Thursday, August 12, 2010

Epidemic, contd.

From Berardinelli's review of Eat, Pray, Love:
In many ways, the central philosophy of Eat Pray Love (the movie), which may or may not be governed by the guiding principles spelled out in Elizabeth Gilbert's book, fits well with today's "me-first" attitude. The story focuses on self-gratification, self-fulfillment, and self-discovery. It's all about "self," even though there are times when a little self-abnegation is needed to get to the finish line.
The cues for narcissism are all around us and becoming more insistent.

For just two examples: BeYounique, I am what I am.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul Mazer, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s: "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. [...] Man's desires must overshadow his needs."

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the guy who shows the path to enlightenment is named ............ Richard the Great :-)

Anonymous said...

Has The Century Of Self Part 1 (of 4) Happiness Machines been mentioned already?

Aman said...

@anonymous: The first anonymous comment about Paul Mazer is from The Century of Self. Another interesting point taken from the same Wikipedia article about it:

According to BBC publicity:
To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

Aman said...

Another interesting article from Guardian: How Freud got under our skin

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2002/mar/10/medicalscience.highereducation

Becky said...

That's an interesting view on Eat, Pray, Love; I haven't heard that one before! Thanks for sharing. I guess you won't be going to watch the movie? :)

Aman said...

This epidemic has to do with how advanced an economy is. The places where there are jobs available and most of the adults can make a living without depending on anyone else have the most severe epidemic. In places where there are state provided assistance for kids and elderly people, that also helps to pronounce this effect. Economically less developed countries have the benefit of a strong knit society. As a place start to develop economically, social ties start to fall apart. When it develops to a point where women also have jobs and earn a living, they start to advocate for their rights. Birth rates start to fall. I know about one white man who moved from U.S. to middle east because there he could have a stable relationship with a girl. The girl is from ex-Soviet country and at her place of work in middle east, men used to pinch her back. After she moved in with the U.S. man, she stopped working to save her back. Now she can't make a living in her home country. So she has to stay in middle east. And to save her back, she has to stay with the U.S. man without giving him trouble otherwise she will get in trouble. U.S. man can't have a stable relationship in U.S. So he is in middle east and having a stable relationship.

Anonymous said...

jesus harman, does anyone esacape the disease of narcissism? get over it man. theres no god. get over it

Anonymous said...

jesus harman. does anyone escape the disease of narcissism? theres no god. get over it. live life

Anonymous said...

i dont understand harman. if theres no god and ultimately no meaning to life (which is the logical end point) what does it all matter? let people love themselves. let people destroy themselves. at the end of the day what does it all matter????? Like you, actualism has left me completley groundless. Its the logical end point of mysticism and it is completely and utterly depressing....whats left?

tazmic said...

"Actualism is the logical end point of mysticism."

That's worth a discussion on its own. Perhaps we should have a conviction amnesty and try arguing against ourselves for a while. See what happens.

Harmanjit Singh said...

jesus harman, does anyone esacape the disease of narcissism? get over it man. theres no god. get over it

Just as your "jesus" is a figure of speech, my expression of wink to the "gods" (which "gods" was explicitly quoted to show that it was a figure of speech), is as well.

Take it easy bro.

And btw, narcissism is indeed an epidemic in a certain class of people (i will go as far as to say that seekers of supreme states are almost certainly narcissists).

Anonymous said...

"Actualism is the logical end point of mysticism."

By this I mean once the entire inward and subjective field of experience is exhausted through mysticism/spiritual practises there literally is nothing left to experience. The human mind and emotions are literally driven to exhaustion and cease to function. Only the surface now remains. The 'surface' being only the bare input of the senses.

I believe Actualism is simply the inevitable dielectical movement from complete inwardness of the imagination/feelings to the complete outwardness of material factual reality. Its a journey from faith to atheism; from Self to No Self; from God to no God.

