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Narcissism - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Narcissism [Dec. 12th, 2008|02:16 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Is narcissism bad? It seems like we're all doing it: blogging, twittering, facebooking, etc. I enjoy some of it, mainly because I find many people fascinating. And a whole hell of a lot of them are funny. I like funny. I encourage people to talk about themselves. I love hearing stories and anecdotes, explanations for a particular point of view, philosophizing based on one's own history, and so on. Does my own narcissism create increased comfort levels for that of others?

If so, why is it when someone does something fun, but self-oriented on their LJ, I'm OK with that (and often enjoy it, love it, celebrate it, etc.) but I feel like an ass doing it in my own journal?

A lot of normal ego construction got horribly fucked up while I was growing up - mostly due to standard nerd social problems, but somewhat due to other factors I'm still figuring out, LO these many years later. I sometimes describe myself as having only ego extremes, but that's not completely honest. There's also ego-neutral, when I'm not thinking about myself at all (rare, but true!). Otherwise, I'm either brilliant or a wretch. More often the wretch, but I have that problem where, if I'm not brilliant at something, I suck. I don't manage normal or average very well. Which, rather than pushing me to succeed, makes it easier to give up.

What the hell was my point? I started off with a goal. Um. RIGHT!

Ask me a question! My metaphysical well is running dry and I'm feeling lonely. So... ask me a question and I'll do my best to answer.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-12 08:22 pm (UTC)
One definition of irony is "incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result" - so while it would be ironic to YOU, given that you expect them to respond with logic, that they seek and find patterns, it is not ironic to them.

Given that irony is a matter of perspective and that, post 9/11, the US population has had to deal with a real tragedy, one that can't easily be mocked or reduced to a headline (yet), there seems to me to be a longing for more emotional honesty.

Irony has the reputation of being part of the gang of ne'er-do-wells who count sarcasm, satire, and cruel humor. And while this group is truly necessary to maintain perspective amidst users who would trade on the public's need for sincerity by lying to their faces to advance their own causes, the harsher types of truth-speaking are never well received.

The grieving process is never complete, but I think the US is coming out the other side of larger events that make them feel as though caustic humor is insincere and anti-patriotic.
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[User Picture]From: foomf
2008-12-12 12:55 pm (UTC)
Wait, what do you mean by "narcissism" here?

Self-absorbtion? Positive self-esteem? Egomania? Narcissistic Personality Disorder? An uncontrollable desire to stare into reflecting pools?

I use public social networking to fill in for some of the in-person interactions I would rather be having (darned extraversion) although it's rather like fake blood to a vampire. (Yeah, reading silly vampire romance earlier today.)
My current "dry spell" perhaps came about because I'm spending less time thinking about my feelings, which is probably not good for me, but seems to have been necessary to some degree because of the year of enforced introspection.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-12 08:24 pm (UTC)
Self-absorption, in the main.

Am I having conversations with people in my LJ/twitter account or inviting them to think about me, hoping for praise?
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[User Picture]From: foomf
2008-12-12 10:58 pm (UTC)
Would it be a bad thing if you were?

Sometimes we all need some emotional reassurance from outside our usual channels.

(CityofHeroes geekery: /e praise )
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2008-12-12 01:13 pm (UTC)
btw: i think much facebook/twitter/lj/etc is not so much narcissism as just pleasant bullshitting. the narcissism is when you have expectations about how other people will react.

I have that problem where, if I'm not brilliant at something, I suck.
i have that about some stuff, and - at least for me - that kind of binary thinking is absolutely a form of perfectionism. i don't think of myself as an unreasonable perfectionist, except that i am and it takes the form of that exact construct.

a question: WHAT IS AN AWESOME THING YOU WANT TO DO IN YOUR LJ THAT YOU HAVEN'T BECAUSE YOU THINK IT'S NARCISSISTIC?
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-12 08:34 pm (UTC)
the narcissism is when you have expectations about how other people will react.

What about hopes for how other people will react? There's a part of me that's constantly yelling "TELL ME THAT YOU LIKE ME!" and I spend a lot of time muffling it.

WHAT IS AN AWESOME THING YOU WANT TO DO IN YOUR LJ THAT YOU HAVEN'T BECAUSE YOU THINK IT'S NARCISSISTIC?

Hmm. I can't think of any awesome things. But things I've resisted doing are those that essential ask "what do you think of me?" because I have difficulty perceiving myself and no real feeling for how I present myself to the world.
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2008-12-12 08:44 pm (UTC)
i think everyone has some of that. we're social animals -- praise from fellow pack members is kind of a hardwired need.

tell you what: go wild with it and if i, the arbiter of all things, think you're being too "ENOUGH ABOUT ME LETS TALK ABOUT YOU - WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ME?" i will let you know.

it's a really high bar, tho.

if you want to, you should totally do a "what do you think of me, anonymous comments enabled". if you're nervous about what people might say, have all the comments screened and only unscreen the ones you like. :-)
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[User Picture]From: metagnat
2008-12-12 02:21 pm (UTC)
Tell me a story about your life. Everytime we talk, I find out cool things about you, but I wish I knew you better.

Please, tell me a true story. (I know it's not really a question, but hey...)

-E
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 06:30 am (UTC)
You're a very sweet woman, you know that?

