Thursday, October 25, 2007

'narcissism' from an elitist's perspective


"Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually arrogantly self-assured and confident. They expect to be noticed as superior. Many highly successful individuals might be considered narcissistic. However, this disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing."

elitism -n.
The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

confidence -n.
2. belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.
3. certitude; assurance: He described the situation with such confidence that the audience believed him completely.

talent -n.
A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment. See Synonyms at
Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality. A special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.
A capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

Plato Vs. Nietzsche: The Nature of Good Plato and Nietzsche have opposing views on the nature of good. Plato, as demonstrated in the "The Cave" and "Apology," believes that Good is absolute. This means that he is of the opinion that there is one perfect version of Good for all people, whether they are rich or poor, powerful or weak. However, Nietzsche believes in the relative nature of good. He thinks that the meaning of good can be different for different groups of people, specifically the upper (master) class and the lower (slave) class.

I remember sitting in the back of one of many a psychology class, (because I thought the different smells of people were disgusting, and personal, and none of my business) raising my hand, and acknowledging the burden of having a personality disorder for the first time in my life; asking if having too much confidence could really be that bad, begging the question of 'should it really be considered a disorder if you're totally bad-assed in every way?'

My question was dismissed as a joke, but in the absurd way I presented it, that was an option I've always offered instructors, to buffer the more likely answer of "I don't know," since that's what you usually get when you ask for answers outside of textbooks, a.k.a. asking good questions. There is an art form to being subversive if you're not trying to make an enemy out of yourself, which often involves elements such as: tact, good timing, and humor.

As a person who's studied much psychology, a moderate amount of philosophy, and a mild dose of politics, in and out of school, I consider the word 'narcissist'...hell, the entire concept of narcissism, in the same sense that I consider the concept of 'arrogance,' as a negative way (for people who hold contempt in their inequality, in their jealousy) to use words as weapons to make people who are better than them feel bad about it.

In an air of positive connotations, controversial/negative seeming personality describing adjectives, i.e., 'narcissism' or 'arrogance' translate with little effort into the sunshiny realm of 'confidence.'

Think about it, has anyone ever said something like, "Man, that guy Tom's a smart, good looking guy, but he's got way too much confidence. I think he's mentally ill for that."


How about, "Man, that Tom's a smart, good looking guy and a total fucking dickhead because he knows every woman in the neighborhood wants to throw their soppin poons at him. Tom's a fucking narcissist because he knows he's not ugly, and won't be my friend because my wife thinks I am fat and disgusting looking and keeps telling me to start jogging again, but what's her fat ass gonna do to get rid of those oceans of cellulite beneath her floppy size 16 butt cheeks, and man, Tom has no right to think he's better than anybody because he's in shape from exercise and a healthy diet, has a good job from a good education, and reads books by dead people. We're all gonna die one day anyway, so what's the point, right? God, I hate Tom. I hate him for trying to make the best out of life, so I'm gonna blame all my problems on narcissistic people like him. Jerks!"

I have to say this, and this might shock people, and offend people, but I don't care:

It is okay to love yourself.

It is okay to look in the mirror and think, "Awesome, I'm so glad my parents have good genes because I am not ugly like a lot of people I see everywhere I go, like crazy Mr Potato Head looking people," and shudder.

It's okay to not be buddies with the guy at your job who loves Nascar, porn, and America's Next Top Model because he wears Bermuda shorts and Metallica shirts to work every other day.

It's okay to grab a handful of fat from your gut and think, "I'd better do something about this before I turn into a fatty turd bucket looking chum sack that can't even see my own feet when I sit down to take a shit."

It's okay, that there is something called the mediocrity principle: saying there is nothing special about humans or the earth, a bar, a consensus, the herd, most people, average, typical, norms; that you don't relate to predictable views and ways of entertainment for people who are proud to be normal, and not 'weird' or 'eccentric' or 'different.'

I have met, interacted with, and studied a vast majority of personalities in my life. I have learned that communication is much easier when the person you're talking to doesn't hate you for making them feel worthless and insecure because you are better looking, have more money, are more intelligent, have better clothes, weren't beaten by your father, have a nicer car, would be impossible to fuck, have better skin, have been to foreign countries, or are good at things like painting lifelike portraits or wailing the electric like Hendrix.

