There is a very serious issue going on in the world these days. While it might not be something we notice in all possible ways, aggression and narcissism, in general, are some of the greatest issues we face as a nation.
Culture is changing and not necessarily in a good way. We all think that our lives and literally even our wants matter more than that of others. Sure, we should be putting ourselves first but we shouldn’t be putting ourselves above everyone else. No one is better than anyone else.
Now, while this is a problem globally, it is especially an issue here in the US where I have seen the effects firsthand. In this narcissistic society things like compassion, respect, selflessness, and tolerance are going to cease to exist someday. Even now they are fleeting ideas. We are our own worst enemies and through this kind of dividence, we will ruin this planet in more ways than we already are.
Have you noticed how quick to anger this world is in modern times? It’s as if we think lashing out and turning violent is the answer to everything. If things don’t change this world is going to become a much worse place than it already is.
When you really break down what a narcissist is and what a narcissist does you will begin to see how spot on it is when describing society for the most part here in the US. We all want recognition for something and many of us are more than willing to do illegal things just because we think we are above the law. I cannot count the number of times I’ve noticed things like this. Just because you are in a position of power doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.
In the past decade, this rise in narcissistic personality traits has really taken a serious toll on us. Back in 2009, a book was published titled “The Narcissism Epidemic” and I recently came across this, it put everything into perspective. This book shows that there has been a gradual but huge shift in our cultural norm towards self-adoration. By becoming so self-absorbed we are destroying American society. We are encouraging a divided nation and causing tension in places tension has no sense being.
Did you know that in recent times twice as many college students are being proven to have narcissistic tendencies in recent times when compared to those from the 1980s? Narcissism can be found in all rankings of society. Politicians, celebrities, middle-class, and even those who are considered poor. Sure, we won’t admit it but we are very self-oriented, some more than others and this is where the problem lies.
Newsweek calls this cultural change a ‘multi-generational change’ which it is and they break its origin down as follows:
In the aftermath of the Second World War, a rare consensus within America emerged, the result of existential crises in the form of the World War and looming Cold War. In an era when the United States’ hegemony was unchallenged in the West, a type of groupthink existed within the nation’s borders—the “Greatest Generation” emphasized conformity and discouraged individuality. This was supported by earlier shared struggles and the decline of class differences during the Great Depression and war era.
This post-war era of togetherness saw unprecedented economic stability and trust in the state as the steward of the people. The nation backed global reciprocity, exemplified during the founding of the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and Marshall Plan.
Authors Twenge and Campbell trace the earliest roots in narcissism back to the 1950s. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to grow up in a post-war era of greater consumer plenitude and less existential hardship. As the Baby Boomers came of age in the 1960s and 70s, the grey society of the post-war consensus had begun to vanish in favor of a more individualistic focus on self-expression and self-identity.
The problem is that this change in the narrative furthered henceforth. It became pronounced enough by the 1970s that Tom Wolfe in 1976 titled this “ The ‘Me’ Decade ”.
The cohorts that were raised in the 70s and 80s—Generations X and Y—continued this trend: to the extent that one study comparing teenagers found that while only 12 percent of those aged 14-16 in the early 1950s agreed with the statement “ I am an important person ”, 77 percent of boys and more than 80 percent of girls of the same cohort by 1989 agreed with it.
This evolution has accelerated since the 1990s and 2000s, with the rise of the internet and social media influencing the social milieu of the Millennials and Generation Z.
What do you think is wrong with modern society here in the US and elsewhere? Are we too narcissistic for our own good? Has wanting to be special and wanting to be noticed really changes us that much?
What can be done to fix this and where do we go next? This is a crisis whether we are willing to address it or not and it is causing so many of our other problems. Resolve this one and we make a step towards something amazing.