Some people have done some interesting studies lately on the subject of why we have become so darn focused upon ourselves. In fact, Dr. Drew, the TV doctor has done a Narcissistic Personality Inventory and theorizes the rise of narcissism in the past 50 or so years.
Here is what he said in Rolling Stone on January 24, 2008.
“I believe something has shifted,” Pinsky says. “Frankly, something substantial happened when we developed antibiotics and hormonal contraceptives. Before 1950, almost half of American families could expect a child to die. Way more women could expect to die during childbirth. Living past fifty was sort of extraordinary. Now death and dying don’t really exist to us. We don’t need to deal with it. And then with birth control, sexuality became unhinged from a biological reality. Throughout human history, sex carried with it heavy consequences. It could kill you. Suddenly we were unhinged from that, and I think our culture has been rattling ever since. In 500 years, people will say the biological circumstances of human life changed profoundly, and it took them 150 years to figure it out. They’ll say everyone became narcissistic, obsessed with instant pleasure, they stopped taking care of their children, and all hell broke loose.” A meditative pause. “Listen, in the days of Freud, narcissism was a footnote in psychological journals. Now it’s the standard personality of our culture. Nothing but grandiose narcissistic thinking everywhere!”To be simplistic as the media/blog/ news world demands, it seems we have a convergence of human selfishness and self-centeredness with the advancement of medicine along with the ability to share all of our thoughts through the technological advancement of the Internet and web 2.0 (of course we can add Reality TV to the mix).
As we know Time named all of us as the Person of the Year in 2006 and good (and not so good) articles and books have been written on the subject and many have decried web 2.0 for a few years.. So, I know there has been lots of talk about it, but I have apparently hit my wall (2 days ago).
A friend had asked me to sign up for twitter a while back. I did and promptly forgot about it. Then a bunch of other friends signed up and my wife read to me some of their twitter postings. It hit me. This has to be the most narcissistic thing I have seen on the internet as of yet.
I understand how this technology can be useful- for families and businesses. However, I do not need to know what someone is doing every moment of the day.
So, I need your help. What are the most narcissistic technological advancements of the previous few years? Here is a list (in order) that I have compiled so far. However, I am a Luddite and may be missing a lot.
2. Facebook status updates*
4. Facebook applications*
5. Personal Blogs*
6. gmail status updates*
7. Self Promotion on YouTube
8. personal podcasts
9. googling myself (or something like that)
10. self personality inventories online*
I am not judging these, but thinking about how bad this is going to be by time my kids are older. I am also thinking about the church's and parent's role in teaching our families how to navigate this new narcissism.
*I have been implicated in these