Are We in a Narcissism Epidemic? (Newsweek)

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nothingunusual
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19 Apr 2009, 12:07 pm

kittenmeow wrote:
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.


Most true sociopaths end-up at the bottom of the social barrel eventually, since they usually fall into the judicial system due to petty crime, violent offences, substance abuse and other social misconduct. They're definitely not valued or supported by society.


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19 Apr 2009, 2:16 pm

nothingunusual, I'd have to disagree about the value our society gives to sociopaths. Even the ones who end up in jail can have films made about them, books written about them, women writing in to say they'll marry them in prison. Go to see any Hollywood action movie nowadays and you'll see the sociopath as hero - the man who never gets scared. Admittedly, it can be great fun to watch, but the lingering taste for it leaves the cinema with you and seeps into your real life.

Compared to the world of fifty years ago, our society is dangerously comfortable with sociopathic behaviour. The idea that life is what you can get away with pours out of the TV, magazines and marketing.

But true sociopaths are comparatively rare. So more and more people need to cultivate a pseudo-sociopathic exterior. Enter the narcissist.

They have some similarities - they tend to be manipulative, short-fused users, but beneath the hood it's a different story.

Narcissists want the whole world to admire them.

Sociopaths don't give a damn who admires them or not.

Sociopaths attack you because they've seen through your bullshit, and you've disappointed them.

Narcissists attack you because you've seen through their bullshit, and they can't handle that.

Sociopaths give the impression of having everything too easy.

Narcissists give the impression of having to try just a little bit too hard.

In US slang: Sociopaths = players, Narcissists = douchebags.



zer0netgain
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19 Apr 2009, 2:23 pm

We live in a society that FOR GENERATIONS has embraced an instant gratification mentality.

It's all about ME, ME, ME!

Life is like marriage. If you want it to work, you need to make it more about the other guy than about yourself.

A husband and wife that focus their time on how to make each other happy find very little to fight about. In giving each other what they want most, they wind up getting what they want most of the time.

When that same couple looks out for themselves first and foremost, it's a fight over resources and time.

In society, the same is true. Humans (ironically) get more gratification out of giving than getting, but society conditions them to be takers and not givers.

The problem, however, is not individuals. It's the people who do marketing that brainwash people from the day they are born to be mass consumers. You can't teach a child to be selfish and then wonder why they are so self-absorbed when they grow up.



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19 Apr 2009, 3:20 pm

kittenmeow wrote:
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.

I would go further and say that in certain professions and lifestyles its an advantage. If you want a good example, look at the cut and thrust of politics. In fact the social game is probably easier to play as a sociopath...



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19 Apr 2009, 3:24 pm

nothingunusual wrote:
kittenmeow wrote:
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.


Most true sociopaths end-up at the bottom of the social barrel eventually, since they usually fall into the judicial system due to petty crime, violent offences, substance abuse and other social misconduct. They're definitely not valued or supported by society.


If anything, I would say our generation is encouraged to be sociopathic. Kids these days are treated like little emperors by their parents, especially in the middle class. Especially those who are the product of private schools in general (though obviously there are exceptions). You should see some of those who get to show up in my university...



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19 Apr 2009, 9:54 pm

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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.


You need to find a way to watch the video. It is the fault of a deliberate effort to convince people to be happy purchasing products they didn't need. Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays



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19 Apr 2009, 10:12 pm

I've read sociopaths are common. You can be a sociopath and not end up in jail. I've been around sociopathic people and it's not a pleasant experience. They treated me like crap and rationalized it. Sociopaths are the great rationalizers. They can justify anything. They think of justifications and suddenly everything they do becomes "alright". Sociopath sounds scary but not all of them are murderers. Some of them lie and treat people like crap but never do anything illegal. Some of them end up in jail for murder.
Usually, sociopathy involves taking money and getting into debt. There are many sociopaths holding key positions in corporations. Sociopaths aren't these creepsters hanging out in back alleys smoking crackpipes or looking for pockets to pick. Most of them are the best manipulators around. They can get people to buy their game and like them, even defend them, even when they act like total low lifes. They are very good to people they know will support them, often at the expense of others.
If there's someone everyone has a very high opinion of and you like really well, so much so, they get away with things others wouldn't and not even get called on it, they are sociopaths.
I think there are levels of sociopathy. Some people might do nothing but steal paperclips at work while others steal millions of dollars. Someone might spit in another's soft drink while another might poison it.

Level 1 sociopath would be the worst. Here we would find murderers and other criminals who inflict bodily harm on others. We would find corrupts bosses who have stolen billions of dollars and have ripped off countless persons.

Level 2 Would be the ones who steal now and then. Here would be the person that has five or more divorces, a terrible credit record, the thief, someone who routinely gets into fisticuffs or does mildly malicious "get evens" on the sly. This person might have been in jail some but not for very long periods.

Level 3 would be the paper clip stealers at work. The mildly sociopathic. Slight infractions occur here. The occasional speeding ticket. Parking now in then in a reserved space that isn't theirs. Switching channels when someone is in the middle of a program. Level 3 Sociopaths still rationalize but nothing they do is very serious, just irritating.

The above levels pertain to individuals.

Now onto something I call Sociopathic Systems. This is a type of society or "system" that is reinforced and supported by sociopathic values, like, superficiality, charm, shallowness, fabrications, criminal behaviour. Basically it's a the kind of society one would label "corrupted". Not much substance. It could even be downright fascistic. It can involve a society and the officials and bueracracies that keep it in check.



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20 Apr 2009, 5:59 am

Metalwolf wrote:
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.

All of this is nothing new. Mine was the "Me" generation, the anything goes, "If it feels good do it" generation (which Nike has co-opted to "Just do it"). The baby-boomers have a strong sense of entitlement. They're also the ones who got us thinking on a more global scale. Our parents yelled at Little League coaches & umpires. Where I work we call them “helicopter parents”— they hover.


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oli234
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20 Apr 2009, 7:54 am

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Now onto something I call Sociopathic Systems. This is a type of society or "system" that is reinforced and supported by sociopathic values, like, superficiality, charm, shallowness, fabrications, criminal behaviour. Basically it's a the kind of society one would label "corrupted". Not much substance. It could even be downright fascistic. It can involve a society and the officials and bueracracies that keep it in check.


Isn't that exactly the type of society we live in at the moment?



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20 Apr 2009, 8:00 am

MrMark wrote:
Generation Me
A new book says we're in a narcissism epidemic. Why you're not so special. ...


If this is an "epidemic", it is as old as written records. The author should spend an afternoon in picture gallery and have a look to the costumes of former periods of those how could afford splendour and would see that our time is quite modest in its expression.



oli234
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20 Apr 2009, 8:16 am

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If this is an "epidemic", it is as old as written records. The author should spend an afternoon in picture gallery and have a look to the costumes of former periods of those how could afford splendour and would see that our time is quite modest in its expression.


But then at least narcissism was the preserve of the rich, and whatever importance they may have placed on their sense of self was kept in check by a society that shared greater collective values.

Today self-gratification is the principle value for all of society, so there has been a monumental shift in this direction in the last 100 years.



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20 Apr 2009, 8:40 am

oli234 wrote:
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If this is an "epidemic", it is as old as written records. The author should spend an afternoon in picture gallery and have a look to the costumes of former periods of those how could afford splendour and would see that our time is quite modest in its expression.


But then at least narcissism was the preserve of the rich, and whatever importance they may have placed on their sense of self was kept in check by a society that shared greater collective values.


That's a misconception of the past: The expression of wealth was much less discrete than today. A state event like the Field of the Cloth of Gold or a palace like Schönbrunn or Nero's Golden House would be today seen, even with the super-super rich, as utterly obscene. Look at clothings of Henry VIII or François I of France - those were real rubies and diamonds. Each one more worth than a little town has as an annual income.

You find such a presentation of luxury today only in the gulf states.

oli234 wrote:
Today self-gratification is the principle value for all of society, so there has been a monumental shift in this direction in the last 100 years.


The only reason for this shift within the recent 100 years is the fact that more can afford luxury. It is less a shift in human behaviour, but a shift in circumstances of living of the mass of people.



oli234
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20 Apr 2009, 9:03 am

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That's a misconception of the past: The expression of wealth was much less discrete than today. A state event like the Field of the Cloth of Gold or a palace like Schönbrunn or Nero's Golden House would be today seen, even with the super-super rich, as utterly obscene. Look at clothings of Henry VIII or François I of France - those were real rubies and diamonds. Each one more worth than a little town has as an annual income.

You find such a presentation of luxury today only in the gulf states.


That may be so but all such a display was really showing was their wealth and power, so that was still only expressing their given role in a society. These days products are meant to be used to express every facet of you're being and many people take great care in thinking exactly what image they wish to express, it's evolved into much more than displays of wealth.

Quote:
The only reason for this shift within the recent 100 years is the fact that more can afford luxury. It is less a shift in human behaviour, but a shift in circumstances of living of the mass of people.


It has much more to do with individualism and consumerism than it does with a simple rise in living standards. Back in 1920's the need for this shift was explicitly understood by manufacturers, and with the newly developed PR industry they helped to manufacture it. To create a society of consumers who wanted nothing more than to buy an endless array of different products in an effort to express their true identity, which is conisdered to be an all important aim. This was social enginering on a grand scale and not just the inevitable result of people having more disposible income.

Weather you can really call all this an empire of narcissism is debatable but the concept of the self is more important than it has ever been.



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20 Apr 2009, 9:24 am

DeepBlueLake wrote:
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.


oh holy crap, thats so me...



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20 Apr 2009, 10:12 am

oli234 wrote:
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Now onto something I call Sociopathic Systems. This is a type of society or "system" that is reinforced and supported by sociopathic values, like, superficiality, charm, shallowness, fabrications, criminal behaviour. Basically it's a the kind of society one would label "corrupted". Not much substance. It could even be downright fascistic. It can involve a society and the officials and bueracracies that keep it in check.


Isn't that exactly the type of society we live in at the moment?


Somewhat. I think a sociopathic thought orientation led to the economic collapse. Human rights were put on the back burner while in pursuit off the almighty dollar. That way of thinking is sociopathic. Individuals mean nothing while $$$$ are all that matters. It's a sick, twisted, distorted value system that leads to misery. Yes, we need money to survive but we should keep our priorities straight and remember we are all individuals in the sea of many. When we take too much we could be leaving others with nothing. This rampant consumerism might not be the most advantageous approach to life.