March 19, 2009

The Narcissism Epidemic?

It's everywhere. It seems.

That got me thinking of "An Outbreak of Autism, or a Statistical Fluke?"

24 comments:

rhhardin said...

The autism piece doesn't get very fast to the statistical flaw (if ever - it's unreadable, apparently wandering into NYT lifestyle mode).

You do a statistical study and find that if the variables are normally distributed, 98% of the time no warning flag would be raised in the absence of some real danger, and here's this warning flag.

Well that's good if you do only one study. But if you do a hundred thousand studies a year all over the nation about this or that possible danger, you wind up with two thousand false warnings each year, each of them statistically valid, and wrong.

Those that make good newspaper copy get wide distribution, and a dozen new crises a year occupy the idiot public.

It turns out that one crisis a month is the rate that maximizes readership, so that's what you get.

The other 1,988 yearly false crises are discarded in favor of those with the best story lines.

Awesome said...

I read that phrase as "an outbreak of Althouseism".

Jason (the commenter) said...

Right now society seem to reward narcissistic behavior, so it doesn't seem shocking that selfishness would be on the rise.

Narcissism hurts society's ability to work together productively, but people enjoy the emotional satisfaction it gives. So you can think of it as a luxury item.

My hope has been that since we now face hard economic times we might see a return to a more cooperative way of behaving.

Big Mike said...

@Professor, you actually believe the crap you read in Slate? Please tell me otherwise!

traditionalguy said...

An inner state of almost meaningless anxiety and fear sounds like an average child raised on Hollywood and the internet's models of who they should try to become. So what will today's youth seek out to medicate themselves? Sex all the time has diminishing returns quickly. The posting yesterday about the 15 year old german youth seeking the old Will to Power political antidote to their powerlessness comes to mind.They need a male and female role model who point out the good roles they can play in this world as Husbands, Wives and Fathers and Mothers. Those role models need to be displayed in our culture again without being ridiculed to death.

Oligonicella said...

I don't think there's a narcissism epidemic and please don't tell me anyone else's opinion but mine should matter.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Those who doubt it: look to the White House, enough said...

Bissage said...

The daffodils are just starting to come up here in USDA Zone 6b so I want to go on record as saying I see absolutely nothing wrong with narcissism.

Kirk Parker said...

Hmmm, I didn't see my name in the article on narcissism!

Simon said...

Key line: "the drift toward hovering, boosterish parents who want to gratify their child's every impulse will churn out more narcissistically disordered people." Another key point, suggested only inferentially: "that painful sense one has acted in an unacceptable way[] is another necessary emotion that is also largely missing from the person with NPD." Of course, we are in the process of creating a graceless, tactless, anything goes liberalized society where there is no unacceptable behavior other than criticizing other people for behaving unacceptably. What constitutes unacceptable behavior is a social construct that is under siege, so it is small wonder that young people have no sense of how they are acting.

William said...

Finally, a psychological maladaptation that I do not share....Unless, of course, one of the symptoms of severe narcissism is the belief that you are not a narcissist.

Paul said...

"Right now society seem to reward narcissistic behavior, so it doesn't seem shocking that selfishness would be on the rise."

So true. One needs only look to our Narcissist In Chief. And a good chunk of Congress too.

Cedarford said...

Autism aside, WTF are we doing with mass imports of 30,000 radical Muslim Somalis into a city like Minneapolis? Other than committing slow national suicide by offering Open Borders to unassimilatable 3rd Worlders?

Smilin' Jack said...

The Narcissism Epidemic?

It's everywhere. It seems.


It certainly does. In fact, it seems to me that everyone's a narcissist these days, except me.

chickenlittle said...

room full of mirrors

traditionalguy said...

Normal childhood development deals with the narcisissim tendency by parental authority and discipline that challenges the child conduct. A Montessori type method of parenting refuses to do such a cruel thing to a child while the child is still young enough to master new habits of "considering" other persons in the its experimental tries at forming relationship.They wait and throw out the child at age 12 for causing too much trouble.Then the Juvenile Court industry becomes the surrogate parent until age 17. That's why disciplining your child is the love you have for that child.

Quayle said...

Unless there is some external, relatively stable standard towards which children are taught to strive, and against which children are taught to compare their behavior, the only thing left is to look to another person for approval, or to look to your own feelings and thoughts.

In other words, once the societal norms have all been debunked, and the idea that norms are good is finally shreded, all will eventually fall back onto the swamp of self as the only thing that seems real or matters.

Joe said...

Read an article about two years back that pointed out that the rise of diagnoses of autism is inversely proportional to the decline of diagnoses of mental retardation. One neurologist put it bluntly: most parents would rather have an autistic child than a retarded one.

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

Wow, that don't strike a bell at all. My daughter went to a Mont type grade school and Gisela was an iron fisted principle. Must have been lucky and hit the right portion of the range.

blake said...

Montessorri's name is widely abused. She should've trademarked it.

As for "autism" vs. "retarded", well, "retarded" doesn't really mean much of anything. "Autism" is on its way to meaning nothing.

I mean, nothing other than, "brain injured in some outwardly manifesting fashion".

Joe said...

I should have said "rise of diagnoses of autism is directly proportional to the decline of diagnoses of mental retardation."

Here's an illustrative graph

traditionalguy said...

The only montessori experience that I encounterd with was with a couple who ran a Montessori School at the Episcopal church we attended then. They were wonderfully intelligent parents, but their two children, in age about 7 and 9, ordered everyone they met around, adults included. That may work when you are surrounded by Episcopalians who know your parents, and therefore cut you a lot of slack, but I always dreaded the cold shock of reality those kids faced relating to authority as soon as their protection was not around.

blake said...

tradguy,

Interesting. I had a debate with a guy who was, if not, anti-homeschooling, suspicious of it. And one of his points was that a kid had to learn how to take orders from his boss, no matter how stupid, and school taught that.

I couldn't argue that schools don't teach you how to meekly accept arbitrary and valueless or counter-productive assignments, but I could (and did) argue that maybe that wasn't a skill you wanted to cultivate too strongly.

It seems to me the trick is to cultivate confidence and independence, as well as politeness.

Gwen said...

"For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemeres, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving unforgiving, slandereres, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power, And from such people turn away." 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Here is the description of the end times God spoke of. It has been long in coming through the teaching of "self esteem" in our culture for the past 45 years.

When we teach children to love themselves more than others, we can not expect anything else except a severe form of Naricissim.

We are born loving ourselves, we don't need to be taught this. We do however need to be taught to love others, that is not something that comes naturally, if it did then we would have to teach children to be bad, but that is not the case. We have to teach them to be kind and loving, because their propensity is toward selfishness and meanness. Left to themselves without training, they become monsters, void of any love toward their fellow man.

We used to be a country of givers. Every family for the most part gave money to charities, even took homeless families into their homes during the depression. Giving in this country is at an all time low, families are splitting at an alarming rate, every form of evil is out of control, because we have taught our culture to love themselves beyond anyone else. Shame on us, if this does not change we are in for some very hard times. Children will not see a need to take care of their aging parents, they will abandon all sense of responibility to family and neighbors, we are almos there now.

We need to begin to search God's word for His ways to return to the the friendliness and kindness that many of us use to see as children. There is no other solution but self denial for the sake of others, and dedication to higher principles than our own bellies.