“DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

– Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

– Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

Exaggerating your achievements and talents

– Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

– Requiring constant admiration

– Having a sense of entitlement

– Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations

Taking advantage of others to get what you want

– Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

– Being envious of others and believing others envy you

– Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner”

 

Further from the Mayo Clinic:

“Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection..

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

 

TED TALKS. Issues also surface when you consider morality and those who seem to be exempt from those constraints, like NPDs:

malignant self love vakninSAM VAKNIN. One of the most respected authorities for NPD is Sam Vaknin, a self-identified narcissist. He has written what some forensic psychiatrists (MDs who diagnose people and testify in court) consider the seminal reference on NPD: Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. He has also popularized the practical understanding of NPD in online social media, including techniques to help others deal with NPDs in their life. Many cite the value of his advice.

He offers this good basic tutorial on basic NPD:

1. Shamelessness. Inability to process shame in a healthy way.
2. Magical Thinking. See themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion, and dump shame on others.
3. Arrogance. Elevate selves by degrading others.
4. Envy. Use contempt to minimize others.
5. Entitlement. Consider themselves superior.
6. Exploitation. Using others without regard for their feelings or interests.
7. Bad Boundaries. Others are extensions of themselves, and exist only to serve their needs.

BUT WHAT DOES NPD HAVE TO DO WITH THE BORG?

The purpose of any model is to explain observed phenomenon. Mysterious behavior disappears when you have a good model to explain what you see. While the true function of gravity is still unknown (gravitons and such), you need not understand Einstein to see the value of Newton’s equations to predict how gravity affects our everyday lives. In fact, that a dropping a cue ball and bowling ball show they fall at the same rate is fully explained by Newton, though it may be counter-intuitive to many people.

So, the value of psychological models can help us understand what others do. They establish patterns of behavior that we can recognize and let us predict what will happen, even though they may be counter-intuitive to typical people.

From the basic individual NPD traits in the video, we can see the core in what the BOrg does:

  1. Shamlessness. Others are always to blame.
  2. Magical Thinking. They see things to operate in a special way for them, distinct from others.
  3. Bad Boundaries. Others are extensions of themselves, and exist only to serve their needs.

As for (3.) Arrogance, (4.) Envy, (5.) Entitlement and (6.) Exploitation, they are better expressed in the group behavior.

But can a group, company or association of people have NPD? Vaknin recommends this reading:

http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/14.html

With this DSM-like criteria, “Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:”

The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group –

  1. Feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., they exaggerate the group’s achievements and talents to the point of lying, demand to be recognized as superior – simply for belonging to the group and without commensurate achievement).
  2. Are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering ideals or political theories.
  3. Are firmly convinced that the group is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions).
  4. Require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
  5. Feel entitled. They expect unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment. They demand automatic and full compliance with expectations. They rarely accept responsibility for their actions (“alloplastic defences”). This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
  6. Are “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
  7. Are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups. This often leads to anti- social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
  8. Are constantly envious of others or believe that they feel the same about them. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
  9. Are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.”

(Let me note that an aspect that Vaknin often misses is that the envy thing (8.) is more often expressed in NPD as imagining that others envy them, rather than them envying others, though that may be the root cause.)

 

THE BORG. While clinical diagnosing a whole organization is not practical, the NPD model explains what the BOrg has and will do.   Using the criteria above:

  1. Feel grandiose and self-important. Perhaps best illustrated by how little importance they give to any others.
  2. Are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success. They imagine that they possess some special or magical secret to creating the NV burn, largely unspecified. The most they have formalized at the Tin Principles, but perhaps for fear that is giving too much away – or they just get in the way – they are all to ready to compromise them.
  3. Are firmly convinced that the group is unique only understood by and associate with other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions). They are all too ready to define themselves as an elevated, elite group that cannot associate directly with mere mortals.
  4. Require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation or to be feared and notorious (narcissistic supply). In all contexts they must be praised for their unique traits (1.-3.) and they seek this admiration and reject those who do not provide this. The concept of constructive criticism is foreign to their world.
  5. Feel entitled, expect unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment, demand automatic and full compliance with expectations, while rarely accept responsibility for their actions. Their word is golden and cannot be questioned. Those who would defy this premise must be ostracized prima facia, without consideration of the merit of what may be said.
  6. Are “interpersonally exploitative”, using others to achieve their own ends. This defines the BOrg business model, relying on others to create the NV burn. They always having intermediaries to do their bidding, such as the Regional Contacts, who are tightly controlled puppets.
  7. Are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups. They cannot see the hardships they impose on burners.
  8. Believe others envy them. They can only understand others as those who envy them and their power, ignoring that others – the burners – are those that create the NV burn.
  9. Are arrogant with haughty behaviors or attitudes with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This is their world or magical thinking, where they degrade or use contempt to minimize others. They do all they can to retaliate against anyone who challenges them.

 

While we may see one or two of these traits in others from time to time, it is unusual for there to be a consistent pattern to the point of consistently predicting behavior. But if the model fits, it can arm the observer so as to not be surprised or frustrated by these actions. As much as you might think and want the bowling ball to fall faster than the cue ball, it just does not happen.


 

burnersxxx:

thanks so much Nomad for this detailed and informative post.

Please share your thoughts, readers – vote in our poll below, and comment on this post.

“The Borg” is a somewhat nebulous term. The pyramid structure that creates Burning Man can be broadly divided into these groups:

  1. The Founders  – the 6 owners of Decommodification, LLC, the main assets of Burning Man, The Business
  2. The Board – 17 people
  3. “Larry & Co” aka “McLarry” – the group of actual decision makers
  4. The Insiders – select individuals at Alabama HQ
  5. The Rest – paid employees and contractors of all of the above, who don’t get to go on the junkets
  6. The Volunteers – Burners who freely give their time to work Gate, DPW, Man Crew, Rangers, Ramparts, Arctica, Center Camp, and all the other many and various aspects of the city which Burners pay for with time and money.
  7. OSS: Outside Services Contractors, pumping and dumping RVs and camps for the highest bidders
  8. Burners: the ones who fund the art, bring the art, bring the party, and make the party. Oh, for those who insist Burning Man is more that just a party, they’re the ones who bring the yoga and speeches and fire twirling and body painting and foam scrubs and jiffy lubes and whatever else you want. BURNERS.
  9. Special Burners: the ones who might give a large donation, especially if they’ve never been before. The ones who pay $800+ for a $400 ticket because they think they’re “subsidzing the poor”. These Burners pay $10,000+ for luxury camping, and bring paid Sherpas to help with their experience. They may use concierge services to prepare for the Burn, commission costumes and art cars, and bring catering companies. Some even fly in the ingredients for french toast on private aircraft (I guess other stuff msut have been filling the fridge in their RV!)
  10. Tourists: safari campers looking for a bucket list experience, spectators who bring nothing to the party.

Apologies if I forgot any important sub-groups that are needed to make the city tick.

This is the structure of Black Rock City. I mean there’s more, details, factions, etc…I’m sure many Burners think “there’s no such thing as Special Burners, the idea that some Burners are more special than others is against our Principles”…and I tend to agree. However it is clear from this and this and this, just a few recent examples, that there are some Burners who are treated as more special than others by the ruling group.

Generally, when I refer to “BMOrg”, I mean numbers 1 through 5. Nomad has written this analysis specifically about “the Borg”, by which he means the ruling group, which would be #3 above. I feel this  model can apply to any of the sub-groups, and is a useful lens to apply when trying to understand their actions. The groups lower on the pyramid are more likely to be motivated by entertainment or other, more positive things.

What are some possible motivations of the ruling group?

 

175 comments on “The Cult of Narcissistic Personality

  1. Pingback: What’s Up With Low-Income Tickets This Year?  | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

    • “…pathologies of risk-taking…”
      “…it becomes much more noticeable when we get into bubbles and everyone is making a lot of money…”
      “…the way they talk, the way they walk changes…”

      On male testosterone:
      “…it increases confidence and appetite for risk…”
      “…effective risk-taking turns into risky behavior..”

      On members of Parliament:
      “…rouge behavior in leaders once they get into their second or third term, there are no restraints on their power…”

      Like

  2. Wish I’d have seen this earlier. The main question here is whether psychological assessments of people are directly applicable in a social science context. If you are talking about a group, shouldn’t we be discussing BMorg in sociology vernacular? I’m not sure there is a right answer because if this is an appropriate application, then nearly every corporation and government organization should earn the label “psychopath.” (To the extent that so many actions exhibit selfish, impulsive actions with a complete lack of empathy for others).

