Are We in a Narcissism Epidemic? (Newsweek)

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Master_Shake
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20 Apr 2009, 12:32 pm

Narcissists aren't a new creation, look at the societies that used to be ruled by a monarchy who lived in splendor while peasants could barely afford nutritious food for their families.

It is human nature to make your own needs all the is important if others allow you to get away with it.

On the subject of whether narcissists are more successful, a study (Twenge & Cambell, 2001) found that positive self-evaluation that is bestowed too easily may not be healthy. A study by Paulhus, 1998, found people who value themselves highly, may at first appear interesting and confident to a group, but peoples perception of them quickly turns to contempt.

Turning off people like this isn't a good formula for success.

I have to say people with Asperger's seem quite narcissistic about their intelligence.


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20 Apr 2009, 12:47 pm

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?


It has been that way for quite a long time.

I think the idea of "Me, Me, Me" has gone way too far and needs to stop.

I've seen alot of this in how my sister was raised. Our parents pretty much let her run the house. If she didn't want certain TV shows watched by anyone, certain music listened to, certain books read, our parents would enforce her bans on these things to keep her happy. If her grades were only so so, they'd go fight the teachers, principals, etc., and even move her to other schools when she didn't get her way. They once got Cs changed to As by contacts on the school board for her, since they thought she shouldn't make Cs. If I got Cs, I pretty much ended up on lockdown with no music, TV, etc. They couldn't punish her, since they thought punishing her was bad for her self esteem.

They were overly concerned for her self esteem, which caused alot of problems for her and for me as well, since one of the things they did for her self esteem was to knock me down. I wonder what I would be like if I'd been treated like her, being taken out of schools I didn't like, getting my grades changed to what I wanted, not having to give up one second of my time to her or anyone else, would have been a nice life, but not sure I'd have been a nice person as a result.


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20 Apr 2009, 12:50 pm

I agree with that bit about aspies thinking they are smarter than they are. Having the mannerisms and quirks of a professor doesnt actually make you smart by default. Ive always called it the "pantomime of intelligence", and Ive been guilty of it before. The form isnt a guarantee of function.

Ive learned to realize that having special interests in subjects isnt really IQ related. I've met people who I consider to be geniuses and they arent like me. They are very nimble in switching between subjects and drawing interesting conclusions. Its one of those things where you know it when I see it.



oli234
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20 Apr 2009, 2:03 pm

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I agree with that bit about aspies thinking they are smarter than they are


Yeah that is very true. Personaly I have very good verbal IQ but am very low in other areas. But because of this I think I find it possible to sound a hell of a lot smarter than I actually am, not that I'm stupid, just not all that smart either. But I've definatly been guilty of thinking I'm smarter than I really am.

Also aspies normally have a type of intelligence that comes through in IQ tests, but I'd say that things like an ability to read body language and social skills require a type of intelligence too. So really it's not that aspies are all that clever overall, but more like we have very specific sorts of intelligence.



Master_Shake
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20 Apr 2009, 2:48 pm

oli234 wrote:
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I agree with that bit about aspies thinking they are smarter than they are


Yeah that is very true. Personaly I have very good verbal IQ but am very low in other areas. But because of this I think I find it possible to sound a hell of a lot smarter than I actually am, not that I'm stupid, just not all that smart either. But I've definatly been guilty of thinking I'm smarter than I really am.

Also aspies normally have a type of intelligence that comes through in IQ tests, but I'd say that things like an ability to read body language and social skills require a type of intelligence too. So really it's not that aspies are all that clever overall, but more like we have very specific sorts of intelligence.


I have to say oli, these have been exactly my experiences. Like you I have verbal IQ much higher than performance IQ. As a child people said I was smart because I spoke in a very pedantic way, and I listened to what those people said... I believed I was a genius, a word thrown around way too much these days. Truth is, overall I'm about average, but my strengths and weaknesses are all over the place... it's much easier to be successful if your all around average than if you are average but have extreme strengths and weaknesses.


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20 Apr 2009, 4:54 pm

Entitlement topic

This is a very complicated issue. We live in a push button, light speed email materialistic world, full of faster food, speed dating, speed dialing, drive throughs--and yet, we live longer lives in which to enjoy all this. The high tech wizardry of Wii, the blackberry, twitter-- things coming and going so quickly that everything is obsolete before you even take it off the lot.

Accelerated lifestyles, multitasking, fads and fashion changes, technology, instant gratification! Makes me dizzy.

Stop the world. I need a break! 8O


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20 Apr 2009, 5:15 pm

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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.


Not really - you find extreme examples on the other end - Like Henry VIII's father Henry VII or Friedrich-Wilhelm I or Prussia. How were less keen to present their position in society by open displayed luxury (here a famous picture of Friedrich-Wilhelm I with August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector-Duke of Saxony which displays the different "style" of both princes drastically):

Image

oli234 wrote:
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.


For those how could afford so this was always the case. Again two pictures of contemporary persons of roughly the same social standing. Francis Walsingham and Robert Dudley, two key players at the court of Elizabeth I:

Image

Image

Both portraits show how people how could pay for an individualistic style did so, centuries ago. Read Cato the Younger, he was full in complains about "too much style" of his contemporaries. Read the letters of Lieselotte of Palatine from the court of Louis XIV and her complains and remarks about the contest in style!


oli234 wrote:
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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.


Any society (or class) how had the means of expressing themselves individualistic did so in the past. Why the recent three or four generations shall be here an exception.



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20 Apr 2009, 6:17 pm

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For those how could afford so this was always the case. Again two pictures of contemporary persons of roughly the same social standing. Francis Walsingham and Robert Dudley, two key players at the court of Elizabeth I:



The fact that different members of the aristocracy chose to express their wealth in slightly different ways doesn't suggest that they were trying to express more than their posistion and wealth. The point is that the idea of the self, the inner identity, wasn't as important in these periouds.

