To not see this reminder again
Psychology, if one understands it as a knowledge developed solely by humans and with the current, so-called, scientific methodology, it will be an extremely limited tool. While it is possible for us to look at the world as an observer, to be an observer to your own kind for human beings is not much a possible task, for that matter you can ask physicians the first time they saw cutting a human open.
But Oliver’s mother, an obstetrician-gynaecologist, was determined that her son should follow her into the medical profession and took pains to ensure that he became acquainted with anatomy by bringing home malformed foetuses for him to dissect, an exercise that filled him with revulsion. “She never perceived, I think, how distressed I became,” Sacks wrote, “and probably imagined that I was as enthusiastic as she was.”
Later, when he was 14, she arranged his first experience of dissecting a human corpse – the body of a girl. “Delight in understanding and appreciating anatomy was lost, for the most part, in the horror of the dissection,” he recalled. “I did not know if I would ever be able to love the warm, quick bodies of the living after facing, smelling and cutting the formalin-reeking corpse of a girl my own age.”
He never married and lived for most of his life alone (The Telegraph) ...
But physicians who cut people open, often deal with unconscious patients or corpse, however, psychologists in normal situations do not shut down themselves nor their patient or client.
Just because we have universities and we issue degrees it doesn't mean the papers coming out of those institutions try to understand the reality. Trying to study the psychological aspect of human beings with methods that were never designed to be used for such aims, the result is pretty foreseeable: nonsense –or putting it in polite ways: lack of any connection between the theory and the reality ...
Even such basic concept as the definition of "illness" can serve as an example for this claim. While the definition of physical illness does not vary across time, culture, beliefs and etc, the same however has not been true about psychology, the famous example being homosexuality, or if you prefer a brand new one (Littlewood and dein, 397):
Both geographically and historically, schizophrenia may have emerged from a psychosis that was more florid, affective, labile, shorter lived and with a better prognosis. It is conjectured that this has occurred with a reflexive self-consciousness in Western and globalising societies, a development whose roots lie in Christianity. Every theology also presents a psychology. Six novel aspects of Christianity may be significant for the emergence of schizophrenia ...
This example isn't here out of nowhere; Sigmund Freud in his short book on Narcissism, "Zur Einführung des Narzißmus", tries to demonstrate how brilliantly all the misbehaviors of humans could be explained by his theory, one dominant example he picks is schizophrenia.
My definition of "disorder"
After this brief critic on what is perceived as psychology, perhaps it might not be a bad idea to try to redefine what is "illness" and what is not, or to be more precise, what kind of things we categorize as what kind of illness or disorders or abnormalities.
Mental disorder: is a pre-existing or in normal conditions developed unusual neuronal linkings or other biological pieces of brain, which have a severe damaging impact on the mental functionality of the patient. Under this definition, for example down syndrome and autism would be categorized as mental disorder, while the disadvantages of mental disorders usually followed by perks, as those individuals severely underperform one or the other typical functionalities of average brains, we categorize them as "disorders."
Psychological hardships: it is important to distinguish between psychological hardship and mental disorders, in contrast to the present-day practice of psychology. The key foundational understanding of human being that causes this difference is the idea that our psyche just like our bodies is a whole-functioning machine, to say the least. Meaning: if we get sick, there are already predefined ways in our body to deal with it, without our conscious or even our ability to grasp how they happen. Just as our bodies cannot always perform tasks on its own, our psyche requires others to function well, and in specific moments those others have to perform in specific ways. It's quite idiotic for our times that we have no sense that we are indeed in wrong lives: just as the natural desire of male and female to one another, just as the natural transformation of male and female bodies into well-functioning patterns, our psyches are designed to naturally answer to the needs of others' psyche, just as the breast of the mother is designed to answer the newborn and the newborn ability to immediately learn how things function. Most of what the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" introduces as "disorder" are dysfunctionalities which arise from us living in un-natural ways in respect of our psyche, so we don't answer each other psychological needs and hence our psyche cannot recover from hardships, just as the human bodies did not recover from most kinds of hardships 300 years ago. For example "post-traumatic stress disorder," "depression," and of course some forms of phobia, and lots of other so-called "mental disorder" in my opinion should rather be categorized as psychological hardships. Some phobias in severe forms or some extreme cases of depression could be rooted in mental disorders as defined above, the point of distinction for us is how we are able to heal or lessen the effect of that phenomena.
Physiological illnesses: I would like to categorize exceptional patients who in one way or the other have a damaged brain because of accidents or harms on the brain, whom because their cases only impacts their mental functionalities are studied in psychology rather than physiology, as individuals with physiological issues and not mental or psychological ones. The point is that our categorization with the vision of healing the condition, and it is hard to think the healing condition of these illnesses be same as mental disorders or psychological hardships [which we will use in place of lots of mental disorders].
Soul/Heart illnesses: whether all our existence is the visible body and the physical materials we can see and examine or we have other dimensions invisible from our five senses is not what we are aimed to prove the correct answer to in this article, however, there are specific conditions which are not to be improved in the same style as other three categories we mentioned above.
You can feel it in the air
You can tell something's missing
Might be a waste but, but if you listen
Our hearts are crying
Loud and clear
– (McCurdy, Jennette, et al.)
As human beings, we are unable to grasp soul illness if we ourselves don't have a pure heart, or at very least a sensitive one. In our times maybe singer-songwriters, in the past perhaps monks, but regardless of what the profession is called, there have always lived individuals across times, cultures, and geographical locations who talked of these phenomena with terms similar to "the soul of these people/individual is ill." So, without going into further detail, let's only suggests that there are such phenomena out there ...
Not every harmful behavior pattern is a sign of disorder
Just as when the only tool you have at your hand is a hammer, and you want to link two objects to one another with a screw, you will treat that screw as if it was a nail, some of the people who have spent their lives studying psychology, treat everything they observe in a human being with the one kind of hammer they have in their backpack. It is important to understand not every kind of dysfunctional or harmful behavior –or even behavior pattern– is because of the presence of one of four introduced types of disorders.
For example, imagine once a schoolboy memorizing the multiplication table and one of his friends tells him that 3 x 3 = 10 and he accept this new information without thinking about it. Imagine this school kid for all his life used a calculator whenever he wanted to multiple things; it won't be hard to imagine such a person receiving a Ph.D. in physics and still being unable to multiply 3 by 3 correctly. There is something wrong in the sentence before, the truth is not that he is "unable" but that he has memorized a mistake in place of the correct answer and never thought about it on his own, simply because it never played any role in his life. This example is a bit exaggerated, however the same happens in the psychological aspect of our lives.
It can be extremely hard to go back in people's past and search for where they learned or picked specific behaviors, beliefs, secondary psychological reflections and etc., yet it can be unbelievably useful to think of this possibility before proposing any healing method, may save lots of efforts and energy spent on trying to heal a psychological hardship or mental disorder when maybe someone only lacks the skill or learned the wrong way to do specific things and so on ... and as we will discuss further, this is relevant when it comes to what is considered as "narcissism" ...
One of the things that psychologists don't like to know about is the lack of real knowledge by their clients, simply because it would mean their clients don't need such professional services as they don't have any serious issue.
For showing you an example, we can pick up the expert(s) who claim "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" meaning we don't know how to interact with each other. Nature is the extreme opposite of this claim, men and women are designed to interact with each other by nature, the One who has created reproduction organs fitting in each other could not have been so super stupid to forget "oh, their brains have to be able to interact with each other, too." I mean even we humans, when we design a cable to link two computers to each other, we understand that if both of them don't have the compatible software, no information is going to be transferred from one to the other. Don't forget that we are able to make such machines is only possible after thousand years of accumulated knowledge & skill and etc., now, there is the Creator who designed alive being so complex as human beings and has forgotten that male and female should be mentally compatible? Of course, we, stupid human beings, are super intelligent and our god is the natural selection.
Certainly, the individuals who claim such things and don't die from shame, have extreme forms of soul-illness or otherwise are saying words without knowing their meanings ... that men and women, in our times at least, are suffering from communication issues, is not necessarily rooted in our natural incompatibility rather under-development of our natural abilities, which partly comes from our full-of-mistakes knowledge. The perception of almost all male and female adults and young adults about each other, especially those who are single, is so ridiculous, and if you look around you will realize their extremely ridiculous ideas are days and night being confirmed by subtle and direct means all over the places, from media to friend circle(s), to even their family. You can pretend I'm exaggerating, how can it be that everyone is wrong about such basic things, I'm only one of the many who is screaming because of these wrongdoings. A well-known example is Peggy Orenstein and her book "Girls & Sex" in which she tries to warn girls about their wrong ideas while she is shocked to discover girls have so many wrong ideas compared to her generation about sex, pleasure and etc. However, Mrs. Orenstein forgets that she is also among one of those many who is responsible for what 20-somethings think about sex is her generation who used love and erotic to sell products that only helps you get sick and die faster; it was her generation who throw us in sex-ed classes and never told us (their children) that they didn't love their spouses and had they had more courage, they would have married that other boy or girl, it is her generation that didn't told us all the time they said "I love you" to each other in front of us, it was a lie, because they thought it would make us grow in a family full of love, it was their generation who f****d our erotic and our love life, before we were mature enough to know what these are and to protect ourselves against their well-intended wrongdoings, may God forgive you and punishes those of you who deserves it ... After all, you have been our parents, or at least, you were supposed to be, yet what you did was being our best enemies.
The story of a victim of "narcissism" in a romantic relationship ...
I can only speak from my experience, my ex narcissist thought he owned me. He felt as if my energy, my hard work, even my body and my paycheck were all his to do with as he saw fit. If he was pissed off at a company, it was my job to do his bidding and to get straight whatever went wrong. If I accomplished something around the house, he owned it if it was positive and pushed anything negative back on to me. So if it broke, it was my fault; if I fixed it, he was would gloss over it and act like no big deal.
From my perspective, I was a human punching bag to absorb whatever anger he had. I was his slave and a piece of crap if I didn't find a way to beg, borrow or steal whatever new fangled item he wanted, such as the fourth Harley or fifth pickup he claimed to need because he legs were short for the bike or the model changed, etc. Mind you, that was in a 5 year period. He got pissed and cheated when I refused to refinance just one more time to buy him more toys.
I believe a narcissist thinks they own their spouse and their children. And both had better act accordingly or there is hell to pay. Thank God I'm almost done divorcing him. I guarantee he never thought I would screw up the courage to throw him out and move on with the kids, without him. I have a no contact order in place permanently thru the legal system and I am so glad to be free from his insanity.
