“I don’t care what you think unless it is about me.”
Today, people the young and the old(but especially the young) think of themselves as pseudo-celebrities; equivalent to the lead actors of their own fictionally created stories. The ‘narcissism epidemic’ as experts like to call it is rapidly spreading through our societies and infiltrating our minds without showing any signs of ever leaving. It is the most dangerous psychological drug of the 21st century.
Narcissism, or excessive self-love, is marked by bloated confidence, vanity, materialism, and a lack of consideration for others. In the olden days, destructive narcissism was known by another word, which was considered as one of the seven deadly sins: Vanity. But today self-obsession is blatantly celebrated.
We log on to Facebook, fool ourselves into thinking we have hundreds or thousands of “friends”. On twitter too we are made to believe that we are worth following, as though we have real life fans, when the truth is that all that is happening is that each one of us is in turn fanning the false fame of the other! We delete unflattering comments, block anyone who pokes holes in our inflated self-esteem and choose to show the world only the glamorous (and well edited!) pictures of ourselves. We lead the world to believe that we are living perfect lives and in the end up believing our own lies!
Video games make us think we are rock stars, warriors or even formula-1 drivers. Reality TV shows that portray unapologetic and deluded self-involvement trick us into believing that our lives should also have the same degree of ego maniacal madness.
All these are signs of a culture in decay just like the apathetic Narcissus of Greek mythology, so intently gazing at himself that he loses the will to engage productively with the outside world. Not too different from Snow White’s queen, we fail to realize that as we stare into the mirror admiring our own beauty our doom approaches nearer and nearer ready to completely consume us.
Sadly, the bubble of narcissism is on the verge of bursting. People are drunker that ever, tattooed more and smoke more because it makes them feel special, at least for a while. They do anything to distract themselves from feeling empty inside and that is the true fuel to the growing rates of narcissism. And once the self-loathing and hatred comes to the surface the “epidemic of narcissism” may just turn into the “epidemic of depression”.
We need to pluck this growing monster right from its roots before it takes shape. Because if it spreads any further, it will be too late and by the time we recognize the potential of the enemy clearly, we will also realize, as the saying goes, that it is us!