Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player





Understanding Scriptures

Readers Views

Activity news and much more

Free Subscription:

Subscribe Unsubscribe

 Blooming Stars

Living in a Narcissistic World

            Narcissism means egoism, egocentrism, or morbid love of oneself. Narcissus was an extremely beautiful young man in Greek mythology. He is said to have madly fallen in love with his own reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own image. He was not able to disengage from the beauty of his reflection, and ended up dead. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), narcissistic personality disorder essentially is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Persons with this disorder can be arrogant. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance, have fantasies of unlimited power, brilliance, and beauty, believe they are special, and have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment, take advantage of others to achieve their ends, and show arrogant or haughty attitudes and behaviors. In the Indian setting, they especially feel they do not have to stand in a queue or line to be served, or follow rules or decency in traffic.

            Narcissistic persons believe they know better than others. They can be self-righteous. They feel free to question others in areas where they do not like to be questioned. They are quick in judging and imputing motives to others. They feel they are better assessors of characters as to who can or cannot be trusted. They may have a patronizing or condescending attitude. They dominate in conversations. Believing they know better than others, they freely interrupt others, and do not listen to others attentively. While they may say they are open to corrections, in reality they are not. They may project their own feelings and thoughts on to others. Knowing the real truth, they consider themselves to be veritable gifts to humanity. Some of them may not even be aware that they are exhibiting narcissistic characteristics. They might also think they are trying to be help to others. One needs to have a cluster of symptoms for a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. When the required minimum number of symptoms is not there, one is said to have a personality marked by narcissistic features. They can be highly stable and successful in their chosen environment or profession. You can find them in religions, politics, and academic settings.

            Narcissism spreads fast in a world of consumerist culture. The consumer culture itself is a narcissistic culture. In a consumer society especially driven by success and cut-throat competition everyone promotes oneself, and blows one’s own trumpet. Recently a celebrity is reported to have doubled his fee that ran into crores (10 million) of rupees for a commercial when he came to know that he was not the first choice to advertise that particular product. In a consumer culture men and women are commodities and products ingeniously packaged in stylish clothes and frozen looks, and traded in open markets. They flaunt their physical looks and bodily endowments. There was a recent report of some famous women entertainers who insured their bodily assets such as breasts and buttocks for millions of dollars or rupees. In this connection, a little story I was told some years ago may be of some interest. It looks like a beautiful blond of low average intelligence approached Albert Einstein and made a marriage proposal. She told him: “We can have a beautiful child of your intelligence and my beauty”. Einstein is reported to have asked the lady: “What if we have a child of my beauty and your intelligence”? As spiritual persons we need to consciously strive to go against the narcissistic and consumerist culture before we are overwhelmed and choked by it.


Previous: -Living Holy
All rights reserved to East West Awakening. Designed and powered by