The Echoes of the Mind (167) Narcissism


He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth on her father: Teddy Roosevelt

A trend in recent decades in the Occident has been the acceptance of narcissism as a norm. Self-absorption and an overweening sense of self-importance are products of upbringing. Narcissism is the weak-kneed version of psychopathy, or sociopathy, as the case may be.

Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including an inability to maintain healthy long-term relationships, unethical behavior and aggression. At the same time, narcissism is shown to boost self-esteem, emotional stability, and the tendency to emerge as a leader. ~ American psychologist Emily Grijalva

There are 2 dimensions to narcissism: admiration seeking and rivalry. Narcissists may have one but not the other, or they may have both.

Actors are commonly more hung up on admiration than non-actors, but they tend to be less competitive than the average person. Narcissistic capitalists, on the other hand, feel no especial need for admiration. They just want to dominate. By contrast, preening politicians often both desire to be admired and relish rivalry in seeking to elevate themselves over others. Donald Trump is a paramount example of such full-bodied narcissism.

You have to go back to Nero in Rome maybe to find someone as self-involved and destructive as Donald Trump is. ~ American psychiatrist Allen Frances

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Nuanced examples of narcissism are abundant. A few illustrate: 1) selfies: photos of oneself taken by oneself, 2) manspreading: men who spread their legs while sitting on public transport so as to take up 2 seats, 3) people who insistently drive slow in the fast lane.

Millennials and older generations agree that millennials are the most narcissistic. They just disagree to the extent of the narcissism. ~ Joshua Grubbs in 2016

There is a blurred line between narcissism and inconsiderate social behaviors (socio-narcissism). Both put oneself above others, and exhibit self-absorption as a manifestation of cluelessness about the entangled relation between the self and the external world.

Compared with women, men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power. Women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior. But both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption. ~ Emily Grijalva

 Narcissism on Tour

Travel today is very cheap, and people think they can do whatever they want in a globalized world. ~ English tourism official Mark Watson

In the 2110s, tourism officials became alarmed by an epidemic of reckless behavior, as visitors try to turn vacation hubs into personal props for selfies. Vandalism of historic sites has become commonplace.

It used to be fine to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower or Mount Everest, but that’s not good enough anymore. Now tourists have to put themselves in the picture. It’s about “me,” not about the place that I visit. ~ American sociologist Jesse Fox


Self-absorbed idiots have got themselves mauled in trying to get a good selfie with a dangerous animal. Falling from heights, getting hit by trains, and drowning are the most common deaths by selfie. The average age of those committing inadvertent selfie suicide is 23, with young men outnumbering women 3 to 1.