Are We in a Narcissism Epidemic? (Newsweek)

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MrMark
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19 Apr 2009, 8:54 am

Generation Me
A new book says we're in a narcissism epidemic. Why you're not so special.
By Raina Kelley | NEWSWEEK
Published Apr 18, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 27, 2009

"Growing up, my literary heroines were those who, like me, struggled to be good: Jo from "Little Women," Harriet the spy, Laura Ingalls and Pippi Longstocking. A strong-willed (and loud) child, I craved examples of unruly knuckleheads tethered to a loving family that encouraged us to be our best selves despite our natural inclinations. Precocious but naive, I thought of myself as an ugly duckling—misunderstood in my youth but destined for a beauty and stature completely impossible for my loved ones to comprehend. I shudder to think what a monster I would have become in the modern child-rearing era. Gorged on a diet of grade inflation, constant praise and materialistic entitlement, I probably would have succumbed to a life of heedless self- indulgence."

more...


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19 Apr 2009, 9:14 am

Narcissism, whether as clinically diagnosed personality disorder or simple "trait", is the result of a fragile sense of self, a low self-esteem, profound insecurity, etc.

It would not be surprising if in modern society, ( with its emphasis on possessions, consumption, brand-names, short-term thinking, fast-everything, including profit, and mass media which isolates, etc, and a consequent alienation/lack of community ), many many people suffered from this.

In other words, the real epidemic is one of insecurity/fragile sense of self.
.



Last edited by ouinon on 19 Apr 2009, 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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19 Apr 2009, 9:18 am

4 hour TV show produced by the BBC in 2002. WATCH IT, at least the first 20 minutes. I'm not kidding. You may have some serious questions about the medical community that diagnosis and treats you.

It presents real interviews and researchable names and dates.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3825999151



Danielismyname
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19 Apr 2009, 9:39 am

I think it's more of a trend to "ism" and "ic" others with a catch-all label to define normalism and normalistic (I just did it for them).

People will always be thinking from their mind and body, as that's where they come from; some have more insight, awareness, rationality, and etcetera, but humans will always be egocentric to some extent. Saying that we're in a narcissistic epidemic is like saying the sun will most likely rise tomorrow; we've always been in one as the sun has always risen.

What's funny, the extreme form of egocentricity, which is autism, usually doesn't care about your standard trappings of society. They don't care how they dress, how they look, how much money they have, how fast their car goes [if they have one], and etcetera.



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19 Apr 2009, 10:17 am

We definitely are in an epidemic of narcissism. I describe it as a love-hate relationship with the person you wish you were; the person that all the hurtful experiences of your life have made you wish you could be; the person you try to be; the person you punish yourself for not being.

The narcissist goes through life screaming I AM GOOD ENOUGH, DAMMIT! to a million phantoms, none of whom had the right to judge him in the first place.

Wander through any contemporary shopping mall and look at the images and the messages. Are you good enough, pretty enough, stylish enough, to belong with us? For the blissful short time between buying the s**t and getting it home, the narcissist feels good enough. Until the first little shred of tinsel falls off onto the floor, and they're back where they started.

I'm not sure that a fragile sense of self is at the bottom of narcissism. Perhaps the narcissist's sense of self is firm enough, but he senses that his "self" is not acceptable in a world ruled by the values of teenagers.



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19 Apr 2009, 10:24 am

DeepBlueLake wrote:
Wander through any contemporary shopping mall and look at the images and the messages. Are you good enough, pretty enough, stylish enough, to belong with us? For the blissful short time between buying the sh** and getting it home, the narcissist feels good enough. Until the first little shred of tinsel falls off onto the floor, and they're back where they started.


Did you watch even a few minutes of the 4 hour BBC documentary I linked? It may not even be their individual fault! The cliché phrase of "Wake up sheeple" comes to mind! Except this isn't a conspiracy theory, this is academically documented... and it is cracking around us in the form of an economic meltdown.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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19 Apr 2009, 10:30 am

I don't find anything wrong in praising people, paying people a good salary for the work they do and earning a grade of A if a kid misses only one word on their spelling test in school. To me, it's not so much about "narcissism" as much as it's about how messed up the value system is, how it's somehow okay to take out loans you cannot possibly repay, how people tell everyone to spend, spend, spend, when their debt is as high as the moon and this attitude that the only thing that matters is $$$ and what it buys and honesty, paying back loans, and other people and their survival are meaningless, unimportant matters.
Don't confuse "preventing narcissism" with "feeding someone a continuous diet of bs that errodes their confidence, causes them to feel powerless, like they can't do anything right, and makes it tougher to perform well".
What we should be preventing is the warped, misanthropic value system that says certain people don't matter.
Are most people better off when they aren't raised in poverty? They are, for the most part. Some people might confuse "not being raised in poverty" with "giving one a sense of entitlement". We must tread very carefully.



