Have We Reached Peak Narcissism?

A decade is a decent whack of time. Was the term narcissist being bandied around ten years ago? It certainly is nowadays. Every second person, and their fancy hybrid dog, seems to tick all the boxes to qualify for a clinical diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

And is it any wonder why?

The modern world is dominated by laissez-faire capitalism, and the human race is getting bigger and more competitive. An equal share of the pie is rapidly shrinking by a simple law of mathematics.

To get ahead, to get a larger slice, one must run harder and faster with utmost confidence and the ability to lie and obfuscate and step on others to jostle one’s self into a position of above average comfort. No self respecting member of the modern world would be content with average, so the story goes.

It’s all about me. It’s peak individualism. Me, me, me…

Thus the preponderance of the narcissist. And of every second person who is not a narcissist, most of them are classic enablers. They chide those few of us still left who possess a more collective vision of the how the world could be, as envious perpetrators of tall poppy syndrome.

Once, the most powerful person in the world was a narcissist. And some of his most hard-core supporters were the poor and downtrodden. His ability and audacity to bold face lie was somehow ignored or excused by millions of voters. Meanwhile, there was a consensus amongst astute observers that the number one leader of the so-called free world was not only a narcissist, but a malignant one. A malignancy verging on psychopathy.

He is gone now, or is he? Is he in the wings – waiting, plotting, conspiring with his enablers to return with vengeance? Or has his toxic influence polluted the zeitgeist sufficiently that the era of unfettered individualism is destined to burn for another decade or two?

In the west, individualism is somehow equated with freedom and democracy. Western commentators like to point out how the rest of the world, the nations where perhaps a more collective world view is valued and legislated, is a world of human rights abuses and deprivation of freedom run by evil dictators. This grandiose propaganda is ubiquitous in western media. And the fear it instils in the ordinary punter has us voting in right wing governments time and time again, despite the immense weight of evidence showing the greed and corruption that pervades the so called born-to-rule class of society.

In Australia, the popularised notion of ‘having a go’ has led to, among other injustices, a severe housing affordability issue. The insane current boom in real estate prices is dividing us further into a society of haves and have-nots. In the race to get ahead, the basic human need for shelter has become a pawn in the cruel game of private wealth creation. It seems that the initial hopes that the pandemic might cause a reset from rampant individualism to a more compassionate collectivism have vanished.

Will a bursting of the property bubble succeed where the pandemic failed? Will it be soon, or perhaps in a decade?

We watch and wait.