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Post Reply Why do you think there's a rise in narcissism?
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 2/14/16
You've all seen it. Today people are obsessed with defining themselves outside or above the average person. Now I want to know, why do you think there is an increase in narcissism today?

Some of my ideas from a recent musing of it:

1. The increased size of the immediate social surroundings has facilitated a greater need to stand out.
Technology has interconnected our world to a much larger degree. I think it is not beyond reason to propose that this may have produced a disproportionate reaction to a subtle but encompassing feeling of being forgotten about or a losing sense individualism.

2. The predominance of low self-esteem in younger years has overly bred narcissism as a reaction.
That narcissism may be a reaction and adaption to once held beliefs. Healing from such low self-esteemed mindsets often involves inflating one’s sense of self-worth back to acceptable and healthy ranges, but perhaps this may result in over-inflation.

3. Narcissism is a product of reduced empathy.
Now, narcissism is usually marked by a lack of empathy towards others, but perhaps it is created by that marked absence. It is highly notable that humans are cooperative and incredibly sociable in behavior—often these traits are bred from play in the early ages. So the reduction of playtime in the critical early ages has possibly reduced human empathy and increased narcissism as a byproduct.

A lack of empathy may also be supported by the online community where it is often held up as an example of pseudo rationalism. Although I must note that the online community pedestals this behavior as a reactionary response to calls for increased sensitivity. Like in many areas the reaction can prove excessive—equal and opposite.

4. Narcissism is assisted by the increase of individually created echo chambers.
In this age of information, it may come as no surprise that a person is able to readily seek out answers. However, information is only provided by inquiry. Therefore, it is up to individuals to responsibly seek answers. When I say responsibly, I mean to say, not just the inquiring for the answers one would prefer. With mute buttons, content, and searches easily catered to one’s own preconceptions and ideas…well, perhaps we may have a developing issue of self-induced ignorance and superiority upon consistent reconfirmation.

5. Narcissism is being fueled by a waning collectivism.
There’s a body of evidence suggesting that the more economic prosperity enjoyed, the more people shift towards individualism.

6. Narcissism is a result of online posturing.
Social media has really taken off, and with it so too has grandiose displays. Without physical interaction in such environments, some of our restrained behaviors like brutishness, grandeur, and impulsivity rise up from our depths. Often what we project, even if online, is often what we become or begin to incorporate in our real image. This should really come as no surprise considering some of the methods we use to counteract self-image issues. Projection often results in a person reprogramming themselves to that image, with or without knowledge of doing so.

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Posted 2/14/16
How do you expect anyone to contribute to the thread when you pretty much covered all of the bases in the OP xD

Anyways, I'll do my best to respond. To start off, is there a problem with what you say in your second sentence? "defining themselves outside or above the average person". That just sounds human to me. People will always see themselves in a different light than others (however in many ways, I believe that we are given more opportunities than ever to see from other people's perspectives) and will often look for things in themselves that makes them unique.

This leads me to question if narcissism is actually increasing. Yes, I agree that people are becoming entrenched in ideologies which results in a "my collective is better than your collective attitude" (although this isn't anything new), but is that narcissism?
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 2/14/16

sundin13 wrote:

How do you expect anyone to contribute to the thread when you pretty much covered all of the bases in the OP xD

Anyways, I'll do my best to respond. To start off, is there a problem with what you say in your second sentence? "defining themselves outside or above the average person". That just sounds human to me. People will always see themselves in a different light than others (however in many ways, I believe that we are given more opportunities than ever to see from other people's perspectives) and will often look for things in themselves that makes them unique.

This leads me to question if narcissism is actually increasing. Yes, I agree that people are becoming entrenched in ideologies which results in a "my collective is better than your collective attitude" (although this isn't anything new), but is that narcissism?


EHHHH, mah bad!

Often tests for narcissism try to gauge how much one defines themselves apart from other people--not just solely above. There's often an extremity to it, and our current society has gotten more entrenched in doing that. There's a reason people have taken to labels and identities so fondly nowadays--the word normal is becoming painted with disdain even.

And yes, there's enough studies to show there is an increase of narcissism particularly more so in the younger generations.

