Thursday, November 17, 2005

ShrinkWrapped Takes On the Fall of the West

ShrinkWrapped is beginning a new series on Narcissism, Disintegration, Suicidality & the Fall of the West
and I'm looking forward to it!

Here is some of the tantalizing beginning:

I would contend that what we are seeing, especially in Europe, is the natural history of Narcissism playing out on a wide stage; further, what is happening there is a cautionary tale for the American experiment. This post is to be the first of a series examining the history of Narcissism, the ways in which the personal and the societal have interacted and continue to interact to worsen the problems that stem from the Narcissistic aggrandizement of the self, and offer some ideas on ways to lessen the impact of the societal illness so engendered.

Psychoanalysis is a retrospective science (or hermeneutic exercise, if you prefer) which seeks to explain a person's current difficulties by discovering the earlier templates or models which determine the person's relationship with himself, with others, and with the greater reality. Applying the same tools to an analysis of a society is, of necessity, going to work better in retrospect than as prediction, however, since the past is prologue, certain outcomes can be seen in nascent form by looking closely at the current reality.

For example, if a patient has a tendency to choose lovers who are inappropriate, the most likely outcome of a new relationship, barring any structural changes in their character, is a repetition of past failed relationships, but perhaps with some differences in the details. Likewise, a society that has failed to adequately identify and resolve its problems will also, barring major structural shifts, continue to repeat the same errors until it fails.

If you are so inclined, my own thoughts on Narcissism can be found in a three-part series here. And be sure to read what the blogsphere's resident psychoanalyst has to say!

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