These days, especially after the presidency of Donald J. Trump, stories like this (Leems) are all over the place, at least in the English-speaking web. I'm not suggesting we have more sad stories, man has always used writing as a mean of confabulation, especially for lonely individuals, however what is more common today than before, at least in my opinion, is the presence of "mental disorders" as the core cause of all what one complains about in the writing.
We don't study illnesses because we hope to understand illnesses, because we are in love with them, rather to heal, if you don't know the healing and you cannot work on discovering the healing of that illness in the future, being aware that you have an illness or not, may not have any positive effect on your life, the growing number of people that consider themselves stuck with "mental disorders" is going to rather take away the possibility to find any healing or any method to lessen the harms.
We will discuss some possible healing methods, if one could call them so, in later chapters of the article to this story ...
The step-father of Narcissism: Sigmund Freud
Hadn't we lived in a culture that suffers from extreme soul-illness when it comes to erotic, it was impossible to even imagine one day a guy like Sigmund Freud could be treated as someone with a healthy mental functionality, not to think of most of the today's psychology goes back to his ill ideas.
I'm not blind to Sigmund Freud's mental abilities, in contrast, I believe Sigmund Freud is a gifted individual, and most of the mistakes in his theories are rooted in his denial of accepting with his heart that he is "gifted." This denial respecting being gifted added to growing up in Jewish culture resulted in his inability to love.
Sigmund Freud's impact on psychology starts with one single individual (Wikipedia), and if you want to mention without precision, it is as well the end of it:
Bertha Pappenheim (February 27, 1859 – May 28, 1936) was an Austrian-Jewish feminist, a social pioneer, and the founder of the Jewish Women's Association (Jüdischer Frauenbund). Under the pseudonym Anna O., she was also one of Josef Breuer's best documented patients because of Freud's writing on Breuer's case.
Remember we are talking about a woman who is a social pioneer, the founder of a social movement, who stands against the mass and convention, most men and women never have the capacity to carry on such tasks, not to mention doing such things by their own. It is not hard to conclude we are talking about an extraordinarily gifted individual.
While normal humans show specific behaviors when they are not loved, gifted individuals are a bit different, the difference is in the intensity and complexity of the behavior they display.
Let's have an example here: if we think of the difference between an extraordinarily gifted and an average gifted individual, as the difference between airplanes and cars, and we think of lack of love as a hole in the tank of the machines, then a car will run out of fuel sooner than expected and stop in the middle of the path, an airplane in contrast, if being in the sky, and imagine there would be no place close to land, it will crash and stop existing forever, or even if it lands on a street or somewhere, it is going to severely damage its surface and maybe even burn its wings and as well damage everything on its way ... so, it was the same problem and both machines responded similarly but one is designed for extraordinary tasks, if something goes wrong, it can have far more severe damages.
That Bertha Pappenheim was a feminist is enough as a sign to understand there wasn't any particularly wild erotic interaction between her and a male out of sincere love ... So, what happens: she displays lots of mental illness symptoms, which plainly means she is not being loved, not that she has any issues. Her psychotherapist, Josef Breuer, discovered the best method to lessen her symptoms was to have deep conversations with her, which later on turned to what today is known as "Psychoanalysis." It's not hard to conclude it has clicked between Josef Breuer and Bertha Pappenheim, as they have a love-like relationship without active and wild erotic, and that's actually the best way for Bertha to grow into an erotic love. There are lots of events in the past that can lead to an individual's inability to enjoy sexual interactions, even though when they are interested in someone, they would say they enjoy the company, but sex is their taboo theme. It's often an indicator of erotic trauma, and part of the process of healing is to be loved without all the things that people associate with love until that trauma is released and the individual can for the first time have erotic interactions without trauma interfering inbetween.
Breuer was then a mentor to the young Sigmund Freud, and had helped set him up in medical practice. Ernest Jones recalled, "Freud was greatly interested in hearing of the case of Anna O, which [...] made a deep impression on him"; and in his 1909 Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Freud generously pointed out, "I was a student and working for my final examinations at the time when [...] Breuer, first (in 1880-2) made use of this procedure. [...] Never before had anyone removed a hysterical symptom by such a method."
Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud finally got in a fight with each other, whether it is love or not. Sigmund Freud accusing Breuer that it is all about erotic interest, Josef Breuer claiming I'm a professional. Had Bertha and Josef married, hopefully, we hadn't mixed dating and therapy. What happens at a "psychoanalysis session" is exactly what happens at a date with the person you love, and the impacts are also similar.
Sigmund Freud is also not an idiot to be blind about this; however, he talks about it in a twisted way (101):
... He then seeks a way back to narcissism from his prodigal expenditure of libido upon objects, by choosing a sexual ideal after the narcissistic type which possesses the excellences to which he cannot attain. This is the cure by love, which he generally prefers to cure by analysis. Indeed, he cannot believe in any other mechanism of cure; he usually brings expectations of this sort with him to the treatment and directs them towards the person of the physician. The patient's incapacity for love, resulting from his extensive repressions, naturally stands in the way of a therapeutic plan of this kind. An unintended result is often met with when, by means of the treatment, he has been partially freed from his repressions: he withdraws from further treatment in order to choose a love-object, leaving his cure to be continued by a life with someone he loves. We might be satisfied with this result, if it did not bring with it all the dangers of a crippling dependence upon his helper in need.
You have to understand Mr. Freud has spent his entire life coming up with this stupid theory, do you really expect him to warn you about the dangers of "therapeutic plan"? Should he say the cure of the patient can best "be continued by a life with someone he loves"? Of course not, unless he was one of the brilliant individuals who accept their mistakes, but he wasn't.
And if you think Bertha Pappenheim was the only person Sigmund Freud misunderstood love and sexuality by her, don't fool yourself, Sigmund Freud understanding of love, sexuality, erotic, human relationship has been far more damaged than these.
Emma Eckstein (1865–1924) was an Austrian author. She was "one of Sigmund Freud's most important patients and, for a short period of time around 1897, became a psychoanalyst herself". She has been described as "the first woman analyst", who became "both colleague and patient" for Freud. As analyst, while "working mainly in the area of sexual and social hygiene, she also explored how 'daydreams, those "parasitic plants", invaded the life of young girls'."
The woman played every role possible in Sigmund Freud's life but his lover. If you had a case like this in anyone else's life, it is a sign that the woman was the best lover for that man, but he didn't want to love or be loved or a combination of both.
No, examples of terrible understanding of sexuality and religion and love and erotic do not end with Emma Eckstein in Sigmund Freud's life (Wikipedia):
Freud, who had called Fliess "the Kepler of biology", later concluded that a combination of a homoerotic attachment and the residue of his "specifically Jewish mysticism" lay behind his loyalty to his Jewish friend and his consequent over-estimation of both his theoretical and clinical work.
It is important to pay attention to the term "Jewish mysticism". One can argue the same about Islam, and I have had heated discussions with young men, dismantling all their nonsense theories about love, till they finally realized maybe they can ask the hand of the girl they feel so much inspired by.
Sigmund Freud theory of psychoanalysis and all his theories that are used to build up a therapy plan are similar to young boys and girls who play doctor game, pretending it's a game, while in fact, it's a disguise to cover their curiosity for understanding the differences in each others' bodies; and to be fair, there is nothing wrong with it, if it is only curiosity, but a grown-up man covering his inability to understand love fooling generations is not a forgivable thing ...
As this article is written on a request to estimate narcissism across generations, let's just have a mention to Sigmund Freud's words (73) about "narcissism":
The term narcissism is derived from clinical description and was chosen by Paul Näcke in 1899 to denote the attitude of a person who treats his own body in the same way in which the body of a sexual object is ordinarily treated—who looks at it, that is to say, strokes it and fondles it till he obtains complete satisfaction through these activities. Developed to this degree, narcissism has the significance of a perversion that has absorbed the whole of the subject's sexual life, and it will consequently exhibit the characteristics which we expect to meet with in the study of all perversions.
But as Sigmund Freud tries to explain all human psychology with the simple concept of "libido" and "self", this sexual perversion extends to other aspects of life too. Trying to explain every human action under a framework, whose main components are libido and self, rather than being a masterpiece takes away the meaning from a hell lot of phenomena. It is quite similar to the misunderstood concept of the theory of natural selection where just because there seems to be a natural selection intact some conclude the only reason of existence for any living being is the survival of the species. You can look at the article "The Questions Science Cannot Answer" and hopefully extend the reasons to Sigmund Freud's theories; and in addition to that, understanding the real reasons behind how Sigmund Freud saw the world – as we explained before– should be more than enough to understand how he couldn't see anything else than "libido" and "sexual energy" as what causes humans to function ...
And if you wonder how could it be that Sigmund Freud is so wrong and at the same time so prominent to our knowledge of psychology, if you look at our lives, it makes perfect sense. We exactly suffer from the inability to love and experience meaningful sexual interactions markedly, so, of course, our intellectual hero is someone who is an extreme example of our inabilities.
The misinterpreted starting point of the definition of "narcissism"
The tale of Narcissus from Greek mythology is considered to be the origin of the word "Narcissism."
In every standard textbook of psychology-related fields, whenever there is an introduction to narcissism there is a reference to this story, and the story is often presented in a way that you should understand Mr. Narcissus faced destruction because of falling in love with himself. This way of presenting the story may sound logical to our days, but I think for a tale as old as this, maybe we have to be more careful, I mean, after all, we are not living in the same culture, and this is not the first story we ever heard in which a boy loved a girl, so perhaps how we understand this story could be way different than how someone back then, had responded to this story in his or her mind ...
As the step-father of the theory of "narcissism" had nothing but empty words to offer, let's have a look at this story. Maybe there are some clues in the story that will lead us to make sense of how the ex-husband of that victim of narcissism in a relationship misbehaved; I mean someone who starts using a word for the first time, of course, have a reason for doing so, so let's see (Wikipedia):
Several versions of the myth have survived from ancient sources. The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD); this is the story of Echo and Narcissus. One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted "Who's there?". Echo repeated "Who's there?" She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis (as an aspect of Aphrodite), the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He did not realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide.
In order to be able to interpret the story in the way that the story was supposed to be understood back in the time, a good method is to understand why this story has been told at first place. A case with stories that last a long time is that they were crafted to transmit experiences, knowledge, to transmit how to live a good life, so perhaps we have to first ask, what is the good way of life that this story trying to teach us?
"Don't be a narcissist."
