Saturday, April 30, 2011

The incubator for narcissism ~ By Phil Elmore

If you read this and scoff, if you see projection or hypocrisy in these words, I urge you to look left and look right. Examine those around you. If it is the rest of the world that is wrong, if you stand above and beyond the mere mortals whose presence you are forced to tolerate, if you smugly judge every human being whose Facebook, Twitter or discussion site account you view ... perhaps it isn't those around you afflicted with pervasive NPD.

Maybe ... just maybe ... the narcissist is you.

I hope I am not the narcissist. I hope nobody thinks that I am the narcissist! But, ya know? Phil Elmore is right! The internet, the web of webs, it can be the perfect tool... for narcissists!

I have found that Phil's columns - Technocracy - are of great assistance in understanding how the Information Age is shaping society. In Phil's last few columns (see list below), he gave us something that we really need to see in ourselves.  Phil held up the mirror. All we have to do is look into that reflection to see what we have become.

It hit me today. About a quarter-century ago, I read a book written by John Naisbitt. The book I am talking about is: "Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives." It's the story of the collectivist mindset being able to shape society in their narcissistic viewpoint... Oh, boy! What a revelation! It just hit me! Narcissists become liberals or progressives! They know better than the rest of us, they indoctrinated our kids in the public schools and media, and now they have the internet as a media tool to establish their agenda as doctrine.

What Phil has done with this series that has covered his last few articles (see the list below), is to verify how in tune John Naisbitt was with what the effects of technology would amount to be. Naisbitt had it pretty much right when he wrote that there are "major transformations taking place right now in our society." I very much doubt that Naisbitt knew what the internet would look like 25 years later. I think he just understood that being able to transmit information would give those with some kind of an agenda a way to distribute their ideas.

And now, Phil Elmore poses the potential difficulties with this ability that nobody probably imagined 25 years ago, when we were using 300 baud modems in our computers. With the tools that we now have at our fingertips - literally - society now has a way to transmit all of the social ills, the personality defects, that we can come up with! What I am struck by is Phil Elmore's influence in finding a way to deal with all the possible personality disturbances that are present on the web. He has helped us by making us aware of what we could become, whether it is being a victim of a cyber-bully or "troll," becoming a nation of mental weaklings, being intimidated by technology and social networking, or actually becoming a narcissist. I'm just sayin'...

Here's another RELATED COLUMN to read now:

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The incubator for narcissism
By Phil Elmore

April 28, 2011 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011

In the last few Technocracy columns, I have dealt with topics that have in common the theme of your mental and emotional fortitude. How do you approach your use of the network of networks we now take for granted as integral to our communications, data transfer and entertainment infrastructures? What does your use of the Internet tell us about you? How does your reaction to the experience of interacting with others online inform your personal choices, emphasize your personal strengths and betray your personal shortcomings?

Our contemporary society and its medical and psychological establishments have concluded that there is an ailment, a condition, a disorder – and a spectrum on which that disorder is found – for every single negative human behavior and character trait. Whether it is increasingly common or simply increasingly revealed online, there is a "personality disorder" whose descriptors seem stunningly appropriate for much behavior that takes place on the Web. That is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. The site Narcissism101 explains the disorder thusly:

Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has at least 5 of these symptoms:
  • has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • requires excessive admiration
  • has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Doesn't paint a pretty picture, does it? Yet I guarantee it perfectly describes many people with whom you've interacted online ... especially if your interaction with them takes place exclusively on the Internet. The platform of the Internet and sites that share personal activity on the Web is tailor-made to facilitate NPD.

The Net gives each self-involved individual the opportunity to define, redefine, reinvent, or otherwise package himself to whatever degree he desires. He can claim to be whatever and whomever he aspires to be; he can manipulate the presentation of what he shares to bolster those claims; he can engage in a variety of behaviors (such as trolling or accusing others of trolling) to defend his fantasies and delusions, or to draw attention and criticism from himself.

This is the grand stage of the Internet, the public forum that is all Internet activity. There is very little Internet activity that is genuinely unedited and unscreened. The result is an epidemic of NPD inflicted on every member of every social media site, bulletin board, discussion forum and mailing list.


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1 comment:

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