During chapel on Monday, Oct. 19, pastor and Christian author Francis Chan called us “the most narcissistic generation in the history of the world.”
In an era of Kardashians and Instagram, it’s no wonder we’re living in the most narcissistic time in history. This is not to say that people have never been narcissistic before, but now, it’s easier than ever and more readily accepted.
Whether you like it or not, the facts agree with Chan.
In his book “The Culture of Narcissism,” Christopher Lasch argued that since World War II, Americans have a personality consistent with the definition of “pathological narcissism.” Oxford Dictionaries define narcissism as “excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.” We are not narcissistic according to this definition, but we do have need for constant external validation.
“New York Time Magazine” published an article on how the expression “you do you” has perfectly captured the extent of how narcissistic we’ve become. We used to tell each other that the world didn’t revolve around us, but now we think it does.
We say things like “you do you” to make it acceptable when we consider how things affect our lives only. We no longer see the need to care about others.
For example, let’s talk about selfies.
Selfies are a narcissistic art form; we use cameras to better capture ourselves. Nearly all smartphones now have front-facing cameras, designed simply to meet cultural demand.
“To this day, I’m still not big on taking selfies,” senior business management major Amber Hofland said. “They feel weird to me and they’re kind of embarrassing to do in public. You see people walking around taking selfies, and it almost seems dangerous—you really couldn’t wait until you weren’t walking through a crowd of people?”
A video of sorority girls recently went viral when they were caught taking selfies at a baseball game. The newscasters called out the girls, only to be later publicly shamed for doing so. These newscasters would have been heroes for criticizing these girls for their narcissistic behavior–if our society wasn’t so narcissistic itself.
When did it become a crime to call out someone’s narcissism?
Not only does our culture revolve around the individual, but we seemingly cannot handle being called out on it. We believe that you should be able to “do you” without any repercussions.
“There used to be a time when people told you straight-up if you were too into yourself or if your life only focused on you,” senior physics major Jordan Huckaby said. “Now you can’t tell anyone anything without them getting offended and making it a bigger deal than it needed to be.”
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter only perpetuate our narcissism. We spend countless amounts of time and energy creating a version of ourselves that we deem worthy of the public. We’ve taken the “social” out of social media, and we’ve made it all about how others need to view us.
It’s all about how many followers you have and how many likes you can rack up.
“I’ll admit that I get a little bummed when my picture doesn’t get as many likes,” senior communication studies major Jordan De Los Santos said. “It’s cool to know that people like your pictures as much as you do.”
It’s the age of the individual in America, but this nation’s best years were in a time when we thought about others, as seen in the civil rights movement.
During the civil rights movement, a group of people had to stand up in order to make progress. It was a communal fight. Now, everyone is so consumed with themselves that no one is even willing to compromise, cooperate and unite with each other anymore.
We’re not the only culprits, but we’re probably the worst offenders.
All that being said, social media isn’t the bad guy here. It can allow us to do pretty great things. It’s now easier than ever for people to be brought together for a cause, and it’s a great way to keep in touch with people when it used to be impossible.
Overall, it’s important to remember that this narcissistic mindset is a part of our culture. Knowing this, we can actively fight against this narcissism and focus on others.
Otherwise, you’ll waste your life trying to make it about you.