Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Are WE Becoming More Narcissistic?

I missed this story when it first came out:
Amish man refuses ID photo, U.S. won't let him in

BUt I heard it discussed in more detail on Tuesday morning's edition of The Current (scroll down to Part 3).

One of the arguements made is that pictures lead us to think to highly of ourselves, to become more individualistica and less community-minded. And the show went on to suggest that the increasing availability of toys like camera phones and easy photo sharing increases that problem--the teens who admitted using camera phones to check their own hair/make-up in the absence of mirror sort of proved that point.

In the same way, it can be argued that the upswing (massive upswing) in blogs is a sign of us being narcissists--after all we think that people actually want to read that stuff we write, to hear about our families, to see pictures of our kids (and yes I know they are cute kids). THe danger of course is that we can become to centered on the individual and forget our community anture (all humans are communal beings).

IM(NS)HO, individualism is one of the greatest heresies, and greatest threats, facing Western culture today. SO I ask, are we becoming more narcissistic or simply more insular? ANd what is the antidote?


  1. I hear what you're saying Gord, but I'm still not convinced that blogging is purely narcissistic. At times it can be, of course, but mostly (I find) it is a contemporary form of talking over the fence with neighbours who happen to live in another country.

    I think a big part of church decline is that people value their personal time so much more today than they did, say, 50 years ago. Most people just don't want to be at a social event or meeting every night of the week. We want to be at home where we feel relaxed and comfortable.

    Blogs help us to find that happy medium between being out there and social all the time and living like hermits.

    Besides, I like seeing pictures of people's kids and cats and dogs because I'm fond of the Cute.

  2. Honestly SUe, I think it is a bit of both (big fan of grays here--not so much of the black and white). ANd I am not entirely sure a little bit of narcissism is always bad.

    The insularity is the bigger threat, that and the belief that we are only to look out for ourselves and our families.