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Narcissism, News, & Nature (Reading/Study Notes 6.8.18)

Resource: Narcissism; A Child in an Adult’s Body


Narcissists are people whose personalities seem to be stuck in a childlike state. They’re focus is primarily short-term, they tend to lack empathy, and they tend to pursue their own success at the expense of others.

It’s normal and healthy for someone to put their self-interest above others, but that’s different from pitting their self-interest against others.

Narcissists prefer forms of self-help that emphasize control over external factors rather than inner mindfulness, serenity, and self-honesty.

Narcissists can be very powerful and productive, but their success tends to be short-term and they tend to run companies into the ground when in a position of business leadership.

Narcissists usually have issues dealing with their own sense of shame. So they deal with that my putting others down or doing things that make them feel more powerful than others.

Some people are narcissistic because of things like childhood trauma, but some actually practice being more narcissistic because they believe it will help them achieve success.


“Contrary to an alarming popular belief, being a narcissist is not smart. Children, while they are often good at making new friends, are usually very bad at maintaining those friendships. They prioritize their short-term immediate desires over a lasting friendship. They would rather pointlessly criticize and shame their friends, project their own failings onto others, plot against others for their immediate benefit, and behave in unlikable ways.”

“Narcissism is a form of evil, in the best sense of that word. To be clear, we all hold our self-interest above the interests of others, but this is practical egoism. Egoism must come before altruism; for how are we to help our fellow man if we do not first prioritize our basic needs like food and water? The good person is the person who can satisfy his own self-interests while also satisfying the interests of the people around him. It is the evil person, the narcissist, who satisfies their own self-interests at the expense of others.”

“In most cases, it is a total myth that behaving in antisocial ways will increase your likelihood for success. Narcissism is a recipe for short-term achievement, and any success enjoyed by the narcissist is very likely to disappear once others learn of their evil ways.”

“Every narcissist I have personally met has had trouble maintaining a job. Success in business often means self-improvement. No matter how much a narcissist claims they want to improve themselves, they are usually too stupid to actually go about doing it properly. Their idea of self-improvement is never an inward journey, always outward. They will improve their appearance or they will associate themselves with certain kinds of people — either powerful people whom they can suck-up too, or people they can easily exploit.”

“Narcissists are children, and should be treated as such. Narcissists are unlikely to change their ways, so do not hire them and avoid them whenever possible. Pity them, but also shame them endlessly — such behavior should always be discouraged. Regardless of how mighty they try to appear, and how doubtful they may make you about yourself, they are simply children.”

Resource: Cable news


The news is not an impartial, objective, agenda-free, unbiased, completely detached account of what’s going on in the world. New stories are told and sold for various agendas. Some of those agendas are in alignment with your agendas. Some are not. The need to scrutinize is your responsibility. Before you let headlines dictate your mood, pause and see if the stories you’re consuming are enlightening you about things you can change and want to change. Whatever you do, don’t let your mind become a breeding ground for fear.


“What if the fear and malaise and anger isn’t merely being reported by cable news…What if it’s being caused by cable news? What if ubiquitous video accompanied by frightening and freaked out talking heads is actually, finally, changing our culture?”

“There’s always front page news because there’s always a front page.”

“The world is safer (per capita) than ever before in recorded history. And people are more frightened. The rise of the media matches the rise of our fear.”

“Cable news isn’t shy about stating their goals. The real question is: what’s our goal? Every time we hook ourselves up to a device that shocks us into a fear-based posture on a regular basis, we’re making a choice about the world and how we experience it.”

Resource: Nature and the Serious Business of Joy


We are part of nature and nature is part of us. We are no less natural than a tree, a brook, a stone, a bird, or a grain of sand. Nature is our home and it’s capable of triggering feelings within us that are closest to our true nature.

Joy is distinct from happiness in that is possesses a quality of depth that is both serious and spiritual.

Life in the city with all its distractions can make us forget or feel disconnect from many aspects of our native self that are readily invoked when in nature.

Appreciation for nature must be practiced.


“There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.”

“Referring to it as joy may not facilitate its immediate comprehension either, not least because joy is not a concept, nor indeed a word, that we are entirely comfortable with, in the present age. The idea seems out of step with a time whose characteristic notes are mordant and mocking, and whose preferred emotion is irony. Joy hints at an unrestrained enthusiasm which may be thought uncool… It reeks of the Romantic movement. Yet it is there. Being unfashionable has no effect on its existence… What it denotes is a happiness with an overtone of something more, which we might term an elevated or, indeed, a spiritual quality.”

“They are surely very old, these feelings. They are lodged deep in our tissues and emerge to surprise us. For we forget our origins; in our towns and cities, staring into our screens, we need constantly reminding that we have been operators of computers for a single generation and workers in neon-lit offices for three or four, but we were farmers for five hundred generations, and before that hunter-gatherers for perhaps fifty thousand or more, living with the natural world as part of it as we evolved, and the legacy cannot be done away with.”

“It is time for a different, formal defence of nature. We should offer up not just the notion of being sensible and responsible about it, which is sustainable development, nor the notion of its mammoth utilitarian and financial value, which is ecosystem services, but a third way, something different entirely: we should offer up what it means to our spirits; the love of it. We should offer up its joy.”

“we cannot say — alas that we cannot — that birdsong, like coral reefs, is worth 375 billion dollars a year in economic terms, but we can say, each of us, that at this moment and at this place it was worth everything to me. Shelley did so with his skylark, and Keats with his nightingale, and Thomas Hardy with the skylark of Shelley, and Edward Thomas with his unknown bird, and Philip Larkin with his song thrush in a chilly spring garden, but we need to remake, remake, remake, not just rely on the poems of the past, we need to do it ourselves — proclaim these worths through our own experiences in the coming century of destruction, and proclaim them loudly, as the reason why nature must not go down.”

“Joy has a component, if not of morality, then at least of seriousness. It signifies a happiness which is a serious business. And it seems to me the wholly appropriate name for the sudden passionate happiness which the natural world can occasionally trigger in us, which may well be the most serious business of all.”

“The natural world is not separate from us, it is part of us. It is as much a part of us as our capacity for language; we are bonded to it still, however hard it may be to perceive the union in the tumult of modern urban life. Yet the union can be found, the union of ourselves and nature, in the joy which nature can spark and fire in us.”

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