In preparation for a post on how our our basic personalities constitute the basic controlling factor in regard to the position in which we are most likely to wind up on our “political spectrum”, I was doing a little research on some of the various quirks and traits that help to define an individual persona as pertains to a person’s core belief system and I came across the following definition of a narcissist at one of my favorite encyclopedia/dictionary sites:
Narcissism is the pattern of traits and behaviors which involve infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.
On the outside, a narcissist appears to have higher than average self-esteem. Paradoxically, the narcissist’s self-esteem is [actually] lower. For the narcissist, self-worth comes from the belief that he/she is superior to his/her peers; it is not enough to be “okay” or “pretty good,” the narcissist can only feel worthwhile by being the best. It is this struggle of the narcissist to convince others of his/her superiority that results in the outward appearance of high self-esteem, and the inadequacy that the narcissist feels from not being the absolute best that results in the narcissist’s [actual] low self esteem. In addition to fragile, exaggerated self-esteem, narcissists are also characterized by a lack of empathy, that is, a lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others. These traits are present in most people to some degree but severe narcissism may warrant a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.
So of course, the next step was to look up this narcissistic personality disorder. Interesting findings there too. Fore example:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder that is characterized by extreme feelings of self-importance, a high need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. NPD can be considered as a pathological form of narcissism. It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the general population are afflicted with NPD. Most people with NPD (50-75%, according to the DSM) are men.
This jibes with my personal experience as I’ve known a few narcissistic types personally in my day and been exposed indirectly to many more in my years on line, and it seems to me that roughly nine out of ten… of at least the most vociferous and demanding of attention… have been males.
A narcissistic personality disorder as defined by the DSM (see DSM cautionary statement) is characterized by an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) of the following criteria are considered necessary for the clinical diagnosis to be met:
- Often feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, and demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). The person may be obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion.
- The person with NPD may be firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions). They often require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
- They often feel entitled, demanding automatic and full compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment and may be “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve his or her own ends. They’re most often devoid of empathy and may even express pride in being so. Unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others, they most often choose the path that is likely to bring the most attention to themselves.
- They are often constantly envious of others and may seek minimize the accomplishments or situations of others, largely by directing attention away from those others and to themselves or attempting to marginalize or even hurt or destroy the object of their frustration. Can suffer from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as they believe that others feel the same about them and are likely to act similarly. He or she may behave arrogantly and haughtily actually feeling superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). May anger quickly when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he considers inferior to him or otherwise unworthy.
If you take a good look around you today you start to realize that virtually any and all positions of authority, influence or power are being filled by people who display an inordinate number of those symptoms. Many of the so called movers and shakers in the “blogosphere” and on the social networks… I could name at least two prime examples from my own limited circle of experience on Twitter alone… display many of the major symptoms.
A certain amount of Narcissism is a requirement for anyone who intends to spend their existence in the public eye, but never in our history has it been carried to the pathological extremes we see today. This kind of personal self obsession… especially among those we choose to lead us… is a sickness that borders on a a deadly pandemic. If ever you want to express a death wish just choose a pathological narcissist to act in your interests. Mitt Romney was a perfect example of virtually everything I’ve described in this post and his election would have been tantamount to instant suicide for the working classes and while I’m not about to risk the wrath of the O-bots by suggesting that even their beloved Messiah suffers from his own version of the syndrome, I will state without reservation that most of the people he has chosen to surround himself with do.
Our media has become the laughing stock of the planet because the entire function of providing information to the public been taken over by pathological narcissists whom Wall Street can control simply by adroit manipulation of their overblown sense of self worth. Why else would someone like Chuck Todd have risen to a position of responsibility in any news organization? How else would people like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin even have jobs in our society or a bloated hog like Rush Limbaugh make millions by simply pimping institutional hate to the ignorant masses?
We’ve truly allowed the inmates to get control of the asylum folks and in doing so we’ve taken the punch line right out of that stale old joke. When it actually becomes an asylum, as this country has today, it’s no longer a joke but merely another inescapable truth. Politicians don’t seek office to serve the American people, they seek office as a means of obtaining what they feel is rightfully theirs by virtue of their innate superiority to the rest of us. The day we finally get that through our heads and stop looking at politics as some kind of junior grade popularity contest between competing personality cults is the day we finally start doing something about the situation we all profess to abhor. Until then we’re just fodder for enhancing the self esteem of a the 1% and their overly pampered lap dogs.