Bernedette Roberts experience comes immediatley to mind here and is probably the most insightful and damning verdict on all spirituality (yes, even more so than Richards rants). I believe she is a person who has lived the religious experience to its complete conclusion. It was simply the realisation that every mystical/spiritual experience she had was simply ones own experience of ones own consciousness. She lived her experiences to the end destroying her soul in the process. She is literally left with nothing now.

Thats why all this is so damn depressing. Mysticism/Spirituality/Actualism ultimately leaves us empty handed. No God, no soul, no meaning,no bliss, no purpose, just annihilation. Its all just a big giant mind fuck folks.

Anonymous said...

I have to ask you Harman, how does one not go crazy or fall into a pit of nihilistic despair knowing that all our human endevours ultimatly come to nought?
Like you I cant accept the dissociation of mysticism nor the denial of actualism. (Flip sides of the same solipsistic coin?)

But whats left? Is it even POSSIBLE to live a productive, fulfilling life without a certain element of illusion, delusion and narcissism? To paraphrase Ernest Becker, what illusion do we choose now to offer into the life force...

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

But whats left? Is it even POSSIBLE to live a productive, fulfilling life without a certain element of illusion, delusion and narcissism? To paraphrase Ernest Becker, what illusion do we choose now to offer into the life force...

That is THE question, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

This take on non dual bernadette seems to support the thesis that actualism is the logical end point of mysticism, with surprisingly glaring clarity in places. ("The affective system, Roberts says, is the cause of all suffering. Out of it arises all fear, anxiety, and psychological suffering.")

But where do you get the impression she wasn't 'happy' about this? (I do remember her saying something like she wouldn't wish this condition on a dog, but she may have being talking about a transitional stage.)

Anonymous said...

I dont know, i just dont see the value in living knowing its for nothing. Trying to live a self less/non narcisstic life without the security of a transcendant benevolent god/material universe (choose your poison) sounds like a life not worth living if not impossible. Im all for heroics harman but it seems downright sado masochistic to me.

Maybe at the end of the day living life in a delusional PCE is the best that this transient universe has got to offer us....

Harmanjit Singh said...

Im all for heroics harman but it seems downright sado masochistic to me.

I know what you mean. But you know, as long as I live, you cannot give up. :-)

I am at least as much in despair as you are. So if I can get through the days, so can you.

Read these, for some genuine chuckles:

http://www.otoons.de/joke&game/mulla_nasrudin.htm

And if you want some thing a bit more childish, look here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnZSTkycovg

Anonymous said...

(the above comment was directed towards Harman)

@anonymous

I remember her stating in 'What is Self?' that her experince of being just the senses (she calls it Resurrection) was akin to living in ecstacy (actualism) but it seems THIS was just the transitional stage your talking about. Her permanent experience now is "GOD AWFUL" (her words)and shes now simply awaiting death...

So it seems to me that the Resurrection experience could be compared to permanent PCE/actualism but then theres a further stage she calls 'Ascension' which makes living in a PCE virtually impossible for her:

"Having come upon the final divine estate of things there can be no more acclimating to the world" YIKES!! No more returning to a PCE then...

Anonymous said...

"Having come upon the final divine estate of things there can be no more acclimating to the world"

Holy sh*t. I can't imagine what's possible after PCE. Although I would say PCE is beyond acclimatization. So I wonder what happened to her. (Maybe she discovered she can't really learn anything stuck in a PCE?)

Anonymous said...

something about this conversation makes me roar with laughter. i glimpsed something the other day. it seemed so inevitable but it slipped away before i could recall it like dreams do. something about af not going far enough. about it still clinging to the senses. i'd been contemplating the IQ of aliens and how they might see life if their IQs were 10 times ours, when i saw like a perfect equation, something freer even than af. but dam i wasn't concentrating :-)

Anonymous said...

(seekers of supreme states are almost certainly narcissists).

Funny statement from the endemic corners of the mind.