The Emergence of Acceptable Narcissism
Posted on October 18th, 2011

Regan Ashby

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have become obsessed with ourselves.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  No longer are the tabloid and gossip headlines on television good enough; no more can the splattered slander and salacious silliness strewn across magazine covers at grocery store checkouts satiate our appetite for meaningless, trivial, tawdry and tired information; and nevermore can the internet and all its ancillaries attempt to solely express the desires of narcissistic vanity as it pulses through modern day society.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We lust after scandals and dirty laundry; obsess over pedantic banal pettiness; and accept the insignificance of the propaganda we so willingly absorb.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We cannot accept normality and moderation; instead we strive to be the centre of attention whenever possible and in whichever way we can attain it, paying little attention to the virtues of modesty and the dignity of shame.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Reality television, like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, have all made it acceptable to be self-absorbed.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They have obliterated an idea of modesty and have instead ushered in an era of preoccupied and precipitous selfishness.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There are no more observers left in the world; only the observed; only the puffed-up performers who so pedantically praise their own piety.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have become Rome; we have become nothing more than a society obsessed with ourselves and all things hedonistic.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We yearn to be the centre of attention and obsess over being made to feel important; important not in the sense of worthwhile, contributing human beings, but important in the sense of being the focus of omnipresent attention.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We need to publicly countdown the days to our birthdays; we need to let everyone know when something we deem important in our lives, is imminent and about to happen.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We need to display the trifling and measly events that occur in everyone’s existence and we need to make them seem worthwhile.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Not only do we update our social group on what we had for lunch, we now feel it necessary to photograph and proudly display our macaroni and cheese through every medium possible.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We may still worship false idols and useless religions, but we also grovel at the feet of professional athletes, movie stars, gossip columnists and heirs to opulent hotel fortunes.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We pay attention, not to molecular physics or radio-astronomy; subjects which strive to answer pertinent and important questions as to our ontology ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” no, we fixate on where Lady Gaga ate lunch yesterday or whether Kim Kardashian is late for her period or whether Tom Cruise is circumcised or not.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  These worthless and trivial topics have usurped knowledge and understanding as the prime objectives in our lives.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Ignorance has supplanted reason, and self-obsession has replaced selflessness as the core value in society.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This shift in societal principles has placed us all in a conceited conceptual framework, from which to escape, we now need to appear as odd and peripheral and strange.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Affectation and mimesis have somehow become more acceptable than originality and creativity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  To look like everyone else is now more important than individuality.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We are moving closer and closer to the retro, mid-twentieth century, Hollywood-created aliens, who, when emerging from their flying saucers, appear to be carbon-copies of one another; completely whitewashed and stripped of their identity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have lost our sense of self.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have become ensconced by the nothingness of vanity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Our obsession with fitting-in has erased in us, any understanding of self-reflection.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Buzzwords have replaced eloquent lexicons and televisions and computer screens and cell phones have replaced mirrors.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We still stare at ourselves, making sure we look like so-and-so, or come across as trendy, but we have truly ceased to observe our reflection and have instead become fixated on our outward appearance.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Ostensibly, we are the same as everyone else, but inside we are moribund and unfounded, with little understanding of what it means to be alive and what it means to mould ourselves into what we find desirable and morally good and ethical and acceptable.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have become machines; living, breathing, walking, talking machines.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Our hard drives are manufactured on an assembly line; our Central Processing Units are plugged in on a daily basis to the sea of nothingness and ignorance that has accompanied the cultural revolution brought upon us by the advent of network technology.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And our Random Access Memory has become clogged and bogged down with temporary and insignificant files.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  At an alarming rate, we are becoming images, models and marionettes of whom we want to be.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  No longer is it necessary to prove our worth through hard work, creativity and drive.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Now, all one has to do to appear in a certain light, is to simply make it look like they are appearing in said light.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  If you want to appear intelligent and driven, you select pictures and post status updates that make you seem so.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It’s the manipulation of the masses, done, not through spin doctors and propagandists, but through each and every one of us who participate in such a vainglorious and virile, societal envelopment.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Increasingly we are losing touch with face-to-face sociability and are becoming detached, distant and dejected from the world around us.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Modesty is a word of yesteryear and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-moreƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ is the word of the future.