Snippets from here.
“The focus on self-admiration has caused a flight from reality to the land of grandiose fantasy,” Twenge and co-author Keith Campbell write in their book The Narcissism Epidemic. So far, so American, but the trends Twenge identifies and relates to self-entitlement are common to many Western societies. The recent furore over Samantha Brick’s claims that women hated her “for being beautiful” is a case in point.
And further on:
“I point out that here in the US, and it’s probably true in New Zealand, too, that Asian-American kids have the lowest self-esteem yet they do the best in school. So, the connection between self-confidence and doing well is not what we think it is.” She says the effect lasts beyond school. “When we do workplace studies, it also comes up that there is not a huge connection between self-esteem and doing well at work.” That stays true when factored for ethnicity, too, she says. “Asian Americans have the lowest unemployment rate in the US and the lowest rates of narcissism and self-esteem.”
And further on again:
“But while research suggests that on the whole people tend to see the world through rose-coloured glasses, narcissism is where you’re taking it that extra step too far, so not only do you think the world’s your oyster but if it doesn’t work out that way then it’s not your fault – you’re just misunderstood, and it’s someone else’s fault.”
The full article is well worth the read, as it brings to light a dangerous trend in our culture. Of course, the authors do not frame their understanding of cultural or personal narcissism in Biblical terms, but Christians should, and we need to think deeply about how to understand and respond to this trend.
Let me suggest briefly that the God of the Bible considers narcissism to be sin. Each of us views ourself through our own eyes, and when we look, we see to some degree our narcissistic selves — we see a beautiful god or goddess, with whom we fall in love.
In the Biblical model however, the narcissist has in reality constructed a “me” idol in his or her heart, and then fallen down and worshipped it. The narcissist epidemic in our culture therefore is not about psychological or cultural issues imposed on us from the outside, but is rather that fallen humans have a propensity on the inside for building idols and placing them right at the center of our beings — at the religious center — which is the human heart. Is it any wonder then that God’s first commandment to the Hebrews instructed them not to place any other god before Him — including themselves?