Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Self-Esteem, Narcissism, Cats and Dogs

There are people who accuse me of having low self-esteem. In fact I've taken a self-esteem test, and my score on it was moderate. What these people do not understand is that I base my self-esteem on other things than they do. I do not base it on status or on how I come across in public. I base it upon the quality of my poetry and the quality of my thought.

There is another claim, that I hear often, that some people have a false ego based on a sense of inadequacy. There is a big, big problem with that claim. The problem is that this would pathologize everything that has taken humanity from caveman to man on the moon. No human being is an adequate match for a tiger, nor should he strive to be an adequate match for a tiger. Man uses better technology to outsmart the tiger and in so doing advances the lot of mankind. Bill Gates is not an adequate match for an inner city gangster. Yet he is a billionaire and they are not.

From the Judeo-Christian standpoint, this is affirmed on many occasions. David was seen as a nothing by his family, but he became the king of Israel. In the New Testament, there is a statement about the stone that the builders rejected becoming the chief cornerstone. Certainly the believers in the concept of the narcissistic disorder would have seen that stone as having too big an ego for its place in society. However our whole social moral order is based upon that stone. In the same light, the American order is based upon the people who rejected the English monarchic order. Certainly they would have been regarded for that as sociopaths or as narcissists in contemporary thinking. But without them the people who believe such things would not have their audience.

Then there is the claim that some people think that they are special and that that is wrong. There is a problem with that thinking as well. The problem is that the concept of special – and the idea of its wrongness - presupposes the idea that in reality everyone is really all the same. That is wrong. People are not all the same. People are different from one another. People can mean anything from Solomon to Ted Bundy. The people who want everyone to be the same are creating a de facto tyranny. And de facto tyrannies have no business existing in nations claiming to be free.

In some recent interactions, I've used the analogy of dogs and cats. There are people who are like dogs and there are people who are like cats. Often the two do not get along, especially when they are part of the same family. People who are like dogs tend to attack the people who are like cats. A business family is not likely to be partial to a relative who wants to be a scientist or an artist. However I've also seen it done the other way around. I have known a liberal family in Melbourne whose son was very macho and wanted to join the military, and they were very insistent on keeping him from joining the military. This is similar in many occasions to families of engineers keeping their children from becoming writers. Both dogs and cats are capable of being jerks. They are just jerks in different ways.

Most of these ideas are wrong, and they need to be reworked. That something is widely accepted does not make it right, and there are many viable reasons to doubt such convictions, some of which I have stated above. Poisonous trends – and ideas – can, and should, be corrected. I have seen no effort out there to correct these particular trends and ideas. There should be. They are the bromide of the era, and they need to be seen for that bromide and properly refuted.


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