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  More gossip, more technology, more vanity, more destruction, more downfalls and more depression to entertain us.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Avarice and greed are now acceptable character traits, if not encouraged. And it’s the people who step on each other’s necks and sabotage one another’s attempts at success who are now looked upon as the idols and models of humanity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Anonymity has gone the way of the dodo and the in-your-face attitude of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-me generationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ threatens to place humanity on a path of ultimate degradation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We are the depraved dissidents of a modest and humbled society which has disappeared and left us in a trail of delirious, dusty detritus.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Somewhere, at some time, there were more of us who were reserved than projected.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  At one time, we found it comfortable to dwell on our own, worrying only about pertinent and immediate issues; issues that mattered and took relevance when it came to governance and finance and aesthetics and justice.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Now, that’s all in the background;ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  all faded to opaque behind a wall of capitalized, codified commodities.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We find it necessary now, when we wake up, to update ourselves on the idiosyncrasies and trivialities of other people’s lives.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Facebook has redefined news.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It has initiated a spectral shift in what society now deems important and what it allows to be ignored.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Starvation, tyranny and war have taken a backseat to fashion, narcissism and trendiness.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What is projected on our online profiles is more important than how we project ourselves in reality.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What is said about us is more important than what we have to say, and where we go and how we speak and how we dress take precedence over how we act and why we do it.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Charity isn’t worthwhile unless everyone knows you’re being charitable.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Personal goals and experiences are void unless we can demonstrate to others what we have accomplished, and it’s this sense of being observed that is perniciously stomping individuality and creativity down the drain.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Wilfully, we are erasing any vestige of personal, private and protected personages; replacing them only with simplified ideologies of exposure, obsession, and publicity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There is a certain sense of scorn and subordination towards those who have failed to assimilate themselves into the awesomeness and alacrity of herd-acceptance, and it is with such malice that the last remaining defenders of the truth are being bombarded.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  How can someone now take the noble steps towards a quest of self-recognition and understanding when it’s so much easier just to slip into the malignant and misaligned, yet banal and baseless mass appeal?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have become planets, willingly trapped and ensnared in the gravitational orbit of a celestial celebrities.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We wouldn’t know what to do if we couldn’t concentrate on the lives of others.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Who would we be; how would we know how to walk and talk if we weren’t first shown how by the models on television, film and the internet?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Would we actually have to teach ourselves how to behave like ourselves?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Would we actually have to stop and think for a moment who we want to be and why we want to be that person?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Have Plato’s predictions of the philosopher king become irrelevant in a world so obsessed with money, pride, respect and position?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Is there nobody left who is willing to pick up the proverbial machete and begin to carve, chop and force a new and truly worthwhile pathway through the foliage of folly?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Are there no true trailblazers left, with enough courage and determination to overcome the atmospheric pressures of ignorance and negligence?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There must be, there has to be, for they are society’s only hope as we slide precariously close to emulating the dystopic themes described in books like ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Brave New WorldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-A Clockwork OrangeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-1984ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Important and socially relevant questions need to be asked, and asked across the entire spectrum of humanity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we feel compelled to follow?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we lack the insight and perceptivity to become who we, as individuals, are destined to become?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why are we afraid of not fitting-in?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we cower behind the edifices of entertainment?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we not ask why there are more than two-hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we ignore the truth and accept the falsehoods?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we need to encircle ourselves with conniving and conceited clones?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why do we spend our short time on this planet following other people’s lives?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Have we become so bland and boring and parochial and conventional that we no longer find interest in our own lives?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Have we fallen so deep into the rat-race that we can conceive of nothing other than going with the flow?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Are we destined to land on another planet wearing silver jumpsuits and sterling helmets?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Will we ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-come in peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ or ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-come in piecesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚; fragments of human beings strewn across a societal smorgasbord of imitation and mimesis?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Only time will tell, and when it does, there can be a specific sense of certainty that it will become the hottest topic trending on twitter.

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