There is no denying that there has for quite some time been a rise in narcissism here in the US. While it’s great that we’re thinking about ourselves more, we are as it seems not really thinking about others at all.
The society we live in is creating a world full of people who want nothing more than to gain themselves and help no one which right now is especially toxic. I recently came across a post by The Guardian that is quite old but right now is something we all need to read through. This post titled ‘Me! Me! Me! Are we living through a narcissism epidemic?’ really touches on things not everyone thinks about.
While that post is talking about the world as a whole, narcissism here in America is a big issue that needs to be talked about. Back in 2009, a diagnostic was published that went over the epidemic of narcissism itself and it showed that there are negative things to be faced when it comes to this kind of a world. The more we focus on ourselves the less connected we become and the further behind we end up.
Dennis Shen wrote as follows on the topic for LSE US Centre:
Many of the extant crises in the United States can be traced to some extent to such cultural factors and entitled behavior. The racial and ideological tensions, and consequential partisanship in Washington—which supported the election of Donald J. Trump, have been exacerbated by the self-focused and competitive behavior of separate interest groups in society and politics, with not enough of the requisite empathy to reassess the world from one another’s vantage points. The financial crisis can be explained in part by the narcissistic behaviors of bankers and consumers alike—creating a “time-delay trap” of near-term greed over long-term logic. America’s trade deficit has been exacerbated by debt-financed “conspicuous consumption”—goods purchased to elevate one’s status in front of others, rather than out of necessity. And the crisis of confidence in government can be ascribed in part to the philosophical “hunkering down” and focus on self-sufficiency, rather than on mutual dependence.
Solutions to the dilemma?
It’s critical to recall that across time there’s no single cultural norm for a nation, but rather that the behaviors and customs of a society evolve and change drastically as the experiences and personalities of that nation alter. There are significant contrasts between the America of today and that of the immediate post-war era—whether we recall this or not. In this, not only will the America of tomorrow look different as future generations come, but we ourselves will continue to readapt and change.
Methods to address narcissism are not simple, however, even if society is malleable. During times of economic growth and stability, narcissism tends to grow. This is due to how success and prosperity impacts people, how that then filters to more accommodating parenting norms, and how we’re affected by urbanization and changes to smaller family sizes. Conversely, economic hardship and economic down-cycles tend to support group-minded, non-self-centered people, by enforcing modesty and hard work. In that, there may be both an inherent cyclical dynamic between business cycles and narcissism, and a structural dynamic between economic development and narcissism—with too much societal hubris only correctable in the end through a form of economic or national crisis.
While there is no easy way to fix this kind of thing and even making progress in reversing our overall narcissistic ways would take time it has caused a crisis across the world. The more aware we are of this the better and the more we work to help others the more of a difference we can make. Considering the pandemic we’re facing right now and the way people have reacted to it narcissism is alive and well. There are tons of people thinking only of themselves stock-piling things they will never be able to use all of leaving others to do without.
While this might sound a bit all over the place I hope you’ve got the point. Right now we should be coming together more than ever and yet here in the US we really aren’t. For more information on narcissism in the US please check out the video below.