Thursday, 8 May 2014

on narcissism

Echo and Narcissus

from the writings of John Lamb Lash:

Self Concern

Proposed term for human narcissism, borrowed from Castaneda who called it"self-reflection." In The Power of Silence, don Juan describes a shift of the assemblage point that applied for the entire human species, resulting in a movement away from silent knowledge toward self-concern.
Silent knowledge is the generic human capacity for knowing the world via our deep intuitive link to the cosmos, but self-concern short-circuits this link.


Miranda Shaw says that Vajrayogini liberates the mind from self-referentiality. I prefer the more emotively toned term self-involvement. This is the primary fixation of narcissism, the terminal psychic disease that goes pandemic at the end of Kali Yuga. Self-involvement is exclusive and excessive preoccupation with what affects a person, with little or no regard for what affects others. Meaning, no regard for how the self-involved person affects others, or even how the other person is affected by anything at all. Many behaviors blatantly demonstrate this type of callous self-involvement. Normally, we call such behavior selfish, self-centered.

For instance, a supposed friend shows no concern for the death of your cat. Trivial example, which could be multiplied into the thousands. Then there are non-trivial examples: someone you know and love shows no concern for your highest aspiration, what you seek to achieve in life, or what you have achieved. The self-involved person is never impressed. Such people are only interested in how you affect them. Self-involvement is the basis of using and abusing, controlling and manipulating others so that they only affect us as we would wish them to. It is a crass and sickening behavior, desolating to witness.

I like the term self-involvement because it indicates that a selfish person is involved or enmeshed in something that prevents them from other kinds of involvement, reaching toward the world and other beings, or toward nature, Gaia. In a healthy state of affairs, human beings get involved with each other. They may handle it badly and make mistakes, or get over-involved, but the basic willingness to reach out and be involved is sane and rewarding to both sides. Love is involvement with the life of another. Over-involvement is called codependency, and this is also rampant in our time. But over-involved codependency always stems from an initial self-involvement that is not seen or admitted. People are codependent, appearing to base their reality on others, because they selfishly think that this tactic will pay off, it will serve their self-involvement and egocentric neediness in one way or another. The codependent gives away self in order to extort something for self—a rotten bargain for all concerned. So the two behaviors are intricately related, and routinely enforce each other.

Some individuals can resist codependency:a their self-involvement is so deep and intricate that they can't engage enough with another person to develop or express codependent attitudes. Extremea self-involvement produces behavior that isolates the self-involved person and desolates others who care to reach that person. Isolation is the greatest social and emotional plague of our time. It is a blatant symptom of the global virus of narcissism, which I define as excessive self-concern based on the lack of a genuine sense of self. Without a genuine sense of self, you cannot relate honestly and openly to others and you sink into a black hole of self-concern. Such is the gruesome paradox of narcissism.

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