Monday, October 30, 2023

Oscar Wilde on Narcissism

Also Sprach Narcissthustra!

Surf around a little, and you'll find that the Internet is evenly divided on this quote. Half think Wilde is showing GREAT WISDOM - he just nailed it! - while the other half think "Geez, that Oscar guy seems a tad snobbish!" Both are colossal examples of oblivious point-missing.

Our cognizance of narcissism is skewed by our immense unacknowledged narcissism. A fish shows scant insight of the notion of "water", nor a bird of "flight". We're so completely, seamlessly narcissistic that we neither see it clearly nor recognize its universal prevalence. This all-encompassing skew is as invisible as the air we breathe.

With enduring effort and self-inquiry and asceticism one might knock oneself back to mere 99.9% narcissism, and catch a glint of it here and there. Some are unlucky enough to be born at that level, and, for them, the world will seem inexplicably "off".

At 99.5%, there’s a glimmer of clarity, bringing exasperation re: all those fucking narcissists.

And only after long travails of self-purification and karma cleansing and Hopi smudging and drum beating and Ayahuasca guzzling and whatever, might you reach a saintly 99.1% narcissism level where the realization lands that you, yourself, are just as bad. And you’d previously failed to register the truth (regarding both others and yourself) because you’re too locked inside your impervious self-centered bubble to even notice. Behold the arrival of a holy man! A human with a fragment of a clue about the abundantly obvious! A mere 99.1% narcissist!
We’re all far too narcissistic to recognize how extremely narcissistic everyone is.
Narcissism has blown up grotesquely since COVID, sorely aggravating a decades-long accelerating growth curve spurred by the fact that everyone's now an aristocrat (including the First World's "poor").

It's reached a point where virtually no one can see the obvious satirical intent behind Wilde's quote. The very few people with the proper take seem to be ancient whiskered geezers whose sensibilities were developed before the darkness fell.

Come to think of it, the first reaction (“great wisdom/nailed it”) shows this makes a dandy narcissist trap. It reminds me of the people who watched All in the Family back in the day and declared that Archie really "told it like it is". Oops!

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