If narcissism's roots are planted in being a realist and recognizing and embracing your own assets as a human being as being kick ass, then all people with a positive sense of self-awareness should be diagnosed as having a problem, or at least chastised as arrogant assholes because there's something wrong with everybody, right?

I'm sorry. Now that I think about it, I have no right to think that I am any better than anyone.

Starting tomorrow I am going to fuck whoever wants to fuck me from now on. Especially the fat, ugly, lesser intelligent men, since that's been the brunt of most most of my propositions, since I was a kid. I mean, what gives me the right to think that I'm above those, probably-really-nice-in-their-own-ways, characters?

And for those who even think about printing that last paragraph off and trying to use it as a coupon, "I hate you because you're ugly and dumb, as does everybody else," so fuck off.


Glacial Spain said...
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Sabra Embury said...

I'm actually glad most people think they're better than average. I like self-esteem. I like confidence. It's better than most people thinking they suck or thinking that average is great.

This goes to a situation where I was amongst pot heads who thought they knew a little something about something more because they got high and I didn't. In their way they felt a sense of empowerment in their group as in any group even if it's a group of folks who watch football like a religion and people who don't 'just don't get it because they're caught up in some other dumb bullshit,' or a group of book club people who think people who don't read at least abook a week are retarded. People who play instruments well feel superior, skateboarders, carnies who are good at acrobatics.

The thing that gets me the most though, are the people who don't really have a forte of some kind, people who don't really fit in, and they throw words around like narcissist as if it's a bad thing,

but the guy who asked you to do his laundry, yeah, those guys are spoiled dipshits who get coddled and make other good looking people seem like assholes before you even get a chance to get to know them. And all because of some lucky fading lottery ticket.

Glacial Spain said...
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Sabra Embury said...

I guess that just depends on if the person doing the wrong doing got too much praise growing up or not enough. 'Motives' have more to do with subjective ideas considered to be wrongdoing more than ego. Could be anythig from indignation to projection, to self defense mechanisms to impared judgements.

Glacial Spain said...
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Glacial Spain said...
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Sabra Embury said... do you define 'wrongdoing' is what I'm saying.

One person's wrong can too easily be another person's right, and vice versa.

Euthanasia, for example.

Glacial Spain said...
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Robert said...

Ego is cool 4 school but the question of right and wrong is most interesting to me.
By what standards is what Hitler did wrong?
Societal standards is the answer I would give, though you are free to disagree.
In a different society, different environments, what Hitler did could be interpreted as a noble act. Eugenics, man.
At least that is my view.

One night talking with friends over Stars Wars Episode 3, I came to the conclusion that is is no universal right and wrong. There is only how we perceive and interpret the world meshed with our values, which in themselves are not guided exclusively by our morals or ethics, but by all kinds of junk like our family, media, religion, politics...

Narcissism might just be a value system geared towards personal gain. Where the average Joe's ego balance's the id and superego, those who tend towards narcissism would favour the id. Self pleasure.

Self confidence then might play a part in the development of ones id to the point where it becomes a controlling entity. A coddled boy, given whatever he wants, might develop this overblown sense of worth... and so on.

This is getting long, and I'm no professor, but you get the idea.
I hope.

Sabra Embury said...

It's crippling to me to have to wonder if any of my motives behind my actions, or the actions in and of themselves might be disrespectful to any one person, if not to another, or to myself. I guess this is why the concept of utilitarianism exists, for these such dilemmas.

When I say there's a subjective, or specific elemental factor involved surrounded by motives, we'll use your example: Hitler, in his childhood beaten daily by his father, was rejected from the artist community; his wrongdoing (according to people who say what he did was wrong, as opposed to the people who think he was doing a great thing) might have been ignited, intially, by too little ego, then inflamed by the snowball effect of too much ego towards the end with the massive power he ultimately accumilated.

In this question that you ask, there is no this or that, and if I chose this one or that, I'd be generalizing and I don't like to make habits of doing that being that every situation is of its own, such as human beings, and things like motives which drive them.

Glacial Spain said...
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