    I agree that something is wrong with BMorg. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is for a decade, especially after volunteering with some of their admin teams. To apply sociology, they do a lot of GROUPTHINK. Wikipedia (I know, many feel this is a tainted resources, but this particular definition articulates it very well)…

    Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

    Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup”). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”.

    Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.


    If you’ve ever been directly marginalized by BMorg, this must resonate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I pointed out, Vaknin’s link makes the argument that certain organizations exhibit NPD behavior. If you look at his “group” NPD factors, you can see that they generally apply to the Borg, but in fact don’t apply to most others. Try it yourself. Unless the group has some sort of hold on it’s members, it has to work to the satisfaction of their members or customers, or they do not survive if they play NPD games.

      I have also found that, unlike individuals, when a group starts to do NPD things, often relying on groupthink as you outlined, you can often challenge the particular NPD behaviors and get them to correct them. But that is only if they have not gotten into the magical thinking and groupthink dogma by the members. If that’s the case, as with an individual with NPD, you have to extricate yourself from the situation.

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  3. Vaknin does not offer attractive paths for the NPD-abused to come to closure:

    “For her traumatic wounds to heal, the victim of abuse requires closure – one final interaction with her tormentor in which he, hopefully, acknowledges his misbehaviour and even tenders an apology. Fat chance. Few abusers – especially if they are narcissistic – are amenable to such weakling pleasantries. More often, the abused are left to wallow in a poisonous stew of misery, self-pity, and self-recrimination.

    Depending on the severity, duration, and nature of the abuse, there are three forms of effective closure.

    Conceptual Closure

    This most common variant involves a frank dissection of the abusive relationship. The parties meet to analyze what went wrong, to allocate blame and guilt, to derive lessons, and to part ways cathartically cleansed. In such an exchange, a compassionate offender (quite the oxymoron, admittedly) offers his prey the chance to rid herself of cumulating resentment.

    He also disabuses her of the notion that she, in any way, was guilty or responsible for her maltreatment, that it was all her fault, that she deserved to be punished, and that she could have saved the relationship (malignant optimism). With this burden gone, the victim is ready to resume her life and to seek companionship and love elsewhere.

    Retributive Closure

    When the abuse has been “gratuitous” (sadistic), repeated, and protracted, conceptual closure is not enough. Retribution is called for, an element of vengeance, of restorative justice and a restored balance. Recuperation hinges on punishing the delinquent and merciless party. The penal intervention of the Law is often therapeutic to the abused.

    Some victims delude themselves into believing that their abuser is experiencing guilt and conscience pangs (which is rarely the case). They revel in his ostensible self-inflicted torment. His sleepless nights become their sweet revenge.

    Regrettably, the victim’s understandable emotions often lead to abusive (and illegal) acts. Many of the tormented stalk their erstwhile abusers and take the law into their own hands. Abuse tends to breed abuse all around, in both prey and predator.

    Dissociative Closure

    Absent the other two forms of closure, victims of egregious and prolonged mistreatment tend to repress their painful memories. In extremis, they dissociate. The Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – formerly known as “Multiple Personality Disorder” – is thought to be such a reaction. The harrowing experiences are “sliced off”, tucked away, and attributed to “another personality”.

    Sometimes, the victim “assimilates” his or her tormentor, and even openly and consciously identifies with him. This is the narcissistic defence. In his own anguished mind, the victim becomes omnipotent and, therefore, invulnerable. He or she develops a False Self. The True Self is, thus, shielded from further harm and injury.

    According to psychodynamic theories of psychopathology, repressed content rendered unconscious is the cause of all manner of mental health disorders. The victim thus pays a hefty price for avoiding and evading his or her predicament.”

    http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/abuse17.html

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  4. Pingback: BMOrg Plots World Domination at Hippie HQ | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  5. Just saw this 2012 blog article about the first selective ticketing and the Borg:
    https://alyssaroyse.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/burning-the-man-burning-mans-ticket-pr-fiasco/

    Let’s see: her points are that the Borg should:

    1. OWN IT!
    2. FEEL THEIR PAIN.
    3. BE HUMAN.
    4. MEET THEM WHERE THEY’RE AT.
    5. TAKE YOUR CUES FROM YOUR PEOPLE.
    6. MAKE ACTUAL CHANGE, CAREFULLY.

    Can you think of a reason she had to give them this advice?

    Unfortunately, other than propaganda, this advice had not been taken. It is interesting how the Borg’s NPD did not really kick in until the ticketing sellout. It put them in charge of who comes to their private party, and they have milked it for every last drop of NPD supplies. The NV burn, with the Borg now clearly in charge of who comes, is not your father’s Burning Man. They have pretty much made sure that the wrong people (in my book) get first pick.

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  6. Pingback: 2015 (Almost) Final MOOP Map Released | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  7. A recent HBR article quotation highlighted by the forensic psychiatrist on my favorite topic:

    “Narcissistic leaders can create companies like Apple or those like Enron. Like Lincoln and Nelson Mandela they can change the world for the better, or like Napoleon and Hitler they can lead their followers to disaster. In the final accounting, a large part of the credit for their successes, or blame for their failures, belongs to the people who followed them.”

    https://hbr.org/2015/08/why-people-are-drawn-to-narcissists-like-donald-trump

    Like

  8. It appears that the BOrg’s NPD has them perceive very little cost to what they do to manipulate the NV burn and burners. And so, they are very afraid to change the cost calculus in their habits. 😉

    “We’re interested in repetitive behavior because our creative brain is resting on this giant glacier of habit. It’s this wonderful mechanism that frees us up,” Graybiel says. “But also it would be a dream to be able to learn more about diseases that involve unhealthy repetitive behavior by understanding the wiring and what can go wrong.”

    http://news.mit.edu/2015/neurons-drive-habit-0819

    Like

  9. Pingback: Too Loud For Burning Man Part II: Dictators in a Dysfunctional Dystopia | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

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  11. Watch out because I’m going to say something nice here. I disagree with Burnersxxx’s point of view and I think the NPD thing is silly. That being said, I’m kinda an asshole. Burnersxxx could have blocked me and he never has. I may think he is wrong, but he does have integrity.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Wanted: Someone To Make The Whole Dream Come True | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  13. Based on my experience and observation, I have always thought that the Burner community at its core is driven by traits of narcissism and entitlement, not just something with the BMOrg. Creative people in general tend to behave that way, going all the way back to high school, where many of the “art kids” carried around a “better than thou” attitude, it is not surprising that the BM community, with all of its “creative people”, would tend to skew that way as well.

    There are even studies that show that narcissism breeds belief in one’s own creativity: http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/narcissism-breeds-belief-ones-creativity-67608 – doesn’t mean they are actually better artists; but they believe that they are.

    To add fuel to an already dysfunctional fire, it is also apparent that the BM community attracts the crowd that are attracted to the artists and creative community in a way that is not always healthy. This strange attraction can lead to putting not-so-great people on pedestals and an Emperor’s New Clothes mentality which makes the feeling to be part of the “cool crowd” stronger than calling out people for their selfish or hurtful behavior; especially for many that grew up socially awkward and are finally getting their first taste of being around the popular crowd.

    As they say, don’t hate the player; hate the game.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, which is why I tried to flesh out the “Burner pyramid” a little more – although Nomad wrote the post about the Ruling Group, I believe it is a useful lens through which we can consider many Burning Man actions, in the past and in the future, and with a mixture of different groups.

      It would be simple to say “Burning Man is just a party” and none of this would be relevant, but since it’s “Burning Man is so much more than a party” and then opinions differ about what it actually is, there are many conflicting motivations at play.

      The Radical Inclusion idea that we will kick Veteran Burners out to make way for new, untested weirdos and freaks – because this is nirvana for social misfits – adds fuel to the already dysfunctional fire, as you so eloquently put it.

      Like

  14. Nomad, which mental disorder should I apply to you based on your repeated and now predictable, albeit somewhat inexplicable, focus on using NPD to describe everything a group of 30+ people do? By your reasoning, such a model is needed in order to categorize people into this or that box for the purpose of explaining past behavior and predicting future behavior. And the need for this model, as far as I can tell, is to establish a sense of order amongst the everyday chaos of human dynamics? That’s probably comforting, but for most people its reductive. At any rate, from now on I’m writing off all your NPD posts to OCD. You have OCD, Nomad. It’s the only way to explain your behavior, and now that I’ve labeled you, I feel like I can both control for my reactions to you, while simultaneously write you off and compartmentalize you. Damn, you’ve been right all along! This is liberating! From having to deal with people as fallible human beings, I mean.

