The following article excerpts are a good summation of an interesting exploration of the life views and the perspectives of politicians. The article and the excerpts also highlight some of the social, cultural and political issues roiling the United States and world today.
As you read on, please reflect upon how the analysis, insight and critique of this article might be relevant to a life of practice, in whatever form your life practice takes.
"What exactly is this form of narcissism that is destroying—if it
hasn’t already destroyed—our families, friendships, workplace
atmosphere, and democratic republic?
The short form is this: What you believe, or claim to believe or say you believe—not what you do or how you act or what the results of your actions may
be—defines you as a person and makes you “good.” It is how your life
will be judged by others and by yourself.
In 19th-century France, the
gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin told us that “you are what you eat.” In 21st-century America, almost all of us seem to have concluded that “you
are what you say you are. You are what you proclaim your values to be,
irrespective of their consequences.” That is moral narcissism.
It is a narcissism that emanates from a supposed personal virtue augmented by a supposed intellectual clarity...."
"...This is a narcissism of political and social thought, a narcissism that
evolved as religion declined, a narcissism of ideas and attitudes, a
narcissism of “I know best,” of “I believe therefore I am.” It is our
identity tied up inextricably to our belief system in a way that brooks
no examination. It is a narcissism of group think that makes you assume
you are better than you are because you have the same received and conventional ideas as your peers, a mutual reward system..."
"...If your intentions are good, if they conform to the general received
values of your friends, family, and co-workers, what a person of your
class and social milieu is supposed to think, everything is
fine. You are that “good” person. You are ratified. You can do anything
you wish. It doesn’t matter in the slightest what the results of those ideas and beliefs are, or how society, the country, and
in some cases, the world suffers from them. It doesn’t matter that they
misfire completely, cause terror attacks, illness, death, riots in the
inner city, or national bankruptcy."
This seems to be a form of self-centeredness in a nutshell, and to be the opposite of a practice of presence, serving and intimacy.
Though the issues of narcissism have a long provenance, as I noted, the following updated analysis and spotlighting of the current cultural and political world is worth looking at if you have an interest in the subject:
apropos of the previous article, here is a recent news report: