Elon Musk is a privileged sick genius who has no idea about healthy relationships, work-life balance, or the responsibility that comes with his power.
He’s wrong in way too many areas of life, although we’re also wrong for hero-worshipping him.
The guy is a genius, no doubt. His ideas push humanity forward. He founded Paypal, contributed to mind-blowing sustainable technologies, and revolutionized space travel.
Being a genius won’t make him a role model, though. Why cannot we give credit for his genius talent and judge him as a person simultaneously? He’s not the hero we should follow.
While his privilege, Asperger’s, and accomplishments could exempt him from following some social rules, Mr. Musk — or at least people working close to him — should have realized the tremendous impact he has on people.
If society had stronger values, we’d have never worshipped every word of him. And if our Iron Man had any idea about his influence, he would have never said the following:
“No one ever changed the world on 40 hours a week”
Musk used to be working 120 hours per week and encouraged others to follow his example. Numerous organizations listen to his advice and believe longer shifts are the secret sauce for success.
The business magnate strongly contributed to the toxic hustle culture, which is now a widespread problem. Most people embrace busyness and get nervous about taking any rest.
But too much work leads to mental exhaustion at best, and to physical health problems too. It won’t result in higher productivity or better performance, either.
Still, we praise this dude for sacrificing his life for work. We think that’s an adorable trait, something we should follow.
Why working 40 hours a week isn’t enough? And why do we have to act as we have to be workaholics to reach our dreams?
“If you were my employee, I’d fire you”
Said Elon to his wife before they got divorced.
Elon never thought he was equal to his wife. He was the man, and his net worth was higher than hers: therefore, he made the decisions in the relationship.
He created a trophy wife out of an ambitious, competitive woman. With time, she felt insignificant in his eyes and lost her identity in the sparkling multimillionaire’s dream life.
And she still tried to fix it:
“I told Elon, in a soft voice that was nonetheless filled with conviction, that I needed our life to change. I didn’t want to be a sideline player in the multimillion-dollar spectacle of my husband’s life. I wanted equality. I wanted partnership. I wanted to love and be loved, the way we had before he made all his millions.”
What does this tell about our society? Why do we find these values acceptable or even ordinary?
In Musk’s world, women are disposable objects, not equal partners.
“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary”
It depends on what we define as extraordinary. Does leading an emotionally healthy life hit the mark? Or do I have to be a millionaire entrepreneur to be exceptional?
I assume that anything extraordinary involves wealth and material success to Musk.
We often forget about the tremendous privilege people had before they “chose to become” so extraordinary.
While it’s OK to believe in the American dream, in reality, not everyone can be rich. And not because they are dumb or lazy, but because they don’t have the privilege of education and often struggle to pay the bills.
Even in developed countries, people get born into low-income families. The environment where someone is raised is critical for the person’s future. Less fortunate people are less likely to be successful because of their environments. They don’t have the tools, mindset, and starting capital for that.
But Mr. Musk goes even further, saying:
“I think public transport is painful. It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to end?”
Good for you. But some people need that stuff, including me. Because you know, we don’t have a better option. We can’t just go and buy a car or travel around in a taxi.
If people are not privileged, they might put surviving first and being extraordinary second.
“I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt”
Said Elon when Tesla employees complained about their jobs.
He continuously abuses his power and expects everybody around him to sacrifice their families just because he chose to do so.
His values are straightforward: masculine power. Yes, changing the world might feel cool, but I’d rather go for a work-life balance.
Understanding, empathy, balance, or emotions have no place in this world.
How much space do those values get in our society? Why do we still chase power and dominance instead of love and compassion?
“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of their constitutional rights, in my opinion”
So far, Musk showed us a mirror about how our society is. But he went way too far with his Covid comments, and I’m angry.
He has a huge responsibility there — people around the world actually listen to him, for heaven’s sake!
He said he’s not going to vaccinate himself or his family. He also tweeted the pandemic is dumb, and he made cristal clear what he thinks about the lockdown.
He showed no interest whatsoever in a global crisis where real people are losing their lives.
According to a survey, 22% of the US population won’t get the coronavirus vaccine. 18% are not sure about that. To heal from this global pandemic, we have to get vaccinated.
While I find it irresponsible for anyone to consciously opt out of the vaccine, I’m angry at Musk for acting like such an anti-vaxxer. We have a serious issue to solve, and people with influence mustn’t act irresponsibly.
Yet, Elon is perfectly fine with his Covid remarks.
Musk seems to be a terrible person with whom I wouldn’t be able to spend more than 24 hours, no matter how much of a genius he is. I’d never go his way, and I’d never want to learn emotional intelligence or productivity techniques from him. I judge the way he treats women.
And I’m terrified seeing how irresponsible he is about his influence.
I still wouldn’t discredit him for his accomplishments.
But we shouldn’t follow him.
While our “heroes” are exceptional at business and technology, we shouldn’t act like they were flawless role models who can guide us in every field of life. Assuming they are perfect at everything is overarching and can be harmful in many cases.
Especially because being a multimillionaire entrepreneur today requires egoism, zero work-life balance, ignorance, and the ability to neglect healthy and loving social connections.
Musk’s a genius, not a role model.