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Any society (or class) how had the means of expressing themselves individualistic did so in the past. Why the recent three or four generations shall be here an exception.


My point isn't that self expression is an entirly new concept. It's that the importance placed on the concept of the individual self, as apposed to the self that had an identity based on playing a certain role in society, and the idea that this inner identity can be best expressed by buying products (and by no means just cloths) is a fairly new concept. One that is very much influenced by idea's of self formed in twentieth century psychology, has been encouraged by buisness through advertising and PR campaigns and has led to a society where people feel a much greater sense of self-entitlement both materialistically and emotionaly.

It's not altogether a bad thing, I'm not saying we should go back to a strictly conformist society, but I do feel like a lot of people are missing something in this world, the idea that there is something bigger and more important than the self which results in a greater feeling of purpose in life.



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20 Apr 2009, 6:41 pm

how is hedonism 'bad'?


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20 Apr 2009, 6:59 pm

Hedonism is bad when it makes people obese or entices them to spend money they don't have. I don't think Hedonism in itself is "bad".
If people's hedonism leads to various addictions it can be self defeating.
If you can survive being a hedonist and spending your own money on that kind of lifestyle I see nothing wrong with it. If you are taking out loans you can't replay to implement your lavish existence, that becomes a problem for other people. It sounds extreme, but more people than you realize live on credit cards and end up declaring bankruptcy.



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20 Apr 2009, 7:00 pm

oli234 wrote:
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For those how could afford so this was always the case. Again two pictures of contemporary persons of roughly the same social standing. Francis Walsingham and Robert Dudley, two key players at the court of Elizabeth I:



The fact that different members of the aristocracy chose to express their wealth in slightly different ways doesn't suggest that they were trying to express more than their posistion and wealth. The point is that the idea of the self, the inner identity, wasn't as important in these periouds.


This was not a "slightly different" expression - the differences in style of the examples I presented could be translated into modern terms of style in punker vs. black tie.

Those different styles expressed very much different viewpoint and understands of their own "inner identity".

oli234 wrote:
Quote:
Any society (or class) how had the means of expressing themselves individualistic did so in the past. Why the recent three or four generations shall be here an exception.


My point isn't that self expression is an entirly new concept. It's that the importance placed on the concept of the individual self, as apposed to the self that had an identity based on playing a certain role in society, and the idea that this inner identity can be best expressed by buying products (and by no means just cloths) is a fairly new concept. One that is very much influenced by idea's of self formed in twentieth century psychology, has been encouraged by buisness through advertising and PR campaigns and has led to a society where people feel a much greater sense of self-entitlement both materialistically and emotionaly.


PR and advertisement wouldn't be successful if they couldn't tap on a human strain already present. They do it today more professional than let say the tailors and goldsmiths of gone periods of history, but the underlying mechanism is still the same. The material wealth of today's society does just enable wider groups to play this game.

You shall start to read text from earlier periods of history - those people were not that different to today's society.



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21 Apr 2009, 2:46 am

Ok, people have suffered from this since Day 1; the reason you only hear about it now is because the media honestly has nothing better to report, and they want to keep you in a state of misery.



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21 Apr 2009, 3:15 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
Hedonism is bad when it makes people obese or entices them to spend money they don't have. I don't think Hedonism in itself is "bad".
If people's hedonism leads to various addictions it can be self defeating.
If you can survive being a hedonist and spending your own money on that kind of lifestyle I see nothing wrong with it. If you are taking out loans you can't replay to implement your lavish existence, that becomes a problem for other people. It sounds extreme, but more people than you realize live on credit cards and end up declaring bankruptcy.


When you really think what you REALLY NEED to gain happiness, it does not cost really a lot of money. Epicurus was in his time also confronted with luxury in society and he thought a lot about this. His answer was that that a modest meal with some friends and a good talk would provide more happiness than an expensive party. His idea was to highlight that a certain amount of money or goods is needed to fulfil some basic needs and enjoyment, but above a certain, relative low, amount of consumption extra consumption does not provide extra happiness.

Therefore spending more money for items you don't need is according to Epicurus not hedonistic, but utterly foolish. To be a real hedonist you need understand in the first place what really provides happiness. Buying very expensive clothing does not make you happy for long, and if you are not rich it will by the lost of money perhaps cause on the long run unhappiness. Spending a modest amount for some wine and ask friends to come around will make you more happy or buying book which you can read too. Having a modest beer in beer garden can provide the same happiness than an expensive trip to Rio, but will not jeopardise your financial future, except you are rich.

Not to understand Epicurus wrong: He said always that you shall enjoy your live, have fun, consume if you like, but think to do it in such a way that you really understand what makes you happy on the long run and to find your way of happiness, which is most likely not the way the merchant for luxury goods promotes.



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21 Apr 2009, 3:24 am

i am too busy navel-gazing to even bother contemplating the OP's question.



oli234
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21 Apr 2009, 4:27 am

Quote:
PR and advertisement wouldn't be successful if they couldn't tap on a human strain already present. They do it today more professional than let say the tailors and goldsmiths of gone periods of history, but the underlying mechanism is still the same. The material wealth of today's society does just enable wider groups to play this game.

You shall start to read text from earlier periods of history - those people were not that different to today's society.




I agree that this has tapped into something that is already there in the human mind, sellfish desires. But in centuries past society has been a mitigating factor on these desires, and now society openly encourages there frank expression, and that is a cultural shift. People just didn't used to talk about things like "self-actualization" or "going away to find myself" this word self just wasn't as important before the popularization of psychological ideas, especially freud's.

And you don't need to look back centuries to see this trend, if you look at the difference between the culture of the 50's and the 70's this trend is apparant.