Yesterday, I wrote about narcissism: people whose emotional development is arrested in toddlerhood. They grow up; they learn social conventions, reading, writing and 'rithmatic; but they never learn to manage their own feelings or to recognize that others have feelings. Have you read about a "sense of entitlement" or "it's all about me"? Those are hallmark attitudes of narcissism. It's narcissistic, by definition, to take another life, except in self-defense. It's narcissistic to believe that you're intrinsically better than other people; more deserving. Bigotry is narcissism; so is most hate. Believing you can coerce or change another, other than by reason or example, to see things your way is narcissistic. Also, by definition, declaring war as President Bush did, is narcissistic. The commitment of rape, chlid abuse, spousal abuse, or perpetrating violence (like gang behavior) are narcissistic behaviors.
In her prescient book, When Society Becomes an Addict, written amazingly in 1988, author Anne Wilson Schaef describes the addictive aspects of the culture in the United States of America, and how it's reflected in our politics and politicians. I highly recommend it to anyone concerned about this problem.
Dr. Romance watches the news, from the out-of-control behavior of our celebrities and politicians, to the horrors inflicted on Virginia Tech by a lone narcissist, to the horrors inflicted on families in Iraq by a narcissistic Administration. Narcissism is a huge problem in our country. Unbridled capitalism encourages narcissism.
Loving and taking care of each other in healthy ways require emotional maturity. LIving an ethical, meaningful life requires autonomy and the ability to think for yourself. Don't be swept up in the quest for beauty, the current fad, or striving to be rich no matter what it costs others. Doing well by doing good is a much healthier and more responsible attitude. Caring about others and being cared about in return is what makes the world a better place. Asking "What can I do to be a better human being?" is the real secret to life.
What are the ways you resist the tide of narcissism, and stay centered?