There's a greater push to be seen as 'different' and 'unique'. Having to conform with the 'average' gets scorn from them. It's insult to even ask or expect. Their uniqueness must be stamped upon everything and the system must bow to their needs of expressing it--even in the most mundane of matters.


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Posted 2/14/16
Internet so I guess it's answer #6
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 3/24/16
nah it's the same as always, the media just makes it easier to see
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Posted 2/14/16
I would guess that it has to do with people feeling impotent. They get to see hundreds of other people do anything they can do, and do it better, or worse fulfill ambitions and desires they were unable to meet. We also are heavily sarcastic and pessimistic, any real praise is drowned in layers of aloofness. I'd like to point out depression is also on the rise, and I think these two things probably root from the same issue.
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Posted 2/14/16
I'll throw in Photoshop.
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 2/14/16

Sogno- wrote:

nah it's the same as always, the media just makes it easier to see

One could only dream. Unfortunately, it has been noted through assessments such as the NPI. For example: Egos Inflating Over Time: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory by Jean M. Twenge, Sara Konrath, Joshua D. Foster, W. Keith Campbell and Brad J. Bushman.

Also: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-narcissism-epidemic/200905/is-there-epidemic-narcissism-today

Josh Foster (of the University of South Alabama) and I are releasing a study today showing that narcissistic traits are increasing even faster than we previously thought. From 2002 to 2007, college students' scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) rose twice as fast as we'd found in an earlier study that covered changes between 1982 and 2006. (The NPI measures narcissistic traits among the normal population, not necessarily rising to the level of a clinical diagnosis).



Benzecry wrote:

I would guess that it has to do with people feeling impotent. They get to see hundreds of other people do anything they can do, and do it better, or worse fulfill ambitions and desires they were unable to meet. We also are heavily sarcastic and pessimistic, any real praise is drowned in layers of aloofness. I'd like to point out depression is also on the rise, and I think these two things probably root from the same issue.


Yes, psychologists have pointed towards the obsession with 'things', aka growing materialism for a portion of the depression increases. Materialism is typically linked with both anxiety and depression. I wouldn't doubt there exists many places where such issues are intertwined--likely in the declining collectivism.



Instead of chastising narcissistic behavior--more and more do I see it encouraged.
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 2/14/16
I think it is simply our ability to be noticed, drastically things have changed over the years. Give a child a smart phone, and their identity can become something more; out of the ordinary you can say. Does this not stand to reason that it is not the people themselves who have become this way, it is the lifestyle that was forced onto us that has made the change. If people didn't have a means to promote themselves, how could they ever become so narcissistic.

If you are the only one to notice how good you are, what is the meaning behind it? Sure we can walk around in our own surrondings and become aware of people so we can eventually make a decision on how we want to force our views onto them, but wouldn't that be too much trouble? Wouldn't it be easier to sit on your throne and be given the power to let your words be followed without even moving your feet.

I think it is simply because our way of life has become dull and predictable, all the more reason to become a voice for your own knowledge and righteous behavior. If people have too much of a good thing they will be quick to use their new found power, because they know the world accepts all forms of freedom these days. It is our leniency that has become our greatest mistake.

Great minds think alike, but give anyone the power to be heard, and they won't hesitate, because the world is much more forgiving, something we overlook.
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Posted 2/14/16
I think other people's narcissism is more accessible and not increasing in general.
And I am assuming religions based on being micromanaged by gods is all about this.
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Posted 2/14/16
I prefer the term, "Realism". Narcissism implies that I'm not actually smarter, funnier, sexier, and more special than everyone else.

More seriously though, I blame this primarily on modern parenting. When everyone raises their children as special snowflakes who are capable of doing absolutely anything and given everything they want, is it really such a shocker that some start having an inflated opinion of themselves?

