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Egregious Acts, Dark Emotions & The Tall Poppy Syndrome

Doug Garland
Doug Garland
2 min read
Egregious Acts, Dark Emotions 
       & The Tall Poppy Syndrome
Photograph by Doug Garland

Table of Contents

Dr. Norman Feather of Australia noted an association between specific emotions of the cutter and the Tall Poppies (TP) who were justifiably cut down because of their behavior ( see, Tall Poppies, deservingness and schadenfreude). Most of his research focused on the motives that the study participants identified for deserving the consequences, not the emotional makeup of the person who was tall poppied.

Livy's The Early History of Rome is one the earliest descriptions of the Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS). This book's span began with the Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC) and ended with the Gallic destruction of the Rome Republic including its libraries in 386 BC. Livy began writing his book in 29 BC. How did he research Rome's history if the libraries and records had been destroyed?

Like Aristotle and Thucydides, Livy explained historical events by the human characters and represented individuals. Actions are signs of character just as the mind controls the emotions leading to actions. Characters in Rome will act in a similar fashion as comparable characters in early Greece. Furthermore, kindred characters in 750 BC will act similarly in 250 BC.

                                      Aha Moment

                                                                                                                                                       I theorized that understanding and identifying the emotional characteristics of the cutter and/or cuttee permitted recognition of  TPS and its source. The key was identifying the emotional characteristics of TPs, cutters, and cuttees. Feather had already identified envy, which I commonly call "bad envy," as a common trait in cutters.

Jim Collins's How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In determined that CEO hubris was the most common cause of company failures. Keystone emotions in the cutter and cuttee were now established (see The Tall Poppy Syndrome & The Seven Deadly Sins).

It was necessary to fill in a few more emotional blanks and then a world search for TPS could commence (see The Anatomy of the Tall Poppy Syndrome). Armed with the emotional makeup of the TPS players and the mechanics of the cut-down, a search for worldwide TPS as well as varying periods began (see The Tall Poppy Syndrome -The Joy of Cutting Others Down).

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal  "Jeffrey Epstein Appeared to Threaten Bill Gates Over Microsoft Co-Founder’s Affair With Russian Bridge Player" is an example of "public TPS." This case report illustrates the egregious actions of Mr. Epstein which were fueled by the dark emotions of hubris, greed, and lust. The public and the law cut him down but the literal act lingers in suspicion.

It also appears Mr. Epstein tried to cut down Mr. Gates for some of his own similar egregious acts in "private TPS." However, some TPs are "stone poppies" and difficult to cut down because their stature is exceptional. The Dutch say "The tall tree captures all the wind." Perhaps Mr. Gates is a sequoia, not a TP.

Livyhistorydark emotionsblogBill Gates/Jeffrey Epsteinstone poppy

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Douglas Garland, M.D. practiced orthopedic surgery for 37 years in Southern California. Doug was also a Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Southern California.


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