    Like

    • I think Nomad suffers from the same disorder as the org…being human. Humans are pattern seeking animals. It reduces stress in a chaotic world. It doesn’t matter if the pattern is real or not. He’s caught in a loop. He has this model and the only data that gets through his filter is that which confirms his theory.

      Like

      • Or perhaps it’s just your data that is being discounted as worthless. Garbage in, garbage out … The garbage doesn’t mean the model is invalid, just the operator

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        • We are not ignoring anything. Have JV or I ever said the org does everything right? We just don’t see imperfection as sinister or feel it needs any explanation beyond the fact that humans are imperfect.

          Like

        • You however, who bitch constantly about transparency, refuse to tell me what the org has said to you when you’ve asked for the financial information you say they are hiding. I suspect that is because you’ve never actually asked and you are embarrassed to admit it and to say so would undermine your accusation of a lack of transparency. Irony thy name is Burnersxxx.

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          • You’re giving me some good ideas for stories and further investigation . When I get back to San Francisco, I might take you up on them and dig deeper into some of these. I thought I’d done these topics to death, but obviously some readers still have questions. Your story requests are on the list now.

            Like

          • So you’ve never actually asked!!!!! Hahahaha. Hey mister Emperor…I don’t think you realize you’re shirtcocking…

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          • Stop putting words into my mouth, Pooh. I said nothing even remotely like that.

            There are plenty of conversations I have had with people who work for burning man that I’m not going to share publicly. I don’t feel the need to say any more right now.

            Like

          • And I’m not talking about background conversations and rumors. I asking when have you made a direct information request, as a journalist, through official channels.

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          • Bloggers are considered journalists. All you have to do is call them, say you are the person who writes the Burners.me blog and ask for the financial information you believe you need to support your arguments. If they decline, you have something to write about. But complaining about transparency when you haven’t asked is chickenshit.

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          • The Burning Man reporter of the Reno Gazette Journal newspaper, Jenny Kane, queried the BMOrg in regards of disclosing the hidden financials of the BRC LLC, dba Burning Man, but, the BMOrg will not disclose the financials. Within January, the BMOrg stated, towards her, of they were not of the ability to disclose the financials, towards her, in due of the financials of 2014 were within an audit. Within her article, today, upon the Nevada levy rubbish, she states of ‘Burning Man has not yet disclosed the revenue that it generates from ticket sales each year, but the Internal Revenue Service documents revealing the numbers are expected this fall.’

            In the manner of an example of a 501(c)3 corporation whom desires transparency towards donors, quite the opposite of the manner of the BMOrg, Kaboom publishes, upon their website, their consolidated financial statements each February, upon of when the financials are audited, and publishes their form 990 upon their website, upon of when the form 990 is due within May. The BMOrg requires of the regionals to publish the detailed financials of the regionals, excepting of what might occur in regards of the cash that might remain, upon their websites, after the regionals occur. The BMOrg will solely send their form 990 towards the U.S. government, after an extension of six months, near to November 15, and publish their form 990 within January of the next year. The BMOrg will not disclose of their consolidated financial statements, or disclose of the detailed financials of the Burning Man event, they desire to hide the $30.5 million of ‘Where Does Your Ticket Money Go’ from donors of cash, stock, labour, art, and entertainment towards their ticket buyers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • My belief is this is purposed to hide the financials from donors of cash, stock, labour, art, and entertainment towards their $30.5 million of ticket buyers, as long of time as the BMOrg might do so. My belief is it might be of most benefit to the Project, for the BMOrg to treat the Burner community in a most fair manner, purposed towards the benefit of good will towards the Project, and purposed towards the benefit of the reputation of the Project, in the place of hiding the financials in due of personal rationales of the BMOrg, of whatever their rationales might be. The Burning Man event, at present, is not within the control of a private LLC, it is within the control of a 501(c)3 non profit public benefit corporation, and my belief is the actions of the BMOrg must be purposed for the benefit of the 501(c)3 Project.

            My belief is the Project board must vote to require of the BMOrg to act within a manner of most benefit to the Project upon the matters of disclosing of the financials, and of any, perchance, conflicts of interests, in a transparent manner, towards donors, in the manner of Kaboom, and in the manner of the regionals.

            In addendum, my belief is the Project board must vote to require of the BMOrg to negotiate a most fair contract, with the artists, within good faith, in the place of within the manner of ‘The hearts and minds closed with the doors at Alabama Street and they need to be reopened.’ The Project board might vote in regards of an independent mediator, between the BMOrg and the artists, whom reports towards the Project board, purposed for the benefit of the reputation of the Project, in due of the Project is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whom throws art events, in the manner of Burning Man, and the good will, of the artists, is of most benefit towards the Project.

            Liked by 1 person

          • As a 501(c)3 the board is already required by law to act on n a way that is beneficial to the project without unduly enriching themselves. If you believe they have violated this trust, you can bring your evidence to a DA or the IRS.

            Like

          • As you know, Pooh Bear, I did not pen any statements in the manner of ‘unduly enriching themselves’. All they have done is within the bylaws of the Project, or priorly, within the manner of a private corporation of when they were the owners of the BRC LLC, dba Burning Man.

            In the manner of within my comment, my belief is the decisions, of the two, or three, of the BMorg, of hiding the financials of the BRC LLC and of the $30.5 million of ticket sales for as long as they might from donors of cash, stock, labour, art, and entertainment towards their ticket buyers, and of not negotiating, within good faith, a most fair contract with the awesome artists, is quite the opposite of making decisions purposed for the benefit of the Project. In the manner of within my comments, my belief is the Project board must vote upon these matters purposed for the benefit of the Project.

            Others, perchance, might not agree with my beliefs. All are most welcome to click upon the links, within my comments, purposed to gain knowledge upon these matters.

            Like

          • As you have pointed out yourself, the financials aren’t hidden, they aren’t finished. This is the first year they have to run the first financials for the non-profit. they are wisely going through an audit to make sure this is being done correctly, and the financials will be available in the fall.

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          • As you know, Pooh Bear, the financials of 2014 were within an audit near to the end of January of 2015, which is of the meaning of the BMOrg, and the auditors, finished, and signed, the financials of 2014 within the beginnings of February of 2015. The Project board is of the ability to vote to require of the BMOrg to publish the hidden financials of 2014.

            29 January 2015 ‘While all of the information required from the Internal Revenue Service is in the documents, Miller said, Burning Man cannot yet disclose revenue information from this past year’s festival, nor the one prior since the organization currently is undergoing an outside audit for 2013 and 2014.’

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          • While I realize English is not your first language (you actually are doing quite well) you seem to be misunderstanding the statement. It makes it clear that while there are numbers there, they are not yet confident in them. Thus the audit. They have targeted this fall to have the audit done and release information they are confident in. That’s what the RGJ article says.

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    • Well, almost right. But you missed the application of the model. At no point did I suggest you “write off” NPD people. OCD, like NPD, has a set of behavior. Once you can map enough of my behavior into that model to your satisfaction, you can then use that model to predict my future actions – a list I would sincerely like to see. (Seriously.) Then to manage how to deal with me, you need a respected Vaknin-like reference, endorsed by psychiatrists (not psychologists), that outlines what to do with OCD people.

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        • Pooh is for rhetorical amusement. A battle of wits with an unarmed man. He does not rise to the level of needing analysis to deal with. I have no investment in what he is wasting time on here, unless he works at my alma mater.

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      • BTW, I deal with multiple organizations as clients, and contribute my time to two stone soup operations. I have not found the NPD pattern in any of them, though the organizational failings of the BOrg have illuminated problems to advise my involvement with one, problems that the other does not have.

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      • “Then to manage how to deal with me, you need a respected Vaknin-like reference, endorsed by psychiatrists (not psychologists), that outlines what to do with OCD people.”

        I need no such thing, I’d deal with you as a human being, not as a collection of behavioral traits shoehorned into a label. There’s no owner’s manual for a person. Again, that’s reductive and insulting to individuals. IF ONLY there was an owner’s manual, I get your frustration there. Believe me, as a parent, I’d love one.

