Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Global narcissism

While I know this is not a popular stance, I think it is important to underscore the necessity of understanding how we, America, Americans impact our environment. Meaning: how does the world see us? And to be specific, how does Iraq see us?

This curious lack of curiosity is explored in this piece about Iraq.

I've been told this lack of curiosity about others is an American attribute, something so profound that Americans are blithely unaware of this particular habit. To further explore this, I've seen dissertations looking at assimilation into the American culture, based on how a person's narcissism increases as a characteristic of assimilation into this culture.

I understand the flip side of narcisissm is self-interest and survival, self-survival at all costs. I have to argue that there is nothing wrong about being concerned about survival. Rather, it is the concern about survival at all costs that causes problems in the long run. Because this impacts the environment, meaning the people around us. Who wants to be around someone who is so concerned about self-survival to the exclusion of wondering how you feel and how you are being impacted? The supreme irony is that our global narcissism, rather than guaranteeing our survival, only leads us down the road to guarenteed insecurity and violence.

When I talk about global narcisissm, I mean narcissism in relation to our place in the world as a country and as a culture. And maybe this isn't the best set of words to describe this type of collective narcissism. Who knows? I'll probably change this in the near future, if I can find a better term.