I'm not saying we should go back to 40's-era parenting, but there has to be a healthier balance between that and the overly-lenient, hyper-sensitive parenting you often see today.
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Posted 2/14/16 , edited 2/14/16

PrinceJudar wrote:


4. Narcissism is assisted by the increase of individually created echo chambers.
In this age of information, it may come as no surprise that a person is able to readily seek out answers. However, information is only provided by inquiry. Therefore, it is up to individuals to responsibly seek answers. When I say responsibly, I mean to say, not just the inquiring for the answers one would prefer. With mute buttons, content, and searches easily catered to one’s own preconceptions and ideas…well, perhaps we may have a developing issue of self-induced ignorance and superiority upon consistent reconfirmation.

[b


Most of this is really good but I reject the idea mute buttons somehow create an echo chambers. Echo chambers tend to be created much more naturally than that. Take a platform like 4chan which for as much as it likes to present itself as this filter less place with were everyone expresses there views its the very definition of an echo chamber. People are incredibly willing to feed into each others delusions and it creates a giant web of self pity. Most places that have a block button tend to be sites by nature are not built for a sustained and useful debate anyway. Twitter for example is a platform largely meant to keep people up on "you" as a person not for arguments.
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Posted 2/15/16

iriomote wrote:


Good one. Experts in the field have mentioned the change in parenting and teaching style as a possible culprit.


megahobbit wrote:

Most of this is really good but I reject the idea mute buttons somehow create an echo chambers. Echo chambers tend to be created much more naturally than that. Take a platform like 4chan which for as much as it likes to present itself as this filter less place with were everyone expresses there views its the very definition of an echo chamber. People are incredibly willing to feed into each others delusions and it creates a giant web of self pity. Most places that have a block button tend to be sites by nature are not built for a sustained and useful debate anyway. Twitter for example is a platform largely meant to keep people up on "you" as a person not for arguments.


I certainly agree. Mute buttons are just a small fragment of a more encompassing problem, and no, they aren't necessary to create echo chambers. Mute options and others similar are merely components to the fact that the online experience is increasingly a user customized one. Now, I'm not a Twitter user, and frankly I find it abhorrent for any meaningful conversation...However, regardless of sites not being meant for such matters--views and opinions are expressed anyway. Memes, images, jokes, print screens--if anything the mob mentality is even worse because it is not a platform it can be reasonably contested. On both sides of the fence. Often, these platforms are all people choose to use as well.

Again, going back to the responsibility of the user because that's all it comes down to. It is up to users not to search only for what legitimizes their positions and preconceptions. Not only that, but to challenge themselves, continuously, with opposing arguments. To delete comments because someone is being incessantly rude and not because they are of an differing opinion one finds unacceptable or unappreciated. People have gotten quick to slamming the metaphysical doors on people they don't agree with online--either by insulting, muting, deleting--or simply choosing not to view it at all.

People seem to enjoy a reconfirmation of their opinions more than the learning experience that comes with being wrong. We have people now that increasingly demonstrate an unwarranted confidence in their beliefs and opinions.

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Posted 2/15/16 , edited 2/15/16
It's hard not to be narcissistic when you see how stupid a lot of people are.

Ironically, stupid people also share this sentiment as they, themselves, think that much of what they say, think, and do is above the speech, thoughts, and actions of others.

So, I think it's mostly because of the people who are never wrong: we've finally hit a point where intelligence is a lot more desirable than physicality, so the world of today is based around people who want to feel smart, as it is now the status-quo to put a lot of stock in one's intellect through various means which includes reconfirmation of their own opinions and ideologies, as the OP said, to put their own opinion above those who have conflicting opinions.

And, I also pretty much agree with all the points in OP, especially 3, 4, and 6.
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Posted 2/15/16
I have been trying to figure this out for a long time.

I believe it is a combination of a lot of the items you have listed.

As someone who has worked on communications and radio/marketing media I lean a lot towards #6.

I also see #2 being a big factory. I personally know people who grew up as "ugly ducklings" and now their poop in fact does not stink if you ask them.

Going back to #6 though, I will say in my case my online persona and my real life ones actually do differ greatly. I like to think I am a humble person, however. But, when I feel I need to vocalize something I do... online. But, most of the time in real life I keep my mouth shut as to not ruffle feathers or stick my foot in my mouth. Which kind of goes back to #2. I've always had low self-esteem. So thankfully I do not consider myself a narcissist, but i could see that developing if i grew/grow into a better lifestyle to be honest.
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