        It is helpful to know and understand what motivates people, and of course there are personality types that most people fall into, although that can shift from day to day and year to year. But yours and burnerxxx’s attempt to reduce what motivates a group of 30+ people down to a single, identifiable model that can explain their every move (although mostly just the ones you disagree with), seems like a futile attempt to place intention on what are mostly situations that had unexpected outcomes. The ticketing and will call situations come to mind. For you to suggest that the BMORG intentionally created a situation that would bring inconvenience to burners reeks of the need for order.

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        • Most people have little or no Disorders (the “D”) in their behavior, and/or the psychiatric professionals have not found the need to codify it in the DSM. As such, most people behave normal in a normal range of responses and cannot be modeled in a predictive manner more than in a statistical manner. Only when it is a repeating and neurotic or pathological problem for an individual does it need to be defined in a model.

          If gravity was inconsequential in everyday life, like the weak nuclear force, no need to have Newton’s equations to design a bridge. But since it is something to deal with, we need a model to define it in a repeatable manner. So, in some cases, behavior needs to be modeled. If not, there are a lot of people working at the FBI that are wasting our money.

          As to “you to suggest that the BMORG intentionally created a situation that would bring inconvenience to burners,” that is not something I have said. I said they did things without regard to the burners, not intentionally inconvenient. Most of us consider the implications of our actions on others involved. The NPD model predicts for individuals:

          6. Exploitation. Using others without regard for their feelings or interests.
          7. Bad Boundaries. Others are extensions of themselves, and exist only to serve their needs.

          And for groups:

          7. Are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups.

          So, as the BOrg makes decisions, they are without regard to anyone else. They have no empathy (as Vaknin often writes), and create situations that meet their narcissistic supplies without consideration to what this will mean to others. Only their goals register. Only after the burner mass complaints, threatening the BOrg self image, does the BOrg consider changes.

          I also notice that you have latched onto the “30+” number. Keep in mind that comes utterly and entirely from you. The BOrg to which I refer is likely no more than a dozen, and more likely an operating group of far less. This “ruling group,” as Burnersxxx calls them, expresses the NPD model, and/or have lieutenants that reflect that same NPD and lack of empathy out of necessity, because the BOrg:

          9. Are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted.

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          • Again, you are simply talking about the perception of you and a few people. Others have a completely different perception. You can’t judge a group based on perceptions that are different from person to person.

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          • You mean I shouldn’t have my own opinions, if they’re not shared by a certain number of people? Instead, it would be better if I had the same opinions as you and others, because they are more popular?

            Interesting theory, like most of what you say it makes no logical sense. At least I provide COUNTLESS references to facts, data, and quotes to back up my opinions. I would love to see some of the reference material behind yours.

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          • I can model people on my perceptions, and you can judge people from your perceptions. However, saying “You can’t judge a group based on perceptions that are different from person to person” is another unarmed argument.

            I know you work from someone, but I don’t, and neither does Burnersxxx. But unlike him, I spent my 20’s working for someone like you do now, Pooh. You work and are defined by a large structure that you largely have no control over. If you don’t like where the ship is headed, if you are not invited to the right meetings, or they don’t buy your arguments, your only choice is to follow or jump ship. You have adapted to that mentality.

            Burnersxxx and I can decide where our ships go. As such, we don’t live in the limited world of someone who has to keep someone else constantly satisfied to keep the mortgage paid. So, Pooh, unless you are a trust fund baby that has decided that his best contribution to the world is in an admin position at a university, you live in a world where you cannot make your own decisions. Realize it. It colors your life.

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          • “Burnersxxx and I can decide where our ships go. As such, we don’t live in the limited world of someone who has to keep someone else constantly satisfied to keep the mortgage paid. So, Pooh, unless you are a trust fund baby that has decided that his best contribution to the world is in an admin position at a university, you live in a world where you cannot make your own decisions. Realize it. It colors your life.”

            Pretty much all I need to hear from you. What a colossal asshole you are. Seriously. You’re so far up your own ass it’s ridiculous. Tell Romney I said hey, from the 47%.

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          • Burnersxxx, do you share that view of us poor sheeple down in the trenches, just slaving away unable to control out own destiny? Do you share the fiction that people who’ve had some good fortune financially are totally in control of their destiny? I mean, Nomad’s statement here REALLY puts his comments in perspective for me. He’s a Rand-toting playground libertarian who disdains anyone not “steering his own ship” who believes any good fortune he’s had was all his doing. He’s so married to the idea of control that his obsession over NPD now makes total sense. How do you feel about people choosing, say, to work as an admin at a university or, like me, a web developer for a health care provider? Are we blind to our chains? Is it possible we enjoy the work we’re doing? And also, you do realize our work, and that of many other people “not steering their own ship,” like teachers, cops, construction workers, sanitation, is fucking necessary? I hope you do and don’t share Nomad’s juvenile worldview here.

            Nomad, you’re pathetic.

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          • Thanks for the defense JV. Don’t expect a response. While you and I will answer any question posed to us, Burnersxxx and Nomad like to avoid the tough ones. Also, Nomad’s silly NPD theory so colors everything he perceives that nothing he writes is of any real validity, so I don’t much care what it is.

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  15. I just realized that some may not understand the Mayo Clinic and Vaknin “lists” in my post. They seem to think that the NPD label is given to someone, like being struck by a cosmic ray, and therefore they acquire the characteristics listed. They want to debate the cosmic ray as the cause. This is entirely backwards. Just as Newton observed the apple and surmised his gravitational equation, so these lists are the indicators of the NPD model as a set of behaviors. The actions in the list must first exist to lead one to the conclusion that the model is valid. You can then predict: a) repeats of the already observed behavior (!!!!!!!!!!); and, b) tendency to do the other things on the list.

    To make it easy, you could use “Fred” instead of “NPD.” The point is that behaviors just go together, and are useful in deciding how to manage your relationship with people who fit the Fred model.

    Perhaps one of the hardest things for some people is to understand the ultimate simplicity that all people will tend to do what they have done in the past. “Changing behavior is one of the hardest things to do.” And what goes with that is to make objective observations as to those past actions.

    To believe people will do something that is different from what they have done in the past may be hopeful, but not logical. But to make that belief work against cognitive dissonance, most people ignore the past and only perceive what they want to think will happen. The person that fools us most often is ourselves.

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    • Here are some things the BOrg has done in the past, and can be expected to continue regardless of any rhetoric to the contrary:

      1. Negotiated secret contracts, NDAs and undisclosed financials, while presenting themselves as “transparent.” This means that their word cannot be trusted.

      2. Negotiated contracts with artists that, in addition to (1.), are discouraging rather than enabling to the artists. This means that they do not have the interests of the artists as their primary interest; instead, they take an adversarial relationship.

      3. Planned ticketing and gate Will Call that does not consider the interests of the burners – something they only respond to after protests. They are far more concerned that someone not make a secondary market profit than make it easy for the burners to get tickets. This means that they cannot be expected to take actions in the best interest of the burners.

      4. Control is their primary goal. Rather than responding to a real burner problem, like bike theft, they only seek to exercise control over everything that involves them, like (1.)-(3.). Rather than an event overhead increasing from $1M to $20M to the benefit of the event for the burners, they have increased their arbitrary control over the event for its own end.

      5. Offered and then discounted the Tin Principles as suits their immediate agenda. This means that principles, per se, do not figure into their decisions; instead, they are only rationalizations to justify their actions. (It is like when Will Chase told me that they would only meet with me in person because of the “Immediacy” Principle – pure BS if you really had interest in my ideas.)

      No need to call this Fred. Just look at the simple pattern of behavior. To change any of these you would need to see them DO something different, preferably with priority to the interests of the burners and artists.

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      • 1. What did they say when you asked to see the secret contracts?
        2. Your personal perspective is not a symptom or evidence of anything.
        3. Just plain and simply not true. Things didn’t go well, they screwed it up. They admitted they screwed it up. They are working on fixing it.
        4. So you criticize them for being loose with the principles, then you think they should wipe people’s asses because they are too high or lazy to lock their bike? I don’t understand the second part.
        5. I suspect they didn’t want to communicate in writing because they feared you would use what they wrote out of context to support your weird ideas. From the beginning the principles have been presented as an approximation of what burners were already doing. They have never been rules or presented as rules, The rules BM has are there for safety.

        If you want rules go the Disneyland.