No, I don't agree. Back in time, there was no Sigmund Freud and no theory of narcissism, so, I guess an improved version of your guess should be: "don't be like Mr. Narcissus."
Now, we have to ask how Mr. Narcissus really is, what did he do wrong that we should avoid it?
"He fell in love with himself!"
No, look a bit more, you will realize.
Okay, okay, I'll give a hint. "Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool ..."
Yes, you are right, it was Narcissus's punishment to fall in love with himself, it wasn't his own problem, he wasn't born with a "mental disorder" that would suggest he will be drowned in the pool, rather the god decided to punish him in that way and he couldn't escape it. So, if we want to avoid ending up like him, we have to avoid doing the same like him that we, as well, will deserve the punishment of Nemesis. Now, maybe you can find the answer. Did you?
"She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone."
Yes, the reason he deserved such severe punishment from the god was that he rejected the love of the girl who loved him honestly and broke her heart and caused her to live lonely till "nothing but an echo sound remained of her" ...
The value that this story is trying to teach its audience is that you should never reject someone's love to yourself.
This tale is more than a thousand years old, and after all, it is a [fictional] story, not a textbook about love from a psychological perspective, however, this story is not a nonsense to fear you from non-existing creatures to force you into marriage with someone you don't love, in contrast, it is trying to reveal psychological aspects of our existence which are hard to understand for us unless you have known them in the past or ... So, we will look a bit at that:
In my previous writings I've discussed the feature in our design that we understand ourselves through reflection or mirror effect, and on example of leadership I've discussed when this feature is stronger or weaker, so assuming that you know these backgrounds, we will continue to discuss what is the relevance of "reflection" in this story.
As discussed [in those writings], the strongest impact of reflection effect is when the other person is our love.
But before carrying forward let's just have a side-note: I am not Hollywood. So, whenever talked about "love" with my own words, it means the relationship where you put the other person above yourself, and it is inborn in you. So, there is no such thing as one-sided love, there is no such thing as balance in love, there is no such thing as falling in or out of love, and lots of other stuff has no meaning under this definition of love; These characteristics and characteristics could be linked to romantic relationships or different states of affection but "love", as I talk about it, is a supernatural bond whose existence and destruction is neither in our hand nor can be affected by our will, unless the God wants it to happen ... So, Narcissus and Echo fortunately or unfortunately are lovers in this sense and the impact of reflection is strongest in respect of this kind of love, not necessarily whom you believe to love or whom you are in a relationship but only and only this particular kind of love, which in my writings is the only definition of romantic love between a male and female.
What this story is trying to make you realize is the reality that the denial of [this kind of] love leads to your destruction, and by our understanding of the world and human beings, it is absolutely reasonable that it happens this way.
Meeting the person who truly loves you and experiencing that he or she puts you before himself or herself is the noblest of human experiences. Now, if you decide to deny the foundation of this experience, it is impossible for your brain to make any sense of what has just happened other than assuming you are some kind of super-human that everyone must like. The fact that Narcissus is lured into a pool and thinks of his own reflection as such amazing thing that he can't resist, is only a fictional way to retell this psychological phenomenon.
I hope you can feel, that love is an extremely dangerous thing and if you look at our cultural products with observing views, you will realize nearly all cultural products are designed to push you away from going after this kind of love. Our social life is full of millions of mechanism to stop us from ever experiencing real love from anyone, as it is the extremest of dangers for a human's soul. At least, this is the perception of our times and by "our times" here, I mean the last couple of centuries; and it has some justifiable reason to it: for example, this story itself in our times would be something like:
There was a guy or girl who was very good in every aspect, and one day someone of opposite sex met him or her, and find him or her so inspiring that couldn't avoid displaying the interest in him or her; He or she tolerated the efforts until the not well acted out attempt of embracing him or her. He or her asked that person to give him or her space, which meant I won't ever want to be close to you; After that, the behaviors of the good guy or girl of our story started to slowly transform, until he or she couldn't find any satisfaction in his or her life unless it was an adornment of who he or she was.
And the last stage of this tale is a terrible place to be stuck in it; it takes away your ability to naturally grow, you will have no ability to love, and worst of all, you have lost the love of your life, because the person from the opposite sex has somehow died. This could be a modern version of the mythical story of Mr. Narcissus and Miss Echo; and I would argue the gender of the individuals does not matter, of course, the terrible end-station for male and female would look different to outsiders who have no clue about this stuff but as you may guess, there is no escape from the god's punishment, or if we put it in our modern way of understanding the world, our brains are designed to develop that way if we reject the person we were meant to love each other; and perhaps this is not only true about Narcissus but Echo, as well. Modern Echo-s have often died in a similar way.
How does it come, we don't understand this story?
If you wonder why you never saw things this way, or maybe you are asking yourself "how did I know all this stuff?", the answer is somewhere you would rather not expect.
As discussed at different places for me it is more reasonable to say "I belong to a dead culture," or "one of the future cultures." To my foreign eyes, the way Echo tried to express her love for Narcissus is the most normal way you would do such thing, and because of that, to me, this story was from the beginning a love story.
It took dozens of incomprehensible misunderstandings till I finally realized, the way I would typically act in a situation is something no one else would ever even consider doing. Here is not the right place to explain my culture and compare it to all the cultures I've lived in for a couple of years, which are varied from India to Switzerland, but I well understand that I'm a foreigner to the cultures practiced in our time, at least, all of I experienced so far and that all these cultures are foreign to mine as well. Just to give a sense of the difference in our culture here is a real example:
First weeks I arrived in Switzerland and were supposed to stay for a longer while, as it didn't work with the reservation I had to constantly change hotels, and once I asked a beautiful, or better said average beautiful woman after the street and she was so kind to look at my map and show it on my map and for a second after I said goodbye to her, I thought to myself, that's the situations you could ask someone's number, as back then in time, I was reading, for the first time in my life, a book about how to date, written for 40-something years olds who had rarely dated a woman. When I, while later, sat in a Starbuck and she was there after some minutes, and I only saw she coming to the room and sitting in front of me, I was sure she had followed me. By now, I know, in your culture that means the other person is crazy, but in my culture this is a natural way of showing your affection; I mean, if ever we met any second time and she hadn't followed me and yet told me "do you remember you asked me for the address on the street, since then I know I like you," I would be mad at her and think she is an extremely dishonest person. I was sad, perhaps maybe even crying and drafting a poem or maybe my thoughts on a piece of Starbucks napkin, she looked in her bag and hand over some white papers to me. I didn't accept the papers cuz my napkin had enough white space ... I didn't talk to her any more than saying I have enough space, and I remember for few more days as I would enter that Starbucks she would appear in that room after a couple of minutes. I was a bit amused how could she be so good in knowing when I go to that Cafe, and I was so extremely sad that I couldn't recognize it if anyone follows me or not. By now I understand, in your culture, it means she is crazy, or maybe crazily in love with me, for me, it was none of this. If I would ever pick up my head and look at her face, I would wonder, why she doesn't tell me that she wants to be my wife? That's how my culture works. If you happen to like someone, really honestly, the deepest you have ever felt in your life, and they don't know you, it is your duty to follow them, it is your duty to find them in an appropriate place where you can have an intimate conversation and tell them you want to be their wife or husband. To me, Starbucks was appropriate enough. And in my culture if the other person has no clue about you, and they are ordinary persons, they will allow you to be like their shoes, follow them wherever they go, be a bit of comfort and ease to them, maybe you can make up your way to the wife or husband, or maybe on your way to show them how much your love is honest and how much you put them above yourself, you realize they aren't the right person for you or you aren't the right person for them, and you leave their lives as unexpectedly as you entered it. In my culture, if the person you are showing interest to is someone high ranked according to my culture, not only they will let you hang around them, but they will take care while you are hanging around them you meet the love of your life around them as well. But that's not how your culture works. From movies what I know is that you get yourself and the person you are interested in drunk and then you end up sleeping with each other and then one day one of you decides to call the other one boyfriend or girlfriend, and after that you will be officially in a relationship, or if you aren't interested in someone, you reject them from the beginning.
My culture is based on valuing humans, or to be more precise it understands humans by definition as a self-actualizing being, just like all other things, and for example, love is one of the highest values for my culture, so it is understandable that in my culture rejecting someone's love doesn't exist. And in my culture rejection doesn't exist because if you reject someone's love, you end up like Narcissus; there are only two options available, either you don't know they are the love of your life so you give them a chance to take your heart or they don't know that they aren't the love of your life, so you give them a chance to realize that on their own. And of course, my culture unlike that of yours is not about first time your hands touched each other, or the first kiss, in my culture the person who is aware that he or she likes the other person have the responsibility to respond to what the other person needs, what makes him or her feel good, and so on, that's why I said, you start from being a "shoe". That means they will treat you as worthless as a shoe, like you try to be with them, you try to be nice to them, you try to give them white paper, like that woman did, or show them the way on the map and basically all you care about is them, and if you ever had to kiss each other, it is because what they wanted not because this is what relationship is about or this is what you wanted, in my culture the only things that please you to do it, is what makes them be happy. So in my culture lots of those stuff that in your culture are milestones of starting a relationship perhaps are never ever performed, simply because they have no meaning.
I don't know all the possible scenarios in my culture, but as far as I can think of, there is no possibility that the one who is the shoe be allowed to kiss you. Maybe, if you are an orphan or someone who has grown up with little love from childhood and you are so stressed out by the fact that someone really likes you are displaying trauma symptoms, then perhaps the other person who is the shoe, is allowed to hold you in his or her arms and try to calm you down with as much as physical touch as possible, but that's a rare case in itself and it has to do with psychological hardship, and those touches will be counted as means towards healing trauma and not milestones of starting a relationship ... Those kinds of acts are still required from any other professional person if they heal specific type of traumas in extremely specific situations; so, it's not relative to relationships or love ...
We have free will to deny or accept love ...
In our times it is always the talk about how to choose the right man or woman, but the reality is that we can only discover. It is like our talents, we don't choose to have strong muscles, or to be born beautiful, or to be a genius, we are just that way, and we chose what to do with it. Our ability to love is very tailored for specific individuals, if you don't agree that the love of our life is set by a higher existence. So it is also relevant to understand the story of Narcissus and Echo from this aspect, because as you saw the god didn't help Echo to get over Narcissus, rather she was slowly destroyed.