I wrote down a true story for you here: http://kjc007.livejournal.com/159212.html
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From: i_leonardo
2008-12-12 02:33 pm (UTC)
"narcissism" killed Narcissus, so - yeah: not a healthy thing. it implies a degree of self-absorption so extreme that nothing else can really penetrate it.

but keeping a journal that other people read ? that's the modern equivalent of hanging out at the pub after work and catching up with yer mates.

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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 06:31 am (UTC)
but keeping a journal that other people read ? that's the modern equivalent of hanging out at the pub after work and catching up with yer mates.

Yes, but... in a conversation, there's give and take. A public journal is more like a monologue.

I'm just trying to figure out how to communicate AND occasionally get some ego-boo without descending into asshole territory.
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[User Picture]From: gilana
2008-12-12 02:54 pm (UTC)
What's your favorite place you've traveled to so far? Where else would you like to go?
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 06:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for asking!

Hmm. First, let's make a list of places I've traveled because I can't keep track of all of them in my head at the same time:

All over the US (I should make a separate list of states)
London, England
Paris, France
Singapore
Tokyo, Japan
Rome, Italy
Montreal, Canada
Prague, The Czech Republic
Seville, Spain
Ireland (all over, including Dublin)

I really enjoyed everywhere we've traveled so far, but if forced to choose, I'd say Rome. Having studied Latin and ancient Italian history as well as the influences of Greece and Roman Empire on Western History and on our society in particular, being IN Rome and surrounded by ruins and history and fantastic food was just... amazing. I mean, you'd walk by a building, just a big square stone building, and notice that the thing was built before America was colonized. The weight of history was stunning.

I would like to go more places in Italy - in particular, Venice and Florence. But I'm also curious about Naples and I'd love to experience Pompeii.

I've hit many of my goal cities, but I'd still like to go to China (particularly Hong Kong), the south of France, Kyoto in Japan, Belgium, New Zealand, and Australia. Maybe Thailand and Vietnam.

I'm terrified of Africa, but I'd really like to see Botswana and Madagascar, plus maybe Morocco. Definitely would love to see the pyramids of Egypt. Also terrified but curious about India and South America.

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[User Picture]From: gilana
2008-12-14 03:10 pm (UTC)
Israel has that history thing going, too. So amazing, places that were built over a thousand years ago, and they're not only still standing, they're still in use!
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2008-12-12 03:04 pm (UTC)
Tell me about something you're proud of!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 07:04 am (UTC)
Huh. I'm not really proud of much...

I'm proud that I help my friend Tony sell comic books so he can continue to have the store and support his family.

I'm proud that I successfully edited two dissertations for two different clients - one over 700 pages, one over 900 - and both felt that I was worth the time and money.

I'm proud of my friends, who are in general really marvelous, talented, and interesting people.

I'm proud that I earned a Pushcart Award nomination for a poem of mine.

I think that's pretty much it.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2008-12-14 02:49 pm (UTC)
There aren't many people I know who can be proud of their jobs -- I'm certainly not. That's pretty cool.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2008-12-14 02:55 pm (UTC)
Also, you might consider adding that you were there for a friend who needed it, and sat by his hospital bed and talked gently with him when he was scared and confused and broken. Not a big major life-goals kind of thing, granted, but not one I'm likely to forget.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-15 04:07 am (UTC)
Well, sitting by the bedside of a friend and actually doing some good? That's more of an honor than anything else. I am deeply grateful that I could be of help.
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[User Picture]From: missionista
2008-12-12 06:49 pm (UTC)
Tell us about something that you did for the first time, and knew right then that it was "your thing". For example, you went skydiving and took to it like a bird, or you took a synchronized swimming class and the instructor asked you how long you'd been doing this.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 07:43 am (UTC)
Woof. Um. I'm not sure that's ever happened.

Maybe the two closest are writing poetry, which I started doing when I was 12 or 13, so it's too far back to remember whether there was a CLICK... and making beaded jewelry for the first time, which felt really good.

Also, writing email. I remember getting on elbows and being able to project myself with my words felt really natural. Learning about the personalities of others and having them learn about my personality before ever meeting me was really awesome after a lifetime of being judged as too fat, too ugly, too smart, etc. to be worth the time of other people. (I got online when I was 19, back in 1989, and got on elbows shortly after.)

I was in an acting exercise once in the early 1990s and the woman asked me who had taught me how to breathe. I just looked at her and she explained that my breathing was perfect for Speaking On Stage and Projecting. She was quite annoyed that I'd just sort of picked it up without having been taught.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 07:07 am (UTC)
The book sounds pretty awesome. I'll look for it.

Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 07:12 am (UTC)
Y'know, you might like Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman.

He untangles the positions of various founding fathers on the question of faith and traces the way various political groups have twisted their words and the meanings they originally intended.

For instance, I didn't know that, in the late 1700s, the Evangelical movement was a strong supporter of the separation of Church and State because they were a persecuted minority and thought that without it, they'd continue to be harassed and might even get outlawed.
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[User Picture]From: madbodger
2008-12-14 05:18 am (UTC)
Where did you learn to kiss like that?

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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-12-14 05:53 am (UTC)
Heh.

Do you remember the line from Revenge of the Nerds where the cheerleader asks the nerd how he learned to DO that and the nerd says, "Jocks only think about sports, nerds only think about sex."

I thought about kissing for LONG time before I got to kiss anybody...
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