Narcissism seems to be everywhere, and many would say, more and more, with each and every passing day. What’s up with this? Is it true? Or, are we just more inclined to label traits or behavior of others as being narcissistic when maybe it isn’t narcissism? Is narcissism as prevalent as it seems? Is there a difference between self-absorption and narcissism? Narcissism is what is behind a tremendous lack of civility or its absence in everyday interactions with strangers in stores or with many neighbours for example. Narcissistic entitlement is obliterating what was and could otherwise still be cooperation among strangers, those in relationships etc., and neighbours.
The Rise of Cultural Narcissism
Riding the wave of ever-increasing technology there is a noticeable and on-going rise in cultural narcissism. This can be evidenced by shifts in cultural and societal values. Real life has, in many ways, meshed with television making household names out of the newly famous or infamous getting attention and importance without actual corresponding achievement. That people feel entitled to this money, attention, and fame, without actual achievement is in and of itself narcissisistc because it is a false sense of entitlement mixing with delusions of grandeur.
People, whether they are on reality tv shows, or in viral videos on the internet, for example, are seeking the validation of the masses as a remedy to their own low self-esteem, low self-worth, and inability to validate themselves for who they really are. There is such an excessive focus on materialism that also accompanies this over-compensation and strong desire for attention.
What is Narcissistic About This?
Expecting to be famous for essentially nothing other than glorifying one’s personal dysfunction and then feeling special about that indicates an out of focus self-focus. Indicates an out of balance perspective that has at its center one’s over-compensating for what one lacks from within.
There is a growing cultural belief exhibited by many people that what they are doing or who they are should warrant an excessive amount of attention and admiration. This stems from an over-focus on self. What could be termed actually a lack of healthy focus on self and described rather as a self-indulgent and out-of-touch with reality mindset. A mindset driven by the reality that people in the narcissistic pursuit of fame, attention, and money, are focusing excessively on a self that they do not even know. Essentially they are living in and through a pseudo-self of a false self. This adds to the evidence that narcissism is indeed palpable.
Narcissism is the life-blood of the false self of any human being. This is more apparent in those who have unresolved abandonment issues from childhood, whether they meet the criteria to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, or other forms of mental illness or not.
Is There A Difference Between Self-Absorption and Narcissism?
It may depend upon how one defines self-absorption. I think it is fair to say that self-absorption is a fairly narcissistic way of being. That said, there are degrees of self-absorption. Some would argue that some degree of self-focus or self-absorption has all to do with the expression of individuality. At what point does one’s own individual expression or perception become too inner-focused, or inner-directed enough for it to meet the criteria of being narcissisistic?
Anything that leans to the extreme, at the very least, encroaches upon narcissistic territory. It is in the median, the middle, from a healthy balance of inner and out-directed focus that narcissism is not prevalent. Balance and the middle-ground of healthy reasonable paradox in culture is not as common as one could argue it has been in the past. We see evidenced the absence of said in front of our very eyes on television and computer screens with alarming regularity. So much so, that for growing numbers of people, deeply indoctrinated now in the narcissism of a dominant technology driven pop culture there is now a conditioned response which sees this prevalence of narcissism as “normal”.
Could this be why it seems easier and easier to identify narcissism as being practically everywhere these days?
© A.J. Mahari, November 13, 2009 – All rights reserved.