The story of Echo and Narcissus points to two other important aspects of love besides the fact that rejection is the worst wrongdoing of all time: love is not something you can do secretly and on your own. Perhaps Echo sensed that she is not going to end in a relationship with Narcissus, that she doesn't plot to seduce him rather she just walks after him, not being recognized. Love, the kind we are talking about, is such rare occurrence that often those who are true lovers, even when that love didn't end in a relationship, it's echo is going to remain in the environment.
So far as I know, love between two humans is the second most powerful tool given to all men, and hence it can give life and can kill, and it not only impacts the two involved in it but those surrounding it, just as the echo of the Echo filled that glens. The story of that love circulated so far that it even reached the god.
My Lord forbids revealing the secrets to all people and gifts those who have a weak mouth with the drink of death, yet, the me who saw no relief than in his wine ... saw no ear that trusts in his words, so I will avoid talking about the powers of love, and in place of my own words leave you with that of a poet I happen to agree with him a lot [of course you will not understand his poems unless you speak Persian and Arabic, and that's also why someone like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe learned these languages, so maybe if you speak German you can look at Goethe's West-östlicher Diwan, to find similar views about love, to pay due, I'll leave the original Persian as well]:
الا یا ایها الساقی ادر کاسا و ناولها
که عشق آسان نمود اول ولی افتاد مشکلها
Ho! O Saki, pass around and offer the bowl (of love for God):
For love at first appeared easy, but difficulties have occurred.
به بوی نافهای کاخر صبا زان طره بگشاید
ز تاب جعد مشکینش چه خون افتاد در دلها
By reason of the perfume of the musk-pod, that, at then end, the breeze displayeth from that fore-lock,
By the buckle of her musk-smelling ringlet, what extreme sorrow and sadness arrived at the hearts [of her lovers]
شب تاریک و بیم موج و گردابی چنین هایل
کجا دانند حال ما سبکباران ساحلها
The dark night, and the fear of the wave and the whirlpool so fearful
The light-burdened ones of the shore, how know they our state
همه کارم ز خود کامی به بدنامی کشید آخر
نهان کی ماند آن رازی کزاو سازند محفلها
By following my own fancy, me to ill fame all my work brought:
Secret, how remaineth that great mystery whereof assemblies speak?
As you see in the above verses chosen from a poem of Hafiz, love won't remain secret, and the difficulties of love are not visible in the beginning, and no one can grasp the terrible state you are in from outside ... Probably Miss Echo could have claimed the same things ...
As a side note, let me remind you the interpretation of the translator that the "bowl" that Hafiz is asking to be circled is not that of love for the God but a particular state of expression of love to the God, which shortly can be described as extreme closeness. From outside that state looks similar to that of drunk people ...
مطرب عشق عجب ساز و نوایی دارد
نقش هر نغمه که زد راه به جایی دارد
Wonderful harmony and great melody, my minstrel of love hath:
Every picture of the hidden (divine knowledge) that he striketh, path to place hath.
عالم از ناله عشاق مبادا خالی
که خوش آهنگ و فرح بخش هوایی دارد
Void of the wailing of lovers, be not the world:
For a note, pleasant of melody and joy-giving, it hath.
اشک خونین بنمودم به طبیبان گفتند
درد عشق است و جگرسوز دوایی دارد
To the physicians, I showed my bloody tears. They said:
'Tis love's painl and the remedy (for it),' the burning of the liver hath.
ستم از غمزه میاموز که در مذهب عشق
هر عمل اجری و هر کرده جزایی دارد
The tyranny of the glance, learn not. For, in love's order,
Every work, a reward; and every deed a requital hath.
Here again, you see the theme of extreme pain as a side-result of love and the other important point is the idea that in the world of love, every deed deserves a result, and another way of saying this is to say "the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus".
With all these talks of love, it won't make sense to think love is something you decide for yourself unlike how it's advertised in our times. If you could choose whom to love, Hafiz or Miss Echo won't have so much pain. Won't die in pain, and as Hafiz puts it, perhaps "the wailing of lovers" is "pleasant of melody and joy-giving" ...
Regardless of how true the statement that "there is only one love for each person" might be, you have to be sure, your heart does not consult you about whom it would have a place designated to inside it. In that sense what you can do is either to accept your heart's request or to deny it. So, it is not that you are receiving punishment out of nowhere just because an ugly Echo happened to express love to you, the reality is that the kind of punishment that Narcissus faced for rejecting Echo only happens when there is a case of true love and as I mentioned before, by such love, I don't mean any kind of affection, regardless of how strong it is and how much good intentions one has, I'm talking about the strongest bond two humans can ever have to one another, and that bond can never exist unless we are meant for each other. By "meant for each other" I don't mean to support your illusions about this or that particular individual [if you have an illusion, it can also be that you are true lovers], rather to emphasize that there is an element in our design that makes Narcissus and Echo be the kind of lover who, if broken-hearted by one another, will end in destruction ...
As much as possible avoid evaluating others ...
To believe of yourself that you will be able to distinguish the love of your life right from the start from anyone else with rational reasoning, in my opinion, is too much of arrogance, and in addition to that comes the fact that our culture is too ill. In place of trust in love and understanding for what a loving relationship is, we are filled with cautious about situations when people would lie to you about loving you, whereas sorting out lies from love is so easy, as the life in itself will have enough ups and down that those who are so weak to lie about love will be the first ones who will leave your life on their own, in moments of hardships.
With this in mind, I hope the following true story helps you to be more open in allowing others to show their interest in you and letting them know your expectations of your future spouse, so they can have the opportunity to make their minds about such relationship, instead of you making those evaluations about them on your own, because you will never be able to evaluate a human being perfectly, neither they themselves; so the best proof for us human beings is often when our expectations are met. So in respect of expectations, it is better to experience the real humans.
If he wasn't honest in what his reaction was back then, I would have said, “The God condemn you, Amirhossein …” but I have to give in, it was my own exaggeration of reality and forgetfulness about nature.
I said to a brilliant young lady, she is too young to think about relationships and other related stuff, and that was meant partly as a reminder to myself that “Amirhossein warned you, that it is hard to be with young girls, they don’t have the same mental desires …” but perhaps I should have not been so super hard on myself for thinking, “wow, I could have had a wife as smart, beautiful as her with such pure heart ...”
One of the terrible thing about life is that making mistakes towards your own self can harm others, but in case of your own self, it often only harms those who have a claim on your heart.
Most people think their heart belongs to themselves and they have the responsibility to give it to someone else, but this view can have a wrong foundation, as I happen more and more to realize there are individuals, you never heard of, you never know of, who has a claim on your heart, as if it is property belonging to them trusted to you for a short period of time. If you had eyes, it is hard not to see that it is a property belonging to others than yourself.
I don’t know why we are told all sorts of shits from early childhood till we die, instead of this obvious realities, but I have no offense for our societies because of this. I mean we are still discussing whether women’s body belongs to themselves or to their partner, which is a nonsense question in its core, so, for idiots as we are, it is not a big deal to deny the obvious.
So, the lady, I tired to take away her property, went on a become pregnant from another guy, so I received the proof I should have never a second made that idiot argument that she is too young for thinking about relationships …
Present-day definition of "narcissism" and how it is used ...
As we saw from the example we discussed so far about narcissism, there is always to some degree a genuine attempt of making sense from the world and in respect of narcissism specifically, to make sense from why someone behaves so badly. The present-day definition of narcissism and how it is understood is no exception. However, there are some fundamental mistakes here, the most important one is that this definition forgets the conditions which "narcissism" can take place in and we will discuss this in the later chapters; With this in mind, it should be understandable that the present-day definition is somehow mixing the phenomenon with other phenomena and we are going to briefly discuss why this definition means nothing useful and realize that exactly this uselessness of this definition is what some individuals, groups, and societies benefit from ...
Below is a short description of how "narcissism" is identified as a "personality disorder" by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Wikipedia):
People with narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by their persistent grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, and a disdain and lack of empathy for others. These individuals often display arrogance, a sense of superiority, and power-seeking behaviors. Narcissistic personality disorder is different from having a strong sense of self-confidence; people with NPD typically value themselves over others to the extent that they disregard the feelings and wishes of others and expect to be treated as superior regardless of their actual status or achievements. In addition, people with NPD may exhibit fragile egos, an inability to tolerate criticism, and a tendency to belittle others in an attempt to validate their own superiority.
According to the DSM-5, individuals with NPD have most or all of the following symptoms, typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:
- Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
- Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
- Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
- Needing constant admiration from others
- Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
- Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
- Unwilling to empathize with others' feelings, wishes, or needs
- Intensely envious of others and the belief that others are equally envious of them
- Pompous and arrogant demeanor
One of the surface-level problems with this definition is that each of the signs mentioned here are extremely subjective in their nature, and this subjectivity is not bond to the individual who is making such diagnosis but more so the underlying cultural world-view and beliefs. Take say for example, "admiration." What is "admiration"? If you are a top manager of a company, and an employee spread nice words about your skills, is this an admiration or a poor attempt to receive some sort of promotion by that employee when he or she lacks the real requirements and is not eager to work on that but rather spread a few words about you?
Every single one of these traits or signs, whichever you want to consider them, are so highly linked to the culture, the value system, how one understands the world and how one understands itself and to so many other individualistic, cultural, and social components that with this definition of narcissism it is impossible to ever diagnose anyone as such, and of course psychologist are not all too clueless about it (Wikipedia):
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown. ... Treatments have not been well studied. Therapy is often difficult as people with the disorder frequently do not consider themselves to have a problem.
In other words, this "disorder" is only used to label people with it, not for any other purpose, and of course, this is exactly why we have it around. Don't be shocked, I'm going to give you one example:
Siri Hustvedt, an American novelist and essayist with an extreme interest in "Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience," in defense of feminism and assault on Steve Jobs writes in a short article for Open Thoughts 2012, whose theme is "What if Steve Jobs had been a woman?", the following:
Steve Jobs is an icon of late capitalism. A parallel, equal feminine icon is impossible. ...
It is fascinating that Jobs chose Walter Isaacson as his biographer, a man who had previously written best-selling books about Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Franklin, Einstein, and Jobs have little in common except their iconic “genius” status, which is, of course, the point. Simone de Beauvoir’s reiterated statement in The Second Sex that woman is Other to man, that women are not accorded universal status, or, in other words, Everywoman is radically different from Everyman, remains true. Men are not trapped inside their sex. Women are.
If we do not examine and articulate the reasons for our hero worship, we will continue to be duped by unconscious biases against women. Apparently, Isaacson’s biography uncovers a ruthless, unpleasant narcissist. [...] Could a grasping, manipulative, ambitious, high-achieving woman gain the same stature as cultural saint? At this juncture in history, it seems to me that the answer is a resounding no.
