Sunday, February 6, 2011

Is everyone a narcissist?

Unlike most people in the western hemisphere of the world, I have come to the conclusion that, no, not all people are totally self-centered.
It has become close to a rule to think that we, as individuals, think first of ourselves, then if we are extremely generous, others. But do not confuse our sense of self preservation with narcissism. Its not the same. In some ways we can even say that our societies are built on people acting out of their own interest, bettering their own living standards. But at the same time narcissism, which is a breath away from being the same as the need of self preservation, has not brought any fruits innovation-vise as far as I know.

To be fair I have to look at narcissism as two concepts in the same expression.
  1. One can be seen as "positive"; in the sense that we understand ourselves as acting out of our persona rather than the environment that surrounds us. When we act to change our surroundings and it is because something is "wrong" in the sense that the norms(or morals) we have been brought up with does not apply/occur to/in a specific situation, we are actually acting to preserve our surroundings rather than ourselves. The "self" in this scenario is the motivator, but not the object of individuals attention.
  2. The other way to see narcissism is in the "negative" sense. I would say this occurs when the individual sees himself out of the environment that surrounds it, and by doing so makes the environment a part of oneself. When we look at it like this, the persona "becomes" the environment and makes everything else "less important".
Note: I did no research into the term "narcissism" before writing this. If something is "wrong" with my understanding of the term, please make a mental note, and have a nice day.

So is everyone a narcissist? No, and yes. In some ways the ego fills our very existence, but I would venture out on a limb and say that the ego becomes obliterated when faced with certain situations.
I remember seeing an episode of Friends when I was little, where the sub plot of one of the episodes were Joey´s thesis; "that there was no selfless deed", and Phoebe´s attempt to prove him wrong. The moral of the episode was that "no there isn´t a selfless deed". I remember thinking already then: whatthefwhat? and went on to liberate my pet mouse out of spite. And yes, any pet is both important and furiously loved by any young boy.
I see now that I may have set loose a horde of rodents on our neighbor, because i think it was pregnant... but the mouse was free anyway, to roam the back yard of our neighbor, and possibly his kitchen.

The point is that there are cases (this was a poor example) when people do things to preserve other things than their self, at the cost of and not at the boon of the ego.

No. I´m not thinking of love. Or rather... I´m not thinking of relationships.
I´ve recently been flooded with friends problems where they moan about their predicament. Most of their problems are based on the most basic of all problems: that they are focusing on them selves, and not listening to their partner. "Why can´t he see that I need him to listen?" "Why isn´t he calling me?" "Why am I the only one who cares in this relationship?" bladiblabla. I´ve heard it all. Twice.
Some guys would disagree with me (but those guys don´t know sh*t) when I say that its all about compromise, giving and getting, where as they think its either all about him, or if he´s a slipper; all about her. If the other part isn´t returning the efforts of the other partner it´s because of one out of two things: Either he/she doen´t care enough, in which case the relationship is doomed, or he/she doesn´t get the concept of giving and getting... in which case the relationship is doomed. Mystery solved.
I promise you, there are no other situation with more ego, than a relationship. But that isn´t love... not really. If they had really loved each other, they would have seen the pleasure of making each other happy, and stopped thinking about their own needs. Their needs would have become the other ones needs... and so on.


Society applauds people who do selfless deeds. It honors them and makes them examples for others to follow in their footsteps. But isn´t that a little sad in itself? Should we really need to applaud actions that should have been mundain and common?

End of rant.

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