Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hello, My name is Joel and I'm a Narcissist....

Caption: I tried getting a picture of Narcissus looking at his reflection in the mirror but for some reason Google images was causing my browser to crash so I settled for a picture that I drew of myself (what'a better example of narcissism?)

This link describes a bit of a war amongst social scientists over exactly how egotistical Generation Y is. And the argument goes something like this: Generation Y (or the Millenials) "born after 1970 are more likely than previous generations to see themselves as “an important person,” to say they’re confident and rate their self-esteem higher. 'The research converges on this: that individualism is increasing, that it’s more acceptable in the culture to focus on oneself, and not to worry so much about social rules.'" The author of this quote (Jean M. Twenge) is also the author of a book Generation Me which as you guessed it, the book title is the name she gives this aforementioned generation full of egotistical, attention seeking, self-obsessed, individualist nitwits. A generation which the author of this article (who has become so egotistical that he has decided to refer to himself in the third person) proudly claims himself as not only a founding member, but also a customer. And disappointingly, Jean Twenge is not a bitter old lady looking to get back at those ragamuffins who keep prank calling her while she is sleeping at 11 PM on weekends. Rather, Jean Twenge as if to flaunt her own, individualistic self, is also a member of this "Me" generation.

But that's not to say, that her research is without controversy. Because quite possibly the people of the "Me" generation she was interviewing were just from an overly represented demographic amidst the generation. Basically Jean Twenge could only find middle-class and upper-middle-class white kids whose chief character attribute is a sense of entitlement at the University which she conducted her research. This amongst several other criticisms have kind of softened the blow of Twenge's accusations. The opposing social scientists argue that what Twenge is calling an egotistical generation is actually more indicative of interviewing and surveying kids that are at an egotistical age in life. In other words, kids are most prideful and arrogant and self-absorbed in their late teens and early twenties, right when Twenge was interviewing them. So this whole "the younger generation is so much worse today than my generation was when we were that young" rhetoric may actually be rather understood as "the reason I didn't think my generation was bad when I was younger was because we were the age which ego lived the loudest and now that we are older and humility has taken hold, we now frown upon the age group that reflects the egotism that we once were apart of, but never self-aware enough to recognize it."

My thoughts: I never have really bought the whole "the world is falling apart" more and more as each generation succeeds the previous kind of thought process. If that was the case, the ancient Romans must have been absolutely divine in their behavior but when compared to our generation, the reality is we look like angels compared to the behavior of the ancients.

But on the other hand, I think social networking has provided the tools to accentuate our narcissistic tendencies way more than any other generation previous has had an opportunity to do. I don't necessarily think we are worse than previous generations, but rather facebook and the like offer the opportunity for ego in it's fullest, most heinous form to devour the souls of self-obsessed young people everywhere served up on a buffet for the criticism of on-lookers of the older generations (the author of this article easily acknowledges that by taking the said position, he is playing into the criticism of his generation as being narcissistic).

The Worst Part is the author of the article scored masterfully on the quiz in terms of achieving a 19 which had my narcissism above even the average celebrity and recommended I get checked to see if I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.*

*The author could launch into a long rant about how he felt the quiz was poorly written and not effective in it only being an either/or style of quiz. He could also point out that the reality of the situation was that he filled out the quiz once but when he clicked submit Google Chrome crashed as to not give him the results and so he set upon taking the quiz again and when that happened he noticed that he was putting in different answers than he did the first time and in both cases he felt he was being equally honest in each and therefore the 19 that he received on the Narcissism quiz was more a reflection of bad timing and Google Chrome processing the wrong quiz results than it was an accurate reflection of his personality. But if he were to rant as so he fully acknowledges that he would be playing into the same case of narcissism to which he stands accused of and thus in an aim to rehabilitate himself from his crippling condition (to which he is just a victim of his times), he will refrain from such a self-justifying rant.


carandavis said...

According to my quiz results, I'm averagely narcissistic, which deflates my sense of superiority. *sigh*

John said...

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.