Even though this article is not meant to be on feminism, but to pay the due respect to the extreme intellect and beauty of a young woman, who was so extremely kind to accept not to consider all that is considered beautiful by her in her body, I will just hand pick one example: Why the assumptions that Siri Hustvedt is making about how women are valued in society throughout history has no base:
And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation. [3:42]
O Mary! Be obedient to thy Lord, prostrate thyself and bow with those who bow (in worship). [3:43]
And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. [66:12]
Yes, for fake defenders of women's rights like Siri Hustvedt, or Simone de Beauvoir for that matter, women are trapped inside their sex, and you may believe, okay, the Koran pays attention to Mary's sex too, what you are not seeing is how the Koran ranks humans:
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. [49:13]
The Kuran does not ranks individuals based on if the population considers them "genius" or not, as Siri Hustvedt, about Simone de Beauvoir consider to be a value worth pursuing, rather it ranks humans based on being "best in conduct."
It is impossible not to claim to be historian or to study a phenomena in historical context and forget that at least since around 1300 years ago, men and women are only noble if they are best in conduct, and nowadays at least around 1 billion individuals, at least by their mouth, claim to follow these kind of value system –while, in reality they often act against it, but that's another story– and Islam is not the first religion gifted to the humankind by the God.
Here we don't want to go into details, just to pick an example: as we saw with Sigmund Freud who tried to cover his inabilities with theories about the human psyche, Simone de Beauvoir tries to manifest the causes for the misery of her life with feminism. I am not ruling against feminism. In other places I've spoken in praise of Rosa Luxemburg, a woman who among lots of other political goals, tried to get the right to vote for women in Germany; But Simone de Beauvoir has a particularly miserable kind of life, which she denies and that denial is transformed into her false views of why females are miserable in the society, instead of talking why she has such miserable life.
After a certain age, children would stick with their favorite toy that they go to sleep with, even till late in their adulthood, maybe that's not enough a reason for you. I mean, the last person you may want to learn love from, would be a pop-star who has no regret to take off her clothes, but even she expects to be his only one (K. Michelle, et al):
I would be the apple of his eye
He would treat me like his grand prize
Trophy, make me feel every bit worth it
I would be his centerpiece and
He'd show me off while we're at the Grammys
Winning, nominated, they'd hate it
Simone de Beauvoir is known for the lifelong open relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. Of course, there should be some place that she gives expressions to the misery that her heart feels, that expression of misery for her has found its way under the term feminism.
Going back to Siri Hustvedt's question: "could a grasping, manipulative, ambitious, high-achieving woman gain the same stature as cultural saint?", you have to understand for humans without "soul-illness" what mattered since the start till the end of human civilization is and only is "who is the best in conduct."
With this side note, let's see how much a "narcissist" Steve Jobs is.
Here are pieces of Steve Jobs Commencement address on June 12, 2005 at Stanford; Remember, these are the words of a man who is battling cancer and it is not hard to understand unlike Bill Gates' commencement speech, he is not talking about himself, rather he is talking about how to live your life, just before death is going to take away the opportunity from him to ever share his experience:
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
Do you remember the thing about "self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions"? Idiot Siri Hustvedt, he isn't! Isn't this introduction enough? Unfortunately for you Siri Hustvedt, Steve Jobs was honest:
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK.
Not only Steve Jobs is not associating himself with "high-status people," rather he is simply saying "my biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student;" And, no, he doesn't stop there, he goes on to worse details: "my biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school." Is this really the attitudes of someone who has a wrong need of being associated with "high-status" people?
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life.
What? He says, he was lucky? He doesn't say I am the special person who deserved it? No, no, it is only false modesty. Get over your suspicions of Steve Jobs, people who know his story, know that it wasn't him achieving those stuff, and he himself believes that way too:
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Do you see how he navigated his life? "Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death;" He has tried to make his biggest decisions without impacts of "external expectations," or "pride," or "fear of embarrassment or failure." What were a narcissist's traits again?
How do you think Steve Jobs can be someone who "fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc." or was "needing constant admiration from others"?
But why does Siri Hustvedt writes such things about Steve Jobs? The reason is pretty simple. Here is an orphan child from a Syrian immigrant who had sex with an American girl whose parent stopped her from raising the child by herself or building a family with that man, then this child later on drops out of college, while attempting to make a revolution he destroys a computer hardware monopoly and brings the power of computation to the desks of every ordinary man and woman, and later on in his life inside their pockets. What does Siri Hustvedt have done? Marrying Paul Auster, the man who hangs around with Shimon Peres and Salman Rushdie; In other words, supporting the killing of innocents in Palestine and the occupation of their land. Some people live with the motto that if you can't be better than someone, at least you can stop them from bypassing you; And in the case of the dead Steve Jobs, maybe we can call him "narcissist."
Look, I am not claiming Steve Jobs is an angel; I know well about some of the difficulties of his life, for example, he refused to accept the fatherhood for his biological child; but that doesn't come from a mental disorder such as "narcissism" rather it is the result of not healed "psychological-hardship", the "psychological-hardship" of being an orphan while her parents were alive and healthy and could have cared for him, only because some stupid cultural convention that a Syrian man shouldn't be the husband of an American woman, or whatever the reasoning ...
Here is a fun fact about Siri Hustvedt (Wikipedia):
In 2014, she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Oslo. She received an Honorary Doctorate from the Université Stendhal-Grenoble, France, on October 20, 2015 and from Gutenberg University-Mainz, German, on June 16, 2016.
You still remember, the traits of a narcissist in present-day definition, don't you? "Individuals with NPD have most or all of the following symptoms, typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments ...". Honorary Doctorate from three different universities.
Now that we are here let's discuss the story of that victim in the beginning chapters of this article. On first sight, that story sounds like that of someone who has the trait of what is called "narcissism" today; but as we said, they are nonsense; I mean just consider, there is a man who took all the hardships of starting a relationship with a woman on himself to then spend her money on financing a motorbike for himself? This is not an example of exploitive behavior but the misconception of the values and purposes of things in life. Just to make it clear for you, let's consider this fictional example: a man who would drive 2 hours to an extremely beautiful lake in the middle of jungle whom no other person has access to, only to empty his bladder. What would you think about such a man? Is he exploiting that lake and beautiful landscape? That everyone has to empty his or her bladder is not a huge life fact, the problem is he can think of no other use for so much beauty. If a boy has grown up not knowing how to enjoy beauty, this doesn't mean he is an evil, it just means the guy lacks some knowledge that most men have. Just as the man in the allegory has to learn how to enjoy a beautiful landscape.
Look, in every marriage there might be exceptional situations where one finances the others' extra expenses, like an expensive disease, or the penalties of an accident, or etc., but that A. L.'s ex-husband would only use the relationship for financing his life means he has never learned the right way of financing one's life and the real value and the real benefits of a relationship. Look, we grow up in different families, with different environments, we consume different cultural products, it is perfectly natural if someone happens to not know the very extremely basic stuff of human lives.
Don't think, I'm being generous to the ex-husband of that woman, let me give you another example.
In my attempts to make sense of how events happened between A. S. and me, I bought a book titled "Getting Back Out There: Secrets to Successful Dating and Finding Real Love after the Big Breakup." I know the book is written for women by a woman, but back then I was desperate and I tried everything I could, and nothing had helped, I thought maybe I could find something I don't know, something I didn't see, something that wasn't in my mind in this book ... Never in my life, I had imagined someone telling stuff like that, until I read the blog of the author. Two years ago, in a blog post on her website, Susan J. Elliott, told the story of the birth of her third son, which coincided by her husband dating a younger girl and moving together with her and years later marrying and having a happy family and life with that younger woman. The anecdotes she told were almost like she was the object of criminally punishable abuse by her ex-husband, yet a while after that, now that post is deleted, and the renew edition of that story lacks lots of those horror anecdotes. There she argued, people may think she is crazy and that the daughter of her ex-husband from his new marriage thinks her father is the best man in the world and can't imagine how he could have done such things to her and so on and so forth, and she herself also agreed with the fact that her ex-husband was treating his new wife way much better than he had treated her, almost as if he is an entirely different person.
Here is the ending paragraph from the new blog post:
I don’t know if I would have been able to get my act together had I been scrutinized by the whole world. My own family’s comments and my ex’s comments (knowing what a LOSER this guy was and yet he was coming off as better than me) and his family’s comments were enough for me. They hurt and they were private, not public. I hurt so much and then I was held up to scorn and ridicule on a very small scale and it hurt more than I can put into words. Still I hung back, did my work, cared for my children and listened to people wonder what was wrong with me for several years until it was clear that I was on a new and different and healthy path.
I put a new life together.
I got over the hurdles.
I moved past all the garbage and the hurt and the rage and learned to be a mother to my kids. A good mother. A healthy mother. I learned to put a life together that is good and wonderful. It IS possible and I wish it for Britney and any other young mother who is hurt and confused and lost and alone.
I didn’t want to write about Britney but I feel for her. She’s a child and she needs some room to grow into the person she was meant to be. She’s hurting. She needs some time and some space. Let her be.
I totally agree with her that the way her ex-husband treated her was horrible and it should have never happened that way, but what all of us are interested in is how that could have been different. Let's review the story once again: as soon as her ex-husband was in a relationship with another woman, his treatment of his partner radically shifted. So, what is your guess about how the situation could have been different? It's not hard, huh? That man was married to the wrong woman. Look, from Susan Elliot's writing, I can tell she is an intelligent woman, she thinks, she reflects on the events and so on, but just because you are intelligent, and you are beautiful –which she is by the way in the photos of her younger age– doesn't mean you can have a happy marriage with any man. You simply can't. Because the happiness in marriage is linked to love, the kind of love we are speaking of, and that kind of love has nothing to do with your achievements, or with how compatible you and your spouse could appear to be on paper. 99.99% of people are okay if the person they are in a relationship with is only a tiny bit like the person they are born to love, so, I'm not suggesting here you have to find the love of your life to have a happy marriage or otherwise you will have a miserable marriage, but I do think a bit of similarity between the person you are meant to love and the person you start a relationship with is compulsory if you want any bits of happiness in your life. However, if you have already experienced the love of your life, anything less than him or her will be a hateful experience, and we will see in future chapters that it is relevant to the phenomenon of narcissism. Or better said it is fundamental to the definition of narcissism.
