Elon Musk — The downfall of a legend

In the past week, we’ve seen the downfall of one of the most influential modern figures. But what does this mean for us?

Musk has been controversial recently, to say the least.

Tesla hasn’t lived up to promises of delivering cars at the rate they were supposed to.

He’s drawn heat for calling the Thai-cave diver a pedophile three separate times. Now he’s being sued for it.

He’s smoked marijuana with Joe Rogan in what appeared to be an interesting PR stunt.

He was documented falling asleep at the Tesla facility, and occasionally, yelling at employees.

He’s had the SEC after him for lying about having the funds to take Tesla private.

The SEC has now forced him into a deal: pay $20 million and step down as Tesla’s chair.

And now here he is: An unstoppable man, now finally having to come to terms with the limits of what a man can and is allowed to do.

The signs we ignored:

I’m not going to lie, I used to be one of those nauseating “Musketeers”, clinging on to his every word like it was a prophet’s.

I loved Musk, I’d hoped he’d build a Hyper-loop, take us to Mars. Two years ago, I, a bright-eyed 16 year old boy, interested in STEM, wanted to be just like him.

He was my hero, my idol.

But in retrospect, perhaps some of that bubbling admiration for him was misplaced. Now, he seems more like that bombastic, energetic Dad who always promises his kids their wildest fantasies, but fails to deliver.

And he has failed to deliver more than once.

But every single time he succeeded, the slate was wiped clean, all his failings were forgiven. Our love for him was reset.

Almost exactly ten years ago, SpaceX had its first ever successful launch. Almost exactly ten years ago, Tesla brought out the roadster.

But we didn’t see the warning signs, even in broad daylight.

Almost ten years ago, Musk unfairly lashed out at Top Gear (UK) for doing a satirical review of the roadster.

Anyone who’s watched that show know that it can’t be taken seriously. They, for instance, gave even the Lamborghini Huracan a negative review. To this day, they are the only reviewing agency to do that.

They’re here to entertain you, not inform.

I have no doubt in my mind that Musk is intelligent enough to get their humor, but he seemed to think he was entitled to a fair review, something Top Gear is definitely not known for.

Musk’s life:

His personal life is nothing short of a catastrophe.

He’s been married 3 times, divorced 3 times and is now in a relationship with Grimes.

But it’s not his marriages which ever concerned me, it’s his balance and his attitude towards relationships:

Specifically this statement, from the Rolling Stones magazine interview:

Musk shakes his head and grimaces: “If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy.”

I explain that needing someone so badly that you feel like nothing without them is textbook codependence.

Musk disagrees. Strongly. “It’s not true,” he replies petulantly. “I will never be happy without having someone. Going to sleep alone kills me.” He hesitates, shakes his head, falters, continues. “It’s not like I don’t know what that feels like: Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there — and no one on the pillow next to you. Fuck. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?”

But in a climate where you work every waking hour, do you have time for relationships?

And indeed, that may be the reason Musk didn’t get along with the women in his previous three relationships.

His over-dependence on companionship is also worrying:

“When I was a child, there’s one thing I said,” Musk continues. His demeanor is stiff, yet in the sheen of his eyes and the trembling of his lips, a high tide of emotion is visible, pushing against the retaining walls. “’I never want to be alone.’ That’s what I would say.” His voice drops to a whisper. “I don’t want to be alone.”

No one wants to be entirely alone.

But keeping these women at bay just for the fleeting moments you return home, isn’t doing either Musk or them a favor.

Musk’s inner demons:

Then there’s the darkest part of all of this, his past.

This is what he said about his father:

“You have no idea about how bad. Almost every crime you can possibly think of, he has done. Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done. Um…”

“It’s so terrible, you can’t believe it.”

The tears run silently down his face. “I can’t remember the last time I cried.” He turns to Teller to confirm this. “You’ve never seen me cry.”

“No,” Teller says. “I’ve never seen you cry.”

Musk attitude towards his father suggests that the memories haven’t been buried. He hasn’t come to terms with it.

And the bullying:

“You punch the bully in the nose. Bullies are looking for targets that won’t fight back. If you make yourself a hard target and punch the bully in the nose, he’s going to beat the shit out of you, but he’s actually not going to hit you again.”

Could we have avoided this?

Is what the question on a lot of people’s minds is.

Musk pretty much checkmated himself with the “Tesla’s going private tweet”. Once the tweet was out, it was over.

But the Thai-pedo fiasco could’ve been avoided had he stopped after the first tweet.

Still, what about before that?

“No one has stood up to Musk.”

Is a saying I often hear. Musk was always allowed to run Tesla as he pleased, tweet as he pleased and go about things the way he liked.

I don’t know if an advisor could’ve helped him, but it’s a possibility.

Tesla is doing great.

And their numbers have all round improved. I’ve no doubt that they’ll be more than fine, unless the plan goes horribly wrong.

SpaceX will continue to make leaps in terms of innovation.

And The Boring Company will do … well whatever the Boring company is supposed to do.

So what about Musk?

Will he get left behind, will he break?

That remains to be seen.

But as for now, he’s done being Tesla’s chair. And hopefully the $20 million hit to his wallet will be enough to deter him from sending outrageous tweets.

Elon is no longer in his prime. He’s not the hero a lot of us thought he was. But through his downfall, I hope society can see that elevating a man to this level is toxic, for everyone.

He’s not our savior.

He’s just a man — a brilliant one albeit.