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  16. I will say, if Burnersxxx ever wants to change the name of the site, “The Cult of Narcissistic Personality” would be an excellent choice.

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        • Check out the results in our poll, Pooh. This isn’t just Nomad and I. Do YOU know many of the people in group 3 The Borg, the ruling group? Or any of the other stratifications of the pyramid?

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          • I met Marian once for about 5 minutes. A lovely person. The poll is bullshit. It’s a convenience sample and tainted by the previous article and your selective wording of the possible responses. (My masters is in survey research. Go UCONN!). I was exaggerating when I said only you and Nomad subscribe to this theory. The world is full of people who are gullible enough to believe this conspiracy people.

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          • So I’m answering your questions. When are you going to stop ignoring mine about what the org said when you called them and asked for the financials?

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          • Woo hoo! Looks like the shills have been called in to vote. Wonder if they bothered to read anything or just vote like they were told to.

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          • Quite a remarkable swing in the poll results overnight. If I was a “conspiracy theorist” I would say that someone (or group) is trying to artificially manipulate the results. Of course, since there has never been a time in history where two or more people plotted a crime, there is no such thing as conspiracy – only crazy “tin foil hat” theories.

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          • Interestingly enough, this poll stuffing is a good example of: “1. Shamelessness. Inability to process shame in a healthy way.”

            One reaction could be to constructively engage the comments to draw out and define the areas for improvement. But the opposite, is to refuse to see the criticisms and instead deny the problems, an inability to process shame.

            Not that the BOrg itself did the stuffing, or even specifically asked for it. No, they are “6. Are “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve their own end.” The enablers (the “cult members”) can do this on their own, since they know all too well how to express the BOrg agenda, and that the BOrg “9. Are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • There is no point to rigging what is an invalid survey that you previously rigged. You cannot write an article accusing the org of madness and nefarious intentions and then imeadiatly run a poll asking what their motivations are, that wouldn’t fly in a scientific survey, let alone a online survey which is a convienience (invalid) sample. Not to mention you probably have 20 to 30 responses when you would need 300 for a valid sample.

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          • Anyone with a link can vote. It would be more valid if there were rotating questions you had to answer to prove that you knew the topic before you voted, as some companies use in their surveys. Still, armed with all the qualifcation answers, anyone could vote.

            Comments are more valid. We have several citing experiences or observations that are consistent with NPD, yet no specific alternative explainations for any of these or other BOrg actions to the detriment of the burners and artists. “They are busy,” or “they are working on it,” is no more satisfying than if they were offered by the US Congress.

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          • The survey is invalid for the reasons I sited. I have never said otherwise. You suggested someone rigged the vote in some way. I was suggesting there is no point in rigging an invalid survey.

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          • Without the founders there would be no Burning Man. If John Law had won the argument, Burning Man would not have made it into this century. So the org has vastly benefited burners. Nomad said no one has offered a better explanation, which is obviously untrue. The org is made up of people doing things no one has ever done before. Being human, they are imperfect and things don’t always go perfectly. Like all of us they learn from experience. The fact that that you find that answer unsatisfying says more about you than it does about them.

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          • Larry Harvey and jerry James started burning man. The rest came later. Laws plan would have saved our culture from its present “we’ve jumped the shark! Yay!” decay.

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          • Interesting circular logic, but no, the survey is obviously invalid. Trust me. If I know nothing else, I know what a valid survey looks like. Are you saying it was rigged because it didn’t come out the way you expected. How would you know how it should come out unless you rigged it?

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          • These things follow a pattern. It’s easy to as what normal behavior looks like on social media , compared with abnormal . 100 new votes appeared overnight, all for the same thing. And without a corresponding increase in traffic around the story. If 300 sample size means validity to you then we’re definitely valid .

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          • Explain:

            A. yolo’s negative expereince with being near Center Camp, the heart of the BORg.

            B. tzx4′ point about the Paul Addis affair.

            C. pdcarey’s “the BOrg certainly do not acknowledge the equity of the old school burners who built the party. They do believe they did it themselves.”

            D. Will Chase only wanting to meet in person, using the justification of “Immmediacy.”

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          • To be fair it is understandable that you put up an invalid survey. I know plenty of PhDs who don’t understand how to use surveys or statistics. Then these companies create easy ways to conduct online surveys without regard to their validity. Naturally people think that is how surveys are done. A real valid survey costs tens of thousands of dollars to conduct.

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          • Yes, John Law wanted to save the patient by killing it. Anyone who has benefited from Burning man since Hellco has the founders to thank.

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          • A. yolo’s negative expereince with being near Center Camp, the heart of the BORg.

            I’ve never noticed any difference between Center Camp and anywhere else. It’s a matter of perception so not a matter of fact.

            B. tzx4′ point about the Paul Addis affair.

            I don’t know what that is.

            C. pdcarey’s “the BOrg certainly do not acknowledge the equity of the old school burners who built the party. They do believe they did it themselves.”

            A personal perception, not a statement of fact.

            D. Will Chase only wanting to meet in person, using the justification of “Immmediacy.”

            I would be nervous you would use my written correspondence out of context based on your preconceived ideas and your demonstrated predilection to bend facts to fit your opinions. You had a chance to get some answers directly from the horse’s mouth and you refused. You aren’t interested in getting actual information, you just want something that you can publish for whatever reason you need to feel you are actually helping.

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          • Yes, Pooh, and those that don’t consider these observations valid can go their merry way. The rest of us can study the NPD model of behavior and use it to advise our interactions with those that follow this well-published and recognized pattern, an awareness that has helped many.

            In fact, as I observed before, the real burners can move on, like I have, to other venues, aware of what to avoid. This lets the NV burn be the flypaper for the newbies and CCamp spectators, as the rest of us participate in our community of gifting, participation, creativity, responsibility and gratitude.

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          • We will miss you so much. When those other events you attend grow to 70K attendees, please explain to us how they managed to get it all perfect and up to your expectations.

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          • BTW, most of the camps at center camp are Frozone, Lamplighters, Recycling Camp, etc. in other words the folks who work their ass off so you can have a great burn.

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          • “These things follow a pattern. It’s easy to as what normal behavior looks like on social media , compared with abnormal . 100 new votes appeared overnight, all for the same thing. And without a corresponding increase in traffic around the story. If 300 sample size means validity to you then we’re definitely valid .”

            A sample size of 300 is necessary for validity, but not sufficient. You would have to call a randomly selected sample of Burners who were not exposed to the article and pose the question to them. Naturally people who read your site are more likely to agree with you than not. Then you presented a theory to them with the clear indication you thought NPD was the motivation for the org’s behavior, then you asked the question. You yourself rigged the results, though I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you didn’t realize it. Basically your survey went “The members of the org enjoy boiling live puppies in oil, do you think the members of the org are good or bad”?

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  17. Thanks to all who are posting their examples of the BOrg’s NPD actions. I have found that the biggest personal gain is to recognize NPD as soon as possible, something yolo seems to be ahead of me. The simplest solution is to avoid all contact with the NPD, as yolo suggests. Personal growth comes from examining what has drawn you into the NPD-enabling relationship and work on those issues.

    My revelation of the BOrg dysfunctional behavior was about a year ago when Will Chase contacted me on FB. He suggested that I had some good ideas, and that we should meet, in person, at their offices. I declined the face-to-face, even though I happened to be in town (which he did not know), since my lawyer was three time zones away. I suggested that we have a written dialog about my ideas to help them. He flatly refused.

    Now this BOrg refusal to correspond for advice is interesting, because giving written advice is how I make a living. People seek out my advice, and though a face-to-face is usually involved at some point, the ongoing value is using me as a resource. I have clients that get courtesy (free) follow-up advice years later when they again need my expertise. I know I am good at giving advice, often to non-profits who serve the public interest.

    That the BOrg only wanted a face-to-face shows that either: a) they planned some mischief like a restraining order; or, b) they were looking to see if their invitation and meeting could draw me into their circle of enablers, likely under conditions of an NDA like they do with others. They knew that in their home trappings, on Mt Olympus, they could be as compelling as possible. Professionally, the invitation rang warning bells anyway, but the NPD model explains their otherwise bizarre actions.

    As Burnersxxx suggested, it would be great for others to offer alternative explanations for these and other BOrg actions that fit the NPD model that others have observed. But until then, I am going with Newton’s equations as being a better model to explain what I observe, rather than the easier justification that “the world sucks.”