How we harm others for seemingly self-centered intentions
With all the critics we had on the present-day definition of narcissism, it, however, doesn't mean we never act in such ways. Before starting with a more psychological definition for the phenomenon that the ancient tale tried to describe with the character of "Narcissus," let's clear up one misunderstanding.
That you have come so far, it should be clear that how things mean and where they come from and where they go to, to some degree; but the fact that so many people tried to study something that seems to be wrong in human behavior might be a sign that there is something there, some sort of disorder maybe, some psychological hardship or soul-illness, however you have to be clear that what is understood as narcissism in no way provides any understanding for that thing.
The traits discussed under the modern definition of "narcissistic personality disorder" are not new to humankind, or to say it better, all moral frameworks, which tried to provide an exhausting framework about human behavior, have talked about these traits, and have also attempted to understand their underlying roots and reasons, and all those frameworks often suggest one way or the other means of developing morals in order to combat these damaging behavior patterns. Personally, I find it very interesting how past generations understood human behaviors; for example, one famous theory about human psyche in the Middle East, which was popular half a millennium ago, defines four fundamental parts to human psyche, just as all matters in the world is based on the combination of four elements, Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. That every moral framework comes with an underlying understanding of human psyche was so natural in the past, that even some of more man-made religions have such framework clearly stated within them, like in some form of Buddhism.
Abrahamic religions, by contrast, do not offer a clearly stated framework for human psyche in their prominent textbooks, rather they are scholars who attempt to build up such frameworks from those books, and there is a reason that it is this way. The reason is, more or less, because these religions are revelations by the God, however we don't want to discuss this aspect of study of human psyche here any further; Nevertheless, what I think is worth to mention is how what we perceive as self-centered behavior or in its extreme "narcissistic" behavior could be avoided according to the Koran. As said before, our aim is not the study of disorders out of pure interest but we do so, to be able to heal or lessen them; Hence, now that the current definition of narcissism is meaningless and only points to morally wrong behavior, let's have a look at how could we have a treatment, if we find ourselves stuck in such behaviors [or behavior patterns].
There are lots of ways to study the Koran in this way, however, I would like to point out one single story in which a young man avoids to response to the erotic desire of a woman because she is married, even though she threatens him with imprisonment and finally causes him to end in jail. According to the present-day perception of narcissism, any narcissist or maybe even any reasonable human being would have seized the opportunity and avoided the unjust punishment, so perhaps if we know how could he avoid that, we can implement it in our lives too and avoid mistakes in tough situations which we will face in our own lives. So, here we go:
And And when he reached his prime We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus We reward the good. [12:22]
And she, in whose house he was, asked of him an evil act. She bolted the doors and said: Come! He said: I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! he is my lord, who hath treated me honourably. Lo! wrong-doers never prosper. [12:23]
She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might ward off from him evil and lewdness. Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves. [12:24]
And they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from behind, and they met her lord and master at the door. She said: What shall be his reward, who wisheth evil to thy folk, save prison or a painful doom? [12:25]
(Joseph) said: She it was who asked of me an evil act. And a witness of her own folk testified: If his shirt is torn from before, then she speaketh truth and he is of the liars. [12:26]
And if his shirt is torn from behind, then she hath lied and he is of the truthful. [12:27]
So when he saw his shirt torn from behind, he said: Lo! this is of the guile of you women. Lo! the guile of you is very great. [12:28]
O Joseph! Turn away from this, and thou, (O woman), ask forgiveness for thy sin. Lo! thou art of the faulty. [12:29]
And women in the city said: The ruler's wife is asking of her slave-boy an ill-deed. Indeed he has smitten her to the heart with love. We behold her in plain aberration. [12:30]
And when she heard of their sly talk, she sent to them and prepared for them a cushioned couch (to lie on at the feast) and gave to every one of them a knife and said (to Joseph): Come out unto them! And when they saw him they exalted him and cut their hands, exclaiming: Allah Blameless! This is no a human being. This is not other than some gracious angel. [12:31]
She said: This is he on whose account ye blamed me. I asked of him an evil act, but he proved continent, but if he do not my behest he verily shall be imprisoned, and verily shall be of those brought low. [12:32]
He said: O my Lord! Prison is more dear than that unto which they urge me, and if Thou fend not off their wiles from me I shall incline unto them and become of the foolish. [12:33]
So his Lord heard his prayer and fended off their wiles from him. Lo! He is Hearer, Knower. [12:34]
(Then Joseph said: I asked for) this, that he (my lord) may know that I betrayed him not in secret, and that surely Allah guideth not the snare of the betrayers. [12:52]
I do not exculpate myself. Lo! the (human) soul enjoineth unto evil, save that whereon my Lord hath mercy. Lo! my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. [12:53]
This is a pretty example here: Josef, while being an honorable man, would have committed the evil act, save the Lord saved him.
One might argue, what is the point of the story, the God does what He wants, He was the one who shows him "the argument of his Lord;" but a couple of verses before, the Koran answers that question too: "Thus We reward the good." So, because Joseph was a good person in advance the God gave him the wisdom and knowledge that would rescue him from accepting evil desires, furthermore, when he was forced to carrying out such an act, the Lord responded to his prayer.
While psychology tries to formulate "needing constant admiration from others" or "exploitative of others to achieve personal gain" as mental illness which needs correction, the Koran not only does not accept such views, in contrast the Koran suggests humans are designed to behave that way, unless they are given wisdom and knowledge, and the God saves them directly and answers their prayers other times; so there is no illness that needs treatment.
If you remember where we started this article, we tried to categorize what is currently labeled as mental disorders in a new way and here is where you have the relevance, in fact, what we try to study with the term "narcissism" is the behavior of any healthy human being, if he or she hasn't received much knowledge and wisdom ... by labeling these behaviors as "disorder" we only distance ourselves from a good life.
That it is our natural behavior is not only my claim, surprisingly, the Koran shows no shyness to confirm that the God is proud of designing such being:
Beautified for mankind is love of the joys (that come) from women and offspring; and stored-up heaps of gold and silver, and horses branded (with their mark), and cattle and land. That is comfort of the life of the world. Allah! With Him is a more excellent abode. [3:14]
And unlike psychology the Koran does not leave you without solution and the solution is put in straight forward statements:
The day when man will call to mind his (whole) endeavour, [79:35]
And hell will stand forth visible to him who seeth,[79:36]
Then, as for him who rebelled [79:37]
And chose the life of the world, [79:38]
Lo! hell will be his home. [79:39]
But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust, [79:40]
Lo! the Garden will be his home. [79:41]
The examples are plenty, but we are not here to discuss religion. The tales told by the Koran will reveal the details of this world-view, and they will provide remarkably easy to understand justification why we are designed this way, what is the purpose of all these and lots of other relevant questions ...
For example, the reason that we are exposed to desires and good acts, and are given the opportunity to choose between them, has a simple reason:
Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction? [29:2]
Lo! We tested those who were before you. Thus Allah knoweth those who are sincere, and knoweth those who feign. [29:3]
Or do those who do ill-deeds imagine that they can outstrip Us? Evil (for them) is that which they decide. [29:4]
Whoso looketh forward to the meeting with Allah (let him know that) Allah's reckoning is surely nigh, and He is the Hearer, the Knower. [29:5]
And whosoever striveth, striveth only for himself, for lo! Allah is altogether Independent of (His) creatures. [29:6]
Again, in total contrast to present-day psychology, the Koran never considers self-centered acts as wrong or evil, regardless of how much self-centered they are; Read again: "And whosoever striveth, striveth only for himself." As we saw by the example of that woman considering herself a victim of narcissism, the problem wasn't the selfishness of her ex-husband, but the fact that his husband has no better imagination for what the purpose of a wife in his life is than financing his toys. This is stupidity added to self-centered behavior causing severe damage. Otherwise if one has enough knowledge and a pure heart, doing anything but the best possible is against one's own self-interest, because there are rewards and punishments afterward, and because the God doesn't let go of misdeeds ...
And it's cautious to be kept that restraining one's soul from lust does not necessarily translate to no sex, no pleasant meal, or etc. Perhaps shockingly for most people, the Koran holds the opposite view:
O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals. [7:31]
Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do we detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge. [7:32]
Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not. [7:33]
Do you think the God is an idiot to put desire into us and then forbid us from ever answering those desires? Just, let's get shocked by the Koran one more time, then we will continue with the remaining chapters of this article ...
Lo! those who kept their duty dwell in gardens and delight, [52:17]
Happy because of what their Lord hath given them, and (because) their Lord hath warded off from them the torment of hell-fire. [52:18]
(And it is said unto them): Eat and drink in health (as a reward) for what ye used to do, [52:19]
Reclining on ranged couches. And we wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes. [52:20]
And they who believe and whose seed follow them in faith, We cause their seed to join them (there), and We deprive them of nought of their (life's) work. Every man is a pledge for that which he hath earned. [52:21]
And We provide them with fruit and meat such as they desire. [52:22]
There they pass from hand to hand a cup wherein is neither vanity nor cause of sin. [52:23]
And there go round, waiting on them menservants of their own, as they were hidden pearls. [52:24]
The God is not in the business of writing "Fifty Shades of Grey," worse, He is the One who puts the desire in our design at first place. Can you imagine, He being so shameful to talk about "menservants of their own"? Dear God, you disappointed everyone who believed that in Islam woman are supposed to not have sexual needs, worse, you disappointed everyone who believes the erotic desire in women is the source of evil.
I hope so far you enjoyed the disappointments from the Koran, and that hopefully, it encourages you to shift the way you live your life, to summarize everything we learned on how not to be a narcissist under the present-day definition, here are few more verses:
This life of the world is but a pastime and a game. Lo! the home of the Hereafter - that is Life, if they but knew. [29:64]
And when they mount upon the ships they pray to Allah, making their faith pure for Him only, but when He bringeth them safe to land, behold! they ascribe partners (unto Him), [29:65]
That they may disbelieve in that which We have given them, and that they may take their ease. But they will come to know. [29:66]
Have they not seen that We have appointed a sanctuary immune (from violence), while mankind are ravaged all around them? Do they then believe in falsehood and disbelieve in the bounty of Allah? [29:67]
Who doeth greater wrong than he who inventeth a lie concerning Allah, or denieth the truth when it cometh unto him? Is not there a home in hell for disbelievers? [29:68]
As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good. [29:69]
The life is too short to strive in anywhere but Him, careful where you go.