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19 Apr 2009, 10:33 am

MrMark wrote:
Generation Me
A new book says we're in a narcissism epidemic. Why you're not so special.
By Raina Kelley | NEWSWEEK
Published Apr 18, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 27, 2009

"Growing up, my literary heroines were those who, like me, struggled to be good: Jo from "Little Women," Harriet the spy, Laura Ingalls and Pippi Longstocking. A strong-willed (and loud) child, I craved examples of unruly knuckleheads tethered to a loving family that encouraged us to be our best selves despite our natural inclinations. Precocious but naive, I thought of myself as an ugly duckling—misunderstood in my youth but destined for a beauty and stature completely impossible for my loved ones to comprehend. I shudder to think what a monster I would have become in the modern child-rearing era. Gorged on a diet of grade inflation, constant praise and materialistic entitlement, I probably would have succumbed to a life of heedless self- indulgence."

more...
I agree with this. We have become too self-absorbed in society, and self-esteem has become a societal doctrine. Without allowing failure, we become as a society frail, liable to be blown over by the next gust of real life. And we are seeing the impacts now, with hovering parents jealously guarding their college-age children; parents of Little Leaguers cursing out Umpires for calling an out when their precious jewel fails to make it to base; and other acts of impropriety and incivility.

It's getting out of hand if you ask me.


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19 Apr 2009, 10:39 am

TobyZ - no, I haven't watched the four-hour video because I just got on this thread a few minutes ago, and since I'm on a dial-up modem where I am right now, I'm not likely to. I was responding to the topic of the thread, not the video you linked to.

Narcissism isn't somebody's "fault", as it's programmed into people at too young an age for them to understand. It is still, however, their problem. I do agree that one major ingredient of the current economic crash is the preference for image over reality in all walks of life.



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19 Apr 2009, 10:53 am

TobyZ wrote:
4 hour TV show produced by the BBC in 2002. WATCH IT, at least the first 20 minutes. I'm not kidding. You may have some serious questions about the medical community that diagnosis and treats you.

It presents real interviews and researchable names and dates.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3825999151


thank you


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oli234
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19 Apr 2009, 11:04 am

Quote:
4 hour TV show produced by the BBC in 2002. WATCH IT, at least the first 20 minutes. I'm not kidding. You may have some serious questions about the medical community that diagnosis and treats you.

It presents real interviews and researchable names and dates.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3825999151


I just recomended another adam curtis documentry on the dog eat dog thread, really all his work should be required viewing. There really is nobody else doing journilism on this scale at the moment



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19 Apr 2009, 11:07 am

Quote:
Don't confuse "preventing narcissism" with "feeding someone a continuous diet of bs that errodes their confidence, causes them to feel powerless, like they can't do anything right, and makes it tougher to perform well".


Amen, Ana, a thousand times amen. Kids, and everyone, deserve esteem and praise for the things they do well. Knocking kids down so they 'don't get above themselves' (which I experienced as a child myself) is just heartbreaking; you end up feeling that no matter how hard you try, you're never going to be acceptable.

I don't think kids are being 'spoiled into narcissism'. What is happening is that we live in a society that puts money, possessions, appearance and status above everything, and which doesn't even treat people as people any more. Then we wonder why kids are rude, mean and selfish. Ever seen on TV where someone asks some kid what they want to be when they grow up, and to a boy or girl they say 'Famous'? When you ask what for, they shrug - or mention being a pop star or TV star or any of the many entertainment careers that you can now apparently succeed in with no more than a little coaching and a makeover. None of these kids has any idea of their own actual strengths or abilities. We don't exactly give them the idea that school grades matter any more, do we?

None of this comes close to real narcissism, which goes way beyond mere egotism into an attitude where someone is so taken up with their own self-image that they will hurt, cheat, lie and emotionally manipulate their way through life in order not to have that self-image shattered. Irony is that they're so good at the emotional bluffing, they often appear to be very nice, charming people...until you get on the wrong side of them. But it's not the same thing as the kind of attitude described here, at all.


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19 Apr 2009, 11:08 am

Hedonism and materialism are the real problems, rather than narcissism. People aren't content with their lot, they want it all and endlessly compete to have more and achieve more than everyone else around them. Have goes before achieve, but to most of these people material gain and achievement are the same thing - As long as you possess it, it really doesn't matter to them how they got it. Like narcissism, low self-esteem, a failure to form a sense of individual identity and a poor development of true personal values are underlying factors. So many people are hopelessly misdirected in the pursuit of contentment.

The herd mentality gets worse every year.

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Perhaps, one day, we will say that the recession saved us from a parenting ethos that churns out ego-addled spoiled brats.


I wish. It would take alot more than a recession to reverse the damage that's already done.


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19 Apr 2009, 11:41 am

This could be due to the farce that is modern psychology and its too-close cousin, pop psychology.

Psychology, under the guise of science, became the dominant religion in the modern world.

People came to believe their lives are Great Literature rooted in ancient greek mythology, that they have been destined to suffer by their Creators (parents), that through ritualistic, weekly confessionals they can uncover the depths of their pain and deprivation, that in the end they can forgive their tormentors and achieve redemption.

It was a cult of pure narcissism.

And it's all crap. Anyone who can afford a shrink - even afford the time to go - enjoys a life of privilege unimaginable to the majority of the human species, which is scrounging for its next meal.



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19 Apr 2009, 11:51 am

narcissism and sociopathic. Not all sociopaths run around killing people but yes if you look at the current trends of who is accepted more in society versus who isn't. If you look at what kinds of people are held back and pushed down. If you look at what is most valuable and important. If you look at current standards of what is presidential material.

You will find sociopaths and narcissists are at the top.