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  18. the risk in laymen and lawyers using the DSM is they tend to grossly underestimate the severity of the symptoms required to qualify for a particular diagnosis. Thumb through most anything in that book and you will convince yourself that you have most of the symptoms of half the disorders.

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    • I presume “that book” you are speaking about is the DSM, and not Vaknin’s book. That’s why I cited the Mayo Clinic and Vaknin links instead of the DSM. The DSM is specifically written for professionals, while the Mayo Clinic site and Vaknin’s writings are intended for the general public. I don’t know about the Mayo Clinic advice, but if you check on FB you can see the many people who have been helped by Vaknin’s advice.

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    • Thanks Cooter. I’ve tried to make this point previously. Since it doesn’t fit into Nomad’s preconceived ideas he simply discounts it and continues to promote misleading pseudo science.

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    • And again, I am not offering a “diagnosis” and certainly not in any legal sense; I am offering a model to explain what can be observed in the BOrg actions, and to predict what they will do in the future on which a person can guide their own understanding and decisions for action. The primary purpose is to recognize NPD behavior and to not be manipulated by it. In fact, NPD manipulation counts on the victims/enablers to make “normal” responses to situations and statements to further the NPD agenda.

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    • Note that the DSM does NOT recognize *GROUP* NPD. You have to go to Vaknin for that. And it was a forensic psychiatrist (that regularly testifies in court as a professional witness), who refered me to Vaknin after seeing Larry on Charlie Rose.

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  19. I had a run of bad luck getting my camp placed several years near Center Camp amongst all the infrastructure camps. In the 90s I used to go to the Anon Salon parties before even going to BM. At those parties it used to be about 50/50 friendly folks to NPDs, and you just learned to steer clear of the NPDs. So I know the types all too well.

    I won’t go for placement anymore at BM due to the risk of being stuck amongst the infrastructure NPDs. But accidental interactions seem unavoidable even out on the wings, it’s like they seek you out and find you just to name-drop and imply how cool they are.

    The actual Borg is easiest enough to avoid, but their sycophants are everywhere, and their need to feel better than you is cringeworthy. Little Larrys abound. And these sycophants have their own sycophants that follow them around.

    It’s the notion of ‘radical inclusion’ that has drawn a whole host of people with various personality disorders to BM. People who were needfully ostracized from wherever-the-fuck they came from find acceptance within the BM community – just long enough for them to cause social destruction in whatever camp they find before they’re found-out. Then it’s usually too late to repair the damages, and they move on… to Gate or DPW or Cafe Village with an eye on First Camp.

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    • You get what you look for. I’ve come across a few assholes at BM (FAR less per capita than outside the event), but that’s life, man. It’s easy and a little too neat to simply place someone you don’t like in a box labelled “NPD”, but it’s lazy, too. People are more complicated than that, and situations bring out different aspects of personalities. There’s no doubt that some in the BMORG have big egos, not the least of which is Larry himself. But that kind of goes with the territory. I honestly believe he means well and is genuine, if a little misguided by his own success. And there are many people within the BMORG who are stellar individuals. It’s like any other group of people.

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      • Pope Francis could be on the BoD, and the actions the BOrg take are what they are. For items under their control, and that is the operative word in many senses, they withhold information and sacrifice the interests of the burners and artists to their own narcissistically-arbitrary supplies.

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  20. You don’t personally know these people. You have not watched them in action for a significant amount of time. You are making a diagnosis you are not qualified to make in the first place based on your personal perception of outcomes. You did not observe the process that lead to those outcomes. For all you know the event is planned on a ouja board. The theory is pointless because you don’t have the data to prove it. It isn’t invalid per se, it’s just as likely as a thousand other theories including the org is made up of people doing their best and sometimes not living up to the expectations of others.

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    • I am not offering a diagnosis. I am offering a practical model to explain otherwise inexplicable behavior. If you refuse to see the pattern and apply the model, that is your problem. Do you know why the bowling ball falls just as fast as the cue ball? I have a model that explains it, and it works for me, and was confirmed when I saw them drop the feather and the hammer on the moon. But do I have a doctorate in physics? No. Can I be cited in court as an authority in physics? No. Should I get a grant to study either gravitons or NPDs? No.

      But can I make practical daily use of the models I learned and continue to learn in physics and psychology? Yes. In fact, not doing so is a serious limitation.

      Vaknin is NOT offering diagnosis for legal adjudication. He IS offering advice for his many layman readers to use to deal with NPDs in their lives. And his many followers and the personal examples they cite illustrate how good his NPD advice can be.

      As I told JV, you can challenge the DSM, Vaknin, or my observations and claimed correlations to them. But to refuse to look at something is not a logical option. And refusing to look because of the source is again a specious ad hominem argument.

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      • It is a useful model for Burnersxxx and you because it supports your negative view of the Org. It is a distructive theory overall because it plants distrust in the community using bullshit pseudo-science. For whatever reason you don’t have the data…you don’t have the data. Your theory is no more valid than a thousand others, including these people are doing their best with the best intentions and it doesn’t always go perfectly. All you have found is a self fulfilling prophesy. I’m sorry science doesn’t work the way you would like it to, but it doesn’t.

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        • It’s also useful for yolo, tzx4, pdcarey and I will bet a few more. Too bad you live in a world blind to observation and learning.

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          • Yes, some of us remember that, and that’s particularly sad for you. I work for lots of universities, on some occasions as a (well-paid) invited lecturer, and know the administrative cultures and now they can become insular and calcified – enough to know that Yale is in a different class than Princeton. Come out into the real world sometime. It’s scary but fun. 🙂

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          • Oh Holy Christ don’t tell me you are offering this drivel to actual students. This was just sad before, now it’s tragic.

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          • “I work for lots of universities, on some occasions as a (well-paid) invited lecturer, and know the administrative cultures and now they can become insular and calcified”…hmmm…what does that sound like? It starts with an “N”. I remember someone writing something about it somewhere.

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          • Sorry, Pooh, I was just replying in-kind to your ad hominem argument about you working at a university. You were playing your card and I was playing mine.

            But as to your apparent claim that you are qualified to make observations because you “spend all day, every day on a University campus,” your further observation, ”
            Oh Holy Christ don’t tell me you are offering this drivel to actual students,” shows that your powers of observation are almost non-existant. To think that NPD is my area of expertise is uninformed to say the least.

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          • Oh no, you’ve made it quite clear you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to NPD. I am relieved. I can’t help but picture you teaching college students how we faked the moon landing.

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      • “I am not offering a diagnosis. I am offering a practical model to explain otherwise inexplicable behavior.” Again, it is not “otherwise inexplicable. There are a thousand explanations for what you are using as examples, many of them benevolent. You’ve simply picked a model you like and fit the data to it. You insist that the org does not listen to the group, and yet there are multiple examples of them doing exactly that.

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      • Nomad, which mental disorder should I apply to you based on your repeated and now predictable, albeit somewhat inexplicable, focus on using NPD to describe everything a group of 30+ people do? By your reasoning, such a model is needed in order to categorize people into this or that box for the purpose of explaining past behavior and predicting future behavior. And the need for this model, as far as I can tell, is to establish a sense of order amongst the everyday chaos of human dynamics? That’s probably comforting, but for most people its reductive. At any rate, from now on I’m writing off all your NPD posts to OCD. You have OCD, Nomad. It’s the only way to explain your behavior, and now that I’ve labeled you, I feel like I can both control for my reactions to you, while simultaneously write you off and compartmentalize you. Damn, you’ve been right all along! This is liberating! From having to deal with people as fallible human beings, I mean.

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    • Since they threw transparency out the window, there is little ability for any of us to see how the sausage gets made. But we can look at outcomes, and inconsistencies between their public pronouncements and later actions. Something motivates these bizarre decisions, it definitely doesn’t seem to be world’s best practice in organizational management.

      Saying “we’re going to bring you the transparency we promised”, and then removing the financials from the Afterburn report instead, is one quite obvious recent example of this. Why say one thing, and do the opposite? Nomad and Vaknin’s model certainly provides an explanation; if you have others, please share (or vote).

      Like

      • You used to harp on the idea that the org members were dirty rotten greedy bastards. You seem to have collected enough information to drop that accusation, now you have to find some other reason people should dislike the org. So you buy into Nomad’s very shaky NPD theory and tell people, “the org isn’t listening to you because they have a mental disorder”. The evidence shows the org is listening to the group as a whole. Look at the posts for this year on the main site. They’ve changed the placement policy and acknowledged will call needs an overhaul. This was based on the input from burners. Granted, there are probably about 200K burners so, no, they can’t take a personal call from every one and do what they want. But the org has been reactive to the desires of the group, (it takes time) but that doesn’t help you because your only reason for existing is to dump on the org. Which is probably why this site is pretty much turning into a conversation between you and Nomad about your conspiracy theories.