The professional definition of Narcissism
So far we saw, "narcissism" can be used as an excuse to defame others to cover up your lost life, or it can be used to introduce yourself as a victim of an incurable disease in your partner which was the roots of all misery in your relationship, instead of accepting the plain truth that even though your beautiful body and all other gifts you have could make the lives of lots of other men way much better, it will not do so for each man, there are lots of factors at play here. And in some rare cases, such as that of Sigmund Freud, "narcissism" was used to cover up his inability to love and to provide a good face for his wasted life in nonsense theories, describing sexual-energy and libido as the only driving force in human beings.
But if we look back at that tale from Greek mythology, the term Echo is not a meaningless word, it is coupled with a physical phenomena, and I would like to suggest that term "Narcissus" is also not a meaningless word, however, the phenomenon it should be coupled with is far more distant from our civilization than the knowledge of physics and the phenomenon of echo of sound.
The first thing you have to understand is that there were no inborn dysfunctionalities. Narcissus had deserved such punishment for rejecting the honest love of Echo and breaking her heart and causing her to suffer bitter destruction. So whatever the phenomenon we are looking at, the element of "rejection of the honest love from opposite sex" must be pre-existing in it.
In the article on "Psychology, psychotherapy, and giftedness ..." I use "the natural design in human beings for developing an understanding from oneself, read it identity" as a reason for the out of blue love between the psychotherapist and the client, however only on the psychotherapist's side. And I argue there that not answering to this natural desire will lead to extreme crisis in the psychotherapist; Back then, the assumption was that the psychotherapist and the client are not the unique [or semi-unique] individuals who are meant to love one another, while this assumption was true, we still observed our natural need for reflection is so fundamental to our existence that avoiding to answer to it will lead us in crisis, here however, Narcissus and Echo are born to love each other. Look at how the story is told once again:
She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He did not realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide.
I believe this is one of the best attempts to talk about reflection effect as a natural design feature in us back in the ancient Greek times. In our language, we can say the reflection that the brain of Narcissus can't get rid of is: how he was able to understand his own identity in the presence of Echo. And his realization that this love could not be reciprocated is another way of saying: Echo was dead and there was no way for that reflection effect to be ever repeated in his life. And that is the reason for suicide for Narcissus.
So, narcissism is the rare occurrence of two true lovers' paths crossing one another, one of them going after this love and being unable to hold him or herself back, and the other after a series of interactions finally demanding the one, eager to be close to him or her, to leave him or her alone.
You have to understand so far that it is not enough for having a Narcissus, as we said, Narcissus committed suicide because there was never again a reflection of himself available because Echo was dead. So, in order to see the self-destructive Narcissus, the Echo of the story must be dead or, at least, so unreachable that it could be considered as such by Narcissus.
I believe suicide or some other forms of soul-less life is a natural and healthy response by the brain of Narcissus to the result of his own deeds. And I do suggest that in case the Echo of the story is dead, the Narcissus of the story can't have any other fate.
That in the story of Narcissus and Echo the male and female roles are given away in such order should not lead you to think "Narcissism" is a male thing; The exact same story could happen with a female Narcissus and a male Echo, in such case, their behavior would look different but how the event turn in the story would be the same. And, of course, it is a wise choice to have Narcissus being a male and Echo being a female, because if Echo was a male, then perhaps he would have gone to a battle-field which he would have not took part in otherwise in order to be dead, and in case of female Narcissus it is hard for our culture to understand how would a woman not think she is pretty or how would a woman kill herself only because she is the prettiest woman in the world, while every woman of our times wishes to be so; The reality is that a female Narcissus just like a male Narcissus will be extremely needy for the continuation of reflection of herself which her brain could receive in the presence of Echo, and the moment her brain realizes such reflections are never going to be repeated, her brain is meant for destruction.
While narcissist individuals of our definition may temporarily display the traits that the today's psychology suggests for narcissists, the reality is these two may have nothing to do with each other. And the easiest way to spot a narcissist is to know the existence of a dead Echo, because as discussed well enough, there can't be a Narcissus on his [or her] path towards self-destruction prior to Echo being dead, and again cautious to be kept that not every idiot who commits suicide is an Echo. We briefly tried to ascribe some attributes to love, and unless the person who died bitterly is such an individual to Narcissus [whether Narcissus ever accept that it was honest love by Echo or not], there won't be any Narcissus.
So, in times like ours when relationship is a loose term, and marriage is considered something old-fashioned and having sexual affair is labeled as adventure or smartness, there won't be any Narcissus, simply because most of Echo-s have already had intimate erotic relationships with other people, and whether you enjoy it or not, this world follows its own rules and regardless of how a culture is open to erotic relationships outside of marriage or not, those relationships have their impacts on our brain, minds, emotions, souls, and hearts, whether we ever realize them or not and whether we ever accept their existence or deny them.
Now if we have an alive Echo and Narcissus who happened to be rejected and broken-hearted but still not dead, what could be done?
The foundation of the solution is pretty straight: Narcissus and Echo should have come together, but how can such a thing be achieved after Narcissus has rejected Echo is not that straightforward.
If you are an Echo or a Narcissus, I personally, do not have any more precise action plan. The God knows better whether I am the person who is supposed to love her or not, but how the events turned in my life recently are strikingly similar to that of Echo and Narcissus's story, so, if I don't have any better advice to share with you is only because the best I can think of is that I was dead long before ...
And if it wasn't the disassociation of trauma at my fingertips, I would not have been able to write such an article from the point of view of an outsider. And to an outsider from my experience, I think it is not impossible to help two individuals find their ways back to each other ... I don't think Narcissus's rejection of Echo is without reason, but I do guess there must be wrong reasons at place, if these two individuals are true lovers. So, the solution comes down to how to counter those false reasons.
The narcissism epidemic of new generations
As this article was written upon a request to assert a personal opinion on the phenomenon of "the narcissism epidemic," let's try to make an estimate based on what we have learned so far:
First, let's consider the real definition of narcissism as we introduced in the former chapter. And we will discuss only the US. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the principal health statistics agency within Dept. of Health and Human Services in 2011-2013:
Mean age at first intercourse after menarche for women aged 15-44: 17.2 years
Mean age at first intercourse for men aged 15-44: 16.8 years
The median number of opposite-sex partners in lifetime among men and women 25-44 years of age: Men: 6.6 and Women: 4.3
Percentage of men and women aged 15-44 years of age who have had 15 or more opposite-sex sexual partners in lifetime: Men: 21.8% and Women: 10.6%
With these numbers, it is going to be very hard to imagine that we end up having any significant percentage of the population being narcissists. And as the percentage of people with zero opposite-sex partners in life drops from around 38 percent to 9 percent from 15-19 to 20-24 years olds, it will be very unlikely to see an Echo or a Narcissus older than 24 years old in the US ...
To get an estimation for around the globe, it is good to notice that this is not the only decisive factor, more importantly you have to have a population in which, at least one of the two lovers is able to realize the love, to go after it by some mean, and as briefly referenced in my previous writings, the current education system is designed to cut children off their soul, and in addition there are lots of other means at place to reinforce what I labeled as "intercision" process. So, it goes without saying, whenever you have a perfectly breaded citizen out of school system, that adorable citizen could never become an Echo, hence if there could have been a Narcissus for that Echo, there won't be one.
I believe our souls are designed to guide and are the only internal compass to our development, hence being cut off our souls from childhood, we will be easily prone to accepting any wrong opinion and belief about ourselves and the world. So it comes with no surprise if people like Twenge and Campbell claim: "for the past several years, Americans have been buying McMansions and expensive cars on credit they can't afford." The book was published in April 2009, the year of financial crises, so, if the population wasn't fooled to buy things on credit, how could big banks make billions and then receive bail-out by the government? If ever any surprise, then it should be that these individuals show no understanding of how we got here. Of course, there is no such epidemic of narcissism. It has never been. There will never be such. Such a term in such way bears no link to any identifiable phenomenon, as we discussed in brief details.
Measuring how language is understood instead of traits ...
The request contained references to a graph (Myers, et al) produced based on "Narcissistic Personality Inventory Test," which is a joke, not a test. Just to give you a few examples: it requires you to choose, between: "I will be a success," or "I am not too concerned about success." This is very amazing, only what it doesn't consider is what success means? How do you know it means helping others? Living a meaningful life? Going to Paradise? Being a CEO with a big house, young wife, dozen of children? Or does it mean devoting yourself to art, space travel, or humanitarian aid, or to die on a battlefield to extend democracy in the Middle East? This question measures nothing related to anything.
Take another one: you can choose between "I sometimes depend on people to get things done," or "I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done." Okay, in case you live in any city with any remote version of modernity, you rely on tons of dead people: Did you know for generations human beings didn't know the number zero exists, not to think of negative numbers! Oil! Electricity! Internet! All the medicaments your mother took while you were in her belly! Remarkably this question does not measure anything related to anything, because based on the present-day definition of narcissism, narcissists exploit others to achieve their goals, but the answer to this question has more to do with how much you understand the history of industrialization, science, and technology than whether you have a tendency to exploit others or not.
As said, "narcissism" in its present-day definition is a brilliant tool to distract anyone from real causes of issues, both on individual, group [as we saw in previous chapters of this article] and in cases of these studies on the social level.
Self-sensorship of style
In my writings, I use a certain style for using different types of words, however, as this article was based on a request by a class in which when the professor used the term "sex" in the meaning of "sexual intercourse", she needed to explain herself that it is not wrong to use such words at appropriate places, I decided to deviate from that style. Otherwise, when as a one-human-army you go in fight with what is considered as knowledge or as fact, which no one ever thinks to challenge them, using the "Seven dirty words" at least in the US style of writing, speaking, singing, is understood as a mean to get attention and as a counterforce for all the other people who would say the opposite of what you are claiming. In my other works, even sometimes to my own surprise, I have used this style of writing, and also it wasn't all too invisible here either, for example, the note from my Facebook, contained such a word. Just to clear up all the hard feelings for those who think using these words under any circumstance and for any purpose is inappropriate or an unforgivable blow to human interactions, here are a few individuals whom I respect their intellectual works, and we share the same style:
Just because we mentioned Donald Trump in this article, let's have a look at his example, as it is a relevant one too. The point here is to demonstrate not always the defamation with the help of labeling others as "narcissist" is on extraordinary good individuals. Below is an interesting opinion respecting calling Donald Trump a narcissist (Allen):
Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.
