The Savoir Vivre of narcissism

By Christos Zampounis

Narcissus, as we know, fell in love with himself. There are several versions of the myth, with the same tragic ending, his suicide. In psychology, narcissism is defined as an excessive preoccupation with the self, focusing primarily on our image, both as we desire it and how we want others to see us. In the age of social media, narcissism is rampant, with millions of vain young people posting smug photos on their accounts in a perpetual process of self-admiration. This tendency has resulted in the development of egocentrism, a condition that, as the etymology of the word proves, considers the ego to be the centre of the world. In this case, the user is removed from the objective state and reduced to subjective contemplation. This results in an inability to perceive and communicate with the Other, whoever he may be. In its extreme manifestations, users may be led to the so-called narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic neurosis, i.e. the inability to have a mature intimate relationship because of the love of the Self. In the constellation of appearance, the ancient Greek myth comes to sound the alarm about the illusion created by our image in our inner world. By falling in love with our idol we end up in a dead end and isolation. This long psychological introduction is translated into practice with the following rules, as I fish them out of the “Internet Savoir Vivre”:

1. The daily presentation of activities from morning to evening is tiring. As influencer Haley Bloomingale urges, three selfies a day is the maximum, unless it’s our birthday.

2. Aesthetics is the first casualty in the posts of those who don’t play fast and loose with photo editing, or simply don’t have high aesthetics.

3. The illusion is thriving on instagram, since filters and apps turn the unattractive into lanky, the short into tall, to give just two examples.  The dream will remain virtual, since in the event that the user attempts to appear in reality, the truth will shine through.

4. The dominant trend on instagram is that of idealization. For the posters it is a conscious act of self-gratification, for their followers, it usually equates to frustration and a sense of emptiness.

5. The example of the Kardashian family, who turned their lives into a reality TV show, and then a successful business, seems to be followed by most of the domestic “goose-steppers”. Let them keep in mind that unbearable self-referentiality may backfire, in the sense of losing followers when they don’t meet the high standards of the “royal” family of narcissism.

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