Good morning readers.
I have been thinking a lot about our society, and where we are going wrong, of late. I can’t say if all of the world is like this, but certainly in some western countries it appears to be this way.
I recently listened to a podcast which I think was on TED (http://www.ted.com/), but can’t remember. It might have been on ABC Radio national (http://www.abc.net.au/radio/stations/RN/live). Whatever the case, it was a topic of Narcissism which I found quite illuminating.
Increasingly we seem to have a very narrow, self centred focus; we always put ourselves first before considering the impact of our actions on others.
In Australia at present, we have a government that is targeting welfare spending. They have particularly taken aim at the unemployed, youth, those on disabilities and single parents. While Australia has one of the lowest levels of welfare in the OECD, Australia’s elite want to cut that even further.
Increasingly in Australia, we have Governments, and the media, dividing the national; labelling unemployed or those on some sort of welfare assistance as bludgers. Anyone who is less fortunate than themselves are persecuted and targeted.
Why is this occurring?
In my opinion it all comes down to self focus, ignorance of others, and a desire to think that we are better than those around us. This “Narcissism” is the cause of much of our troubles in the west. We feel that we “deserve” more because we are better than those around us.
Do we deserve more than our neighbour, our friend, our family – or the guy down the street?
I would say a resounding NO? We have just become too self important.
Over the years I have had quite a few conversations around these lines. I have had arguments with people who felt that someone who answers a telephone in a company isn’t as valuable or important as someone who manages a department.
My statement has been that everyone is valuable in a company. If there is no-one to answer phone calls, sort the mail or greet visitors, then the company can’t function. Similarly, someone who cleans the toilet is also valuable as otherwise we would all get sick.
I think the above example is a common type of feeling in the community, and seems to indicate how we justify our feelings of superiority – it helps to justify our greed to ourselves. Unfortunately this narcissistic view of the world is doing nothing to support or strengthen our society.
A personal example.
I was recently invited to attend a wedding – this person is fairly important to me. We had been told about the wedding quite a few months ago – and we were very excited for them.Having organised time off work, started to book accommodation (it was in another state), we were then told (through someone else – not even personally) that our child couldn’t attend – which ultimately meant that we couldn’t attend!
Because we had already organised leave from work, spent money organising accommodation, planning everything, we were somewhat annoyed; particularly because they knew that our child couldn’t attend a long time ago, but didn’t tell us.
Having communicated how we felt with this person via email, all I got in response was a sob story about how difficult it was for them working demanding jobs, long hours, the cost travelling to that location and the small size of the venue. I indicated that it would have been nice to have been told directly, rather than through another person, and that it appeared that he was avoiding approaching me about it – perhaps for fear of criticism – which ultimately occurred.
So why am I raising this as an example of Narcissism?
This person knew a long time ago that we couldn’t bring our child, he knew long before he sent out the invitations, he knew this during our communications – but didn’t once indicate this to us until after we had organised leave off work, started planning and booking accommodation – and RSVP’d. Worse still, we didn’t even get told directly, but a message passed through someone else. How personal and thoughtful.
More importantly, not once did I get an apology, or an acknowledgement of their error – just excuses.
This is where we get to another aspect of narcissism. People who think they are more important, more valuable, are more self focused will rarely take responsibility for their actions or mistakes, but blame others, or blame circumstances – because it is all about them and their issues, never any consideration for the impact of their actions on others. Simply because their issues, their desires, their wants, are more important than anyone elses.
This is where our focus on ourselves – at any cost – becomes narcissistic, because we don’t care about anyone else but achieving our own desires and wishes. We are more important and deserving than other people.
OK, so in this example it is his wedding, he gets to choose who comes, where he goes, how big it is, how much food etc.
So why does it matter?
In the big scheme of things it doesn’t, but it demonstrates how we tend to focus on ourselves, our desires, and our wishes, with complete disregard to everyone else, because we feel more important; our needs are more important, and we feel we “deserve” it. It is this feeling that we deserve something, but someone else doesn’t that is a another component of narcissism.
My point is – EVERYONE is important, and everyone of us is deserving!
So perhaps I am being narcissistic because I feel that I deserve a truthful discussion, and responsibility. Perhaps I expect too much!
So why is our world becoming more war torn, our neighbours becoming more antagonistic, our streets more violent? What is the cause?
Ourselves and our self focus – our feeling of superiority, our egos –
We are all important, and valuable. We are all deserving, and it is about time we started to recognise that.
Will this ever happen?
Well that depends on our ability to look inside ourselves and see our ego for what it is. Our creation to justify how we feel and act!
At least that is what my ego says 😉
Bye for now!