As we see here, the guy who "was chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV)" is aware that the term "narcissist" correlates to no mental disorder, or to be more precise, there must be a mental disorder available, and then those signs existing, then he may give you a diagnosis of "narcissism;" Prior to that, regardless of how "world-class" you are in displaying some traits, it is no sign of mental illness. Exactly because of this reason we started this article with the definition of mental illness, psychological hardship and etc. and later on tried to redefine "narcissism" or to be precise, bring back the definition of this world to what it was supposed to mean at first place.
I believe calling Donald Trump a "world-class narcissist" is out of order, for example, it is generally accepted that Donald Trump spoke to the emotions of white working class population, what does that mean, it means you have an individual who is extremely capable of reading other people's emotions and empathizing with them.
Typical responses to love ...
While sexual maturity is partly landmarked by the natural physiological development of our bodies, maturity for love is landmarked by the natural development of our souls and purity of the connection between our consciousness, body, brain and soul or heart.
Just a side note, as we didn't introduce a psychological framework for understanding human beings, I used "soul" and "heart" interchangeably in this article, more precision than this was also never intended in such extremely short article ...
If you understand the basics of our design, you will realize that most individuals never reach that degree of maturity. Not reaching such maturity is not an evil in and of itself, just as the period of childhood is no evil on itself. Sexual maturity builds on top of childhood experiences, and in this sense, such maturity also builds on previous stages of our developments ...
The relevant point to our discussion is that when the majority of the population is hindered t a specific level of development, there will be certain characteristics that you should not ignore them, if you happen to experience the inexperienced or witness such event by others.
The first point is that the reaction of any individual within that culture would be that such experience is evil, just as to children, sexual experiences are naturally registered as evil. Just to give you an example what this means in practice, as we discussed in the article, we saw the example of Hafiz, when he was suggesting, love is pain, pain, pain, pain and if you belong to today's culture, pain is equal to evil. The same Hafiz, responds to idiotic complaints regarding the God not taking care of their difficulties with this verse:
عاشق که شد که یار به حالش نظر نکرد
ای خواجه درد نیست وگرنه طبیب هست
Lover, who became, at whose state the true beloved gazed not?
O Sir! (the truth is) there is no pain. Otherwise, the Physician (God) is.
Like most Hafiz verses this is true about human lovers and about the God. In terms of human relationships this means, if your beloved is someone mature in respect of love, then in case you have the pain of his or her love in your heart, it can't be that your lover won't look after that ... As said a few times, we are not talking about Hollywood and Hafiz is telling the same to that gentleman too, just because a girl or boy dreams to be loved by someone or be in a relationship with someone, as often shown in the movies, it has long nothing to do with love.
Another point from this verse which is important to explain here is that as you see, the pain is part of how love functions. You take away the pain from the interactions, love can't function properly. If you wonder how could this be true if all the happy marriages you heard of, there is never talk of such things; There is a very simple reason, almost all happy marriages are empty of the kind of love we were speaking about in the whole article.
Let's just have another example of Hafiz:
زان یار دلنوازم شکریست با شکایت
گر نکته دان عشقی بشنو تو این حکایت
On account of that heart-cherishing beloved, thanks (mixed) with complaint are mind (and, verily, this is wonderful):
If thou be a subtlety-understander of love list well to this tale
در زلف چون کمندش ای دل مپیچ کانجا
سرها بریده بینی بی جرم و بی جنایت
O heart! In His tress-like noose, twist not; (and from its fancy come out). For, there,
Thou seest severed heads,-crimeless, guitless.
Hafiz talks of a specific story of a believer who was killed by the people of his time, Hussein ibn-Ali, the grandson of the prophet, Muhammad. The point he is making is that the beloved kills, while no crime or guilt; and the same is true about human love. Lovers are allowed to treat each other the way it would be prohibited had you treated any other human being that way; Not only they are allowed, but rather that this is part of love. It is funny that most adults understand sexual intercourse is not a fun thing, but you are allowed to do such things to each other in a relationship in proper manners, the same is true about lovers but not about physical aspects of life, rather our state of emotions, the state of our soul and so on ... As said, we are not going to reveal secrets of love here, and lovers are not each others' tyrants, but to the eyes of an outsider, who is not mature of love, that may as well appear so, just as to the folks who killed their prophets it appeared they got rid of a stupid a man.
Hollywood movies serve a purpose: getting the money from the pocket of the audience to the pocket of the producers, so nothing wrong happens in the movies. For example, if the Narcissus of the story refuses the love of the Echo, the Echo will get over it and find the love of his or her life else place, cause that's what people like to buy. Nobody wants to be told if you make a mistake, you are going to kill yourself later on in life. But regardless of how many Hollywood movies you watch, the reality remains the same, Narcissus and Echo are there to warn you of taking their path in life ...
I would like to suggest you, regardless of how unusual or hopeless or stupid a future relationship with the person you love might look like in the eyes of others, you have to go after it, if you felt love; there is no other escape from the suicide otherwise, and you can fake your death was a suicide by delaying it to a later date, but the suffering of your heart and soul won't cease ...
Maybe love is too ...
There are lots of secrets in the Koran too, and unlike what people claim, the Koran is not designed to turn everyone into a believer:
Allah hath (now) revealed the fairest of statements, a Scripture consistent, (wherein promises of reward are) paired (with threats of punishment), whereat doth creep the flesh of those who fear their Lord so that their flesh and their hearts soften to Allah's reminder. Such is Allah's guidance, wherewith He guideth whom He will. And him whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. [39:23]
One of the debated passages of the Koran is respecting:
Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! he hath proved a tyrant and a fool. [33:72]
It is often asked, what is the trust of the Lord that the mankind took it out of stupidity and tyranny, and perhaps it won't be a wrong opinion to think of the ability to love as this "trust." Throughout this article we only discussed one single example of how things could easily go wrong, we did not discuss all the dangers of love. So, it won't be wrong to call the creatures who pick up such dangerous thing fool.
If with all these warnings you still wish to know of love, here is Hafiz's suggestion:
عشقت رسد به فریاد ار خود به سان حافظ
قرآن ز بر بخوانی در چارده روایت
To they complain, love reacheth, if like Hafiz
Thou, recite (by heart) the Kuran with the fourteen traditions.
Following the path of life, it is always recommendable to be down on your knees in requests of the God, or to be more precise with you, love is the one thing designed to bring you on your knees in front of the Lord, regardless of how much ego you stupidly beard with yourself all your life ...
An intimate last word
Dear S____, I like you too much, and I’ve seen these turning of events far too many times for a man of my age, to there be any desire remained in me to live while undergoing all the pain of watching you with someone else, yet I know too much, by Allah’s leave, to leave you be transformed into a Narcissus, may the God lead us a way-out …
- The Telegraph. “Oliver Sacks, neurologist - obituary.” 30 Aug. 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11833684/Oliver-Sacks-neurologist-obituary.html
- Littlewood, Roland, and Simon Dein. "Did Christianity lead to schizophrenia? Psychosis, psychology and self reference." Transcultural psychiatry 50.3 (2013): 397-420.
- Freud, Sigmund. Zur Einführung des Narzißmus. Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1924.
- McCurdy, Jennette, et al. “Put Your Arms Around Someone.” Jennette McCurdy, 2012.
- Leems, Audrey. "What do narcissists actually think about their spouses?" Quora. 21 Apr. 2017, https://www.quora.com/What-do-narcissists-actually-think-about-their-spouses/answer/Audrey-Leems
- “Bertha Pappenheim.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertha_Pappenheim.
- Freud, Sigmund. "On Narcissism. I (1958-75) The standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Red Strachey J." (1914).
- “Emma Eckstein.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Eckstein.
- “Josef Breuer.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Breuer.
- “Sigmund Freud.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud.
- “Narcissus (Mythology).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology).
- “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder.
- “Siri Hustvedt.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_Hustvedt.
- Hustvedt, Siri. “A Biased Culture for Heroes.” Blog Open Thoughts 2012, Universitat Oberta De Catalunya, 2 July 2012, http://openthoughts.blogs.uoc.edu/2012/07/biased-culture-for-heroes.html.
- K. Michelle, et al. “Drake Would Love Me”. Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? (AWBAH) 2014.
- Elliott, Susan. "3/4 TFTD ~ More On Dancing Out of Control." Getting Past Your Breakup, 4 Mar. 2007, https://gettingpastyourbreakup.com/2007/03/34-tftd-dancing-out-of-control/.
- Jobs, Steve. "Commencement address." Presented at: Stanford University. 2005.
- Pickthall, Marmaduke. "The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (London: Everyman’s Library)." (1992).
- Hafiz, Divan-E. Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad. "e Shirazi, by Mohammad Ghazvini and Dr." Ghasem Ghani (in Persian).
- Hafiz, Divan-i-Hafiz. "translated by Henry Wiberforce-Clarke." (2001).
- Twenge, Jean M., and W. Keith Campbell. The narcissism epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement. Simon and Schuster, 2009.
- Myers, David G., et al. Social Psychology. McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
- National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 9 May 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/s.htm.
- National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 9 May 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/n.htm.
- Frances, Allen. “Opinion | An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump's Mental State.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 14 Feb. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/an-eminent-psychiatrist-demurs-on-trumps-mental-state.html.
A list of sources undermining bases for theories used to make sense of events, without elaborating on those theories. These works are omitted as primary source of reference because while there is a diversion of opinion or focus regarding the theories proposed by their authors and ones used in the body of this article, discussing them and our difference did not belong to this article.
- Jacobsen, Mary-Elaine. The gifted adult: A revolutionary guide for liberating everyday genius. Ballantine Books, 2000.
- Levine, Peter A., and Ann Frederick. Walking the tiger: Healing trauma: The innate capacity to transform overwhelming experiences. North Atlantic Books, 1997.
- Orenstein, Peggy. Girls & sex: Navigating the complicated new landscape. Oneworld Publications, 2016.
- Gray, John. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus And Children Are From Heaven. Random House, 2011.
- Sela, Maya. “Writers Festival Opens amid Plea for Tough and Honest Talk.” Haaretz.com, Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd, 3 May 2010, www.haaretz.com/1.5114585.
- Gates, Bill. "Harvard commencement speech." Harvard University, Boston, MA (2007).
- Burke, Martyn, Paul Freiberger, and Michael Swaine. Pirates of silicon valley. Warner Home Video, 2005.
- James, E. L. "Fifty Shades of Grey. 2011." London: Arrow (2012).
نراقی, ا. ب. م. (1378). معراج السعادة. معراج السعادة (Vol. 1). قم - ایران: موسسه انتشارات هجرت. Retrieved from https://www.noorlib.ir/View/fa/Book/BookView/Image/19833