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        • Pooh Bear, in regards towards your comment of ‘You seem to have collected enough information to drop that accusation’ in regards of the cash they take towards their pockets, my prior reply to you upon these matters..
          .
          .
          Larry Harvey, talking to the New York Times within 2011, ‘about the changes ahead for the Burner Community:’

          ‘We’re going to treat Burning Man like what it always should have been: not as a commodity, but as a gift,” Mr. Harvey said, explaining the festival’s multiyear transition strategy during an April 1 speech in San Francisco. Before handing Burning Man over to the new nonprofit, he added, the company’s owners will take an undisclosed payout. And this is where things get complicated’

          What proof might we have in regards of their undisclosed payout? As Pooh Bear knows, but he insists upon repeating his false statements numerous times-

          2010- payroll raised from $2.8 million to $7.2 million, with solely 30 employees within 2011 January to move to their Market Street headquarters, as stated within the sfpublicpress, and paying little towards temporary labourers, leaves more than $4 million, of payroll, to be paid towards the 6 members of the BMOrg. A spreadsheet of this utilizing their numbers

          2011 – payroll was $7.1 million, and pay to contractors raised by near to $1 million dollars, with solely 40 people to pay within the beginning of 2012, and paying little towards temporary labourers, leaves near to $4 million, of payroll, to be paid towards the 6 members of the BMOrg.

          2012 – payroll raised to $7.8 million, leaves near to $4 million, of payroll, to be paid towards the 6 members of the BMOrg.

          2013 … payroll, in addendum of ‘the company’s owners will take an undisclosed payout’

          end of 2013 – $7.1 million deduction upon tax levies for their donation

          2014 to 2018 – Salaries, within the rules for non profit organizations, perchance near to $1 million of total each year, to be paid towards 5, or 6, members of the BMOrg.

          2018 = they are, at present, within contract, to sell the Burning Man(TM) name, and other trademarks, to the Project, and take a deduction upon tax levies for the remains of the value of the trademarks. In addendum, stated within the 2014 ticket terms, Decommodification LLC, owned by the 6 members of the BMOrg, owns the IP of Burning Man.
          .
          .
          This is solely of what they disclosed towards the Burner community. What cash might they gain towards their pockets that was not disclosed towards the Burner community? Whom gains the cash in due of licence of images of Burning Man, and, of the art of Burning Man, in the manner of Spark: A Burning Man Story, in addendum of other books, and movies? Larry, within his position of Chief Philosophical Officer, has the power to propose ventures, and joint ventures, towards the Project board, what might be the ventures, and joint ventures, and what might be the conflicts of interests, disclosed towards the Project board, but hidden from donors of cash, stock, labour, and art?

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          • I have zero problem with the founders getting a payout. It’s true that regular burners bring the party, but the BMORG facilitates it, and the founders in particular, for all their faults, have walked a tightrope of managing a growing event while maintaining enough of its original spirit to keep the event special and somewhat unique. Should they have walked away without receiving any monetary benefit? That’s a valid position, one I don’t think is necessary, but is that what you’re saying?

            Like

          • The founders were entitled to, I think it was $1.2 or $1.6 million each when the LLC was transferred to the non-profit. I believe the amount they each took was $42,000, but it might have been $48,000. Larry has published that they have no intention of taking any additional money when Decommodification LLC transfers to the non-profit in 2016. It sounds like, from what you are publishing here, that they might each make $200k in salaries. That sounds reasonable for an organization located in the bay area (and those teeth didn’t fix themselves). Anyway, salaries of a non-profit are public, so we’ll know. What is clear is the founders have given up the chance to get rich off of Burning Man. Which they had every right to do (Merica!). They could commodify the IP, but instead they are protecting it from commodification. They could make millions off of that and they don’t. It’s been pretty clear for some time here that money is not the motivation of the founders.

            Like

          • The difficulties are in due of their treatment of the Burner community in a most unfair manner, of they stated towards many of ‘we do not have the cash to pay you’, while they were taking the cash towards their pockets within 2010 to 2013. Near to the end of 2013, they did a bait-n-switch to remain within near to total control, in despite of their prior statements of the opposite. At present, ticket sales are $30.5 million, and they hide, utilizing misdirection, of ‘Where Does Your Ticket Money Go?’ and rubbish PR articles upon of they are a leader in transparency.

            Any might click upon these links, and click upon the links of the prior San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper purposed to view their bait-n-switch, and click upon the link of the leader in transparency article purposed to view the little cash they pay, at present, towards the sound camps, DJs, mutant vehicles, artists, labourers, and regionals, of their $30.5 million of ticket sales.

            Like

          • ‘Larry has published that they have no intention of taking any additional money when Decommodification LLC transfers to the non-profit in 2016.’

            The Burning Man(TM) trademarks are to transfer within 2018, the trademarks are not to transfer within 2016.

            Q. Who owns Decommodification, LLC and why does it exist?

            A. Decommodification, LLC is a holding company that was set up to temporarily own Burning Man’s trademarks while the organization transitions from an LLC to a nonprofit. The six founders of Burning Man (Crimson Rose, Will Roger, Michael Mikel, Marian Goodell, Harley K. DuBois and Larry Harvey) are equal 1/6 owners of Decommodification, LLC. In 2018, the trademarks are scheduled to transfer to the Burning Man Project to be held in perpetuity by the nonprofit for the benefit of Burning Man culture.

            In addendum, Larry stated near to of that he did not intend to take any additional money, but he could not speak in regards of the others. Within the contract, all 6 must be in agreement upon not taking any additional money for the Burning Man(TM) trademarks, and other IP, for the payment of money to not occur. We will learn of the details when the 990 form of 2018 is published within January of 2020, unless the Project board votes to disclose of this towards donors prior of 2020.

            Any persons might click upon the links within my prior comments, of the spreadsheet, the SFBG newspaper articles, and of my prior post.

            Like

          • You got me. I got the date wrong. There are two additional years that the founders will not exploit their right to make money off the BM IP. And as I said, Larry has no intention of taking additional money and they all have to agree if they want to take additional money.

            Like

          • They have to agree if they do not want to take additional money. In addendum, in regards of the IP, whom is taking the cash towards their pockets for images of Burning Man, and of the art at Burning Man, in the manner of Spark: A Burning Man Story, and of other books, and movies, the BRC LLC, the Project, the owners of the IP Decommodification LLC, or members of the BMOrg? The answer of this query might be within the 2014 form 990 to be disclosed within January of 2016.

            Like

          • Yes, so the founders could make a shit ton of money if they licenced the IP to lots of folks, but they have refrained from doing so except for a few exceptions, proving they are not in it for the money.

            Like

      • You used to harp on the idea that the org members were dirty rotten greedy bastards. You seem to have collected enough information to drop that accusation, now you have to find some other reason people should dislike the org. So you buy into Nomad’s very shaky NPD theory and tell people, “the org isn’t listening to you because they have a mental disorder”. The evidence shows the org is listening to the group as a whole. Look at the posts for this year on the main site. They’ve changed the placement policy and acknowledged will call needs an overhaul. This was based on the input from burners. Granted, there are probably about 200K burners so, no, they can’t take a personal call from every one and do what they want. The org has been reactive to the desires of the group, but that doesn’t help you because your only reason for existing is to dump on the org. Which is probably why this site is pretty much turning into a conversation between you and Nomad about your conspiracy theories. The financials are not in the Afterburn report because they appear elsewhere, on a different timeline, AND ARE LEGALLY PUBLIC INFORMATION. I’ve asked repeatedly how the org responded when you asked for the financials personally and you’ve always avoided that question. Obviously because you’ve never done the due diligence of just asking them.

        Like

  21. FYI, there are three NPD topics left for future posts:

    Part 2 – NPD Victims – characterization of those that choose to follow the NPD in a “codependency dance,” and Vaknin’s explanation in an organizational setting;

    Part 3 – Dealing wth NPD – Vaknin’s advice on how to deal with NPD in personal and organizational settings;

    Part 4 – Exploiting NPD – observations on how the nefarious would exploit an NPD organization.

    Preview of Part 2…
    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/09/08/the-dance-between-codependents-narcissists/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Parts 2 and 3 are well covered by Vaknin, if people want to pursue it themselves from the link I posted. Of particulare interest will be Part 3 for those that work for the BOrg and cannot simply leave the relationship – which is the simplest and most effective solution. Vaknin gives specific advice in the area of pleasing an NPD that controls your work life.

      I have yet to see how much Part 4 is covered by Vaknin. It is not really the right thing to do, just as it would be wrong to exploit someone with ADD from their disorder. However, since NPD behavior is itself expoitive, and since there are those that are already exploiting the BOrg’s disorder to their own gain – and the possible loss to the burners – it is worth at least speculating if Vaknin does not expand on it.

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  22. Some people like to latch on to a Grand Unified Theory of one thing or another because it makes the world a more orderly, and hence, understandable and controllable, place. But it’s mostly bullshit. People and situations are far too complex to assign one theory to explain it and call it a day. It’s classic conspiracy theory thinking: narrow down life’s or a situation’s problem to one external source, and then obsess over it. Some people have chem trails, Nomad has NPD.c

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    • Sorry, but I have not found chemtrails in the DSM or in Vaknin’s work; perhaps you can illuminate us.

      But I am afraid you are just one of those that does not value science or logic. For those of us that value both, you have three applicable arguments:
      a) the DSM is wrong;
      b) Vaknin is wrong;
      c) my BOrg observations are wrong or do not correlate with the DSM and Vaknin criteria.

      Unfortunately, all you have offered is a specious ad hominem argument, completely unrelated to the sources and conclusions offered.

      Like

    • There are no doubt multiple factors influencing each individual’s decision. One may have sinister motives and no narcissism; another may be driven primarily by money. As a framework for trying to understand the actions of groups, this seems to be better than any other one we have; if you have something you think would be more useful, please share.

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      • I think it’s more useful to deal with people as complex individuals and situations as complex arrangements of people. You and Nomad seem to find some comfort in labeling the BMORG as having a collective mental disorder, simply because you don’t agree with everything they’re doing. That, to me, is highly narcissistic. Highly. I don’t agree with some of the things the BMORG is doing either, particularly this grand mission of “spreading Burning Man culture.” But I accept it as a genuine motivation on their part. Some of them are a bit more idealistic than I am, it seems.

        I enjoy your site, but with a major caveat that you’re highly susceptible to conspiracy theory thinking. That’s cool, it’s something to do and a way to make sense of the world. For me, it’s a little reductive, but hey, I could be wrong. This whole NPD thing falls right into that tendency, it’s just that, as Pooh Bear mentioned, this site is becoming more and more a furtive conversation between you and Nomad, as you siphon more and more of what the BMORG does through the narrow funnel of some dude’s book on NPD.

        Like

          • That’s tempting, although I’m not sure what else I could say about this issue then what I wrote in my previous comment. I don’t have any inside information, I met Larry once by coincidence on the playa in 2007. I shook his hand and thanked him for keeping this thing rolling, and he thanked me for the same, which I thought was a nice touch. He seemed perfectly nice, but you know, it was a brief conversation. I know a few people who work for the BMORG at lower levels, all of them genuinely interested in “the principles” and all that. I have experience bringing a few project out there, including an art car. Had zero problems with either the paperwork or the people involved. This was all before tickets started selling out, which changed things drastically. So, I’ll see what I can do.

            Like

  23. Interesting poll: Perception is reality. Whether or not the BOrg are considered disordered would depend on an audit of the damage done. As I have commented on in the past, the BOrg certainly do not acknowledge the equity of the old school burners who built the party. They do believe they did it themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your observation, which is evidence of personal NPD:
      2. Magical Thinking.
      6. Exploitation.
      7. Bad Boundaries.

      And of corporate NPD:
      1. Feel grandiose and self-important.
      2. Are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success.
      6. Are “interpersonally exploitative”, using others to achieve their own ends.

      Like

  24. How did I know that this parroting of NPD as a diagnostic tool would eventually be turned toward the members of the BORG? Nice little hit piece albeit a predictable one in which the amateur diagnostician sits back and paints with his very wide brush an entire group of folks with his vague generalizations and thread bare complaints about everything bad and evil about Burning Man. Like all other mental illnesses defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), NPD is in fact a mental issue that afflicts many in this country.

    The writer’s flippant generalizations and vague accusations suggesting that members of the BORG have NPD is as reckless and irresponsible as it’s cowardly and chickenshit. Suggestions of behavioral dysregulation and not things to be taken lightly. It’s bad enough that in this country people suffering from mental illness are regulated to the back of the line for access and effective treatment without naysayers casually slapping the NPD moniker on individuals with whom they have an ax to grind. Hell, I wonder if our amateur Dr. Phil has the courage to turn his bullshit diagnostic mirror on himself and consider his own curious OCD-like symptoms when it comes to continually bombarding Larry and Company with his lame bleating. Seriously Nomad, you’re a real dick.

    Like

    • “How did I know that this parroting of NPD as a diagnostic tool would eventually be turned toward the members of the BORG?”

      “Eventually?” Really?! When have I ever mentioned NPD outside of the context of the Borg? And if you don’t have good memory, maybe the “NPD and the BOrg” title might tip you off. …Unless you thought you were reading a link from Psychology Today and not a Burners.me post.

      “Nice little hit piece albeit a predictable one in which the amateur diagnostician sits back and paints with his very wide brush an entire group of folks with his vague generalizations and thread bare complaints about everything bad and evil about Burning Man.”

      Regardless of the wide net Burnersxxx offers in his comment, I am only taking about the BOrg, referring as I always have to Larry, Marion and their cadre that run the BMP, BRC LLC, Decommodification LLC, and whatever other disclosed or undisclosed management they work together to impose their will while completely and aggressively disenfranchising the burners that have made the NV burn happen.

      “The writer’s flippant generalizations and vague accusations suggesting that members of the BORG have NPD is as reckless and irresponsible as it’s cowardly and chickenshit. Suggestions of behavioral dysregulation and not things to be taken lightly.”

      Apparently you disagree with Vaknin and the forensic psychiatrists that value his work. Vaknin himself offered me the link when I queried him about organizational NPD.

      “It’s bad enough that in this country people suffering from mental illness are regulated to the back of the line for access and effective treatment without naysayers casually slapping the NPD moniker on individuals with whom they have an ax to grind. Hell, I wonder if our amateur Dr. Phil has the courage to turn his bullshit diagnostic mirror on himself and consider his own curious OCD-like symptoms when it comes to continually bombarding Larry and Company with his lame bleating. Seriously Nomad, you’re a real dick.”

      And absent any compelling logical arguments or contrary evidence to challenge my observations, you have joined JV in simple ad hominem arguments. Unless you are running for public office, or just trying to score points with the BOrg, your comment is not probative.

      Like

    • There is no question that the Borg is a dysfunctional organization. Selective Rule Enforcement, conflicting messages, actions that are the opposite of their words. That this is not the best-run company in America is no newsflash to the Burner community.

      The only question is “why?” Thank-you Nomad for providing a useful framework we can all consider in trying to answer this. I’m open to hearing other ideas about “why” too.

      Like

  25. THE BORG. In my assessment, “the BOrg” are: “Larry & Co” aka “McLarry” – the group of actual decision makers. This is to catch them as they morph from BRC LLC, to Decommodification LLC, to the BMP. They are the operants, and are the “actual decision makers,” as you well define them.

    The larger net that you suggest, that at times have included you, me and many other readers, is the Burning Man culture. They are those that typically deny the apparent irrational logic and actions of the BOrg, instead presuming they are missing some information or understanding. What they are missing is understanding of the NPD model to explain the actions that the BOrg takes that otherwise just don’t make sense. Once you see the behavior pattern fitting the model, it is all consistent.

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  26. In your poll, note that the goals of Fame, Power, Social Capital, and Brainwashing/Cult are all expressions of NPD, as noted in the lists. Classic “narcissism,” per se, is the amateur garden-variety version, and does not necessarily meet the NPD criteria. Staring in the mirror and talking about yourself all the time are common narcissistic traits but are not on the NPD lists.

    Like

    • Point noted. For the purposes of the poll, I think breaking it out into more discrete categories is useful. I amended it to say “BOrg” not “BMOrg” and “NPD” rather than “narcissism”.

      Like

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