Snuffed Out

The least one can say of the psychiatric treatment given to Andreas Lubitz, the pilot who killed 149 people as well as himself in crashing the Germanwings aircraft into the Alps, is that it was not very successful. Indeed, its outcome was about as disastrous as any in the history of medicine, but that may not be entirely its fault: perhaps the whole idea of such treatment was misconceived in the first place.

It seems to me likely (though I could not swear to it in a court of law) that Lubitz’s problem was one of character rather than of illness, and therefore unsusceptible to so-called treatment. Indeed, the very notion of such treatment might have been an obstacle to his self-amelioration, in so far as it would have given him the impression that he was ill and it was therefore up to others to cure him. When they failed to do so, which was inevitable, he felt absolved of responsibility for his own state. Amazon Prime (One Year... Check Amazon for Pricing.

He was by all accounts a narcissistic type; and, as with many another, his enthusiasm for fitness wasn’t for fitness for any end other than a purely self-regarding one. Perhaps one should not read too much into isolated photographs, but nevertheless the picture of him out running, pouting as if engaged on something serious and staring ahead with earphones in his ears to exclude the outer world from obtruding on him in his self-absorbed bubble, suggested a man more than usually self-centred.

Unconfirmed reports, which I think are likely one day to be confirmed, also suggest that he was determined to make more of a mark in the world than his native talents would permit, reducing him to the necessity of doing something terrible to catch the attention of the world that he so craved, and no doubt felt that he deserved. For narcissists, anonymity is the worst of fates.

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