Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Narcissism II: Does it lead to the lack of new ideas?

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important."

Although narcissistic individuals are generally perceived as arrogant and overly dominant, by showing their self-confidence, authority and other characteristics they tend to be seen as effective leaders. So they tend to emerge as leaders (such as Hitler). It was found that although narcissistic leaders are perceived as effective they actually inhibit information exchange between group members and thereby negatively affects group performance.

Some have the false belief that big ideas have migrated to the marketplace. There is a vast difference between profit-making inventions and intellectually challenging thoughts. Marketplace ideas may change the way we live, but they rarely transform the way we think.

We live in the Age of Information. Courtesy of the Internet, we seem to have immediate access to anything that anyone could ever want to know. We are certainly the most informed generation in history. We prefer knowing to thinking because knowing has more immediate value. It keeps us in the loop, keeps us connected to our friends. Ideas are too airy, too impractical, too much work for too little reward

The post-idea world emerged along the social networking world. Even though there are sites and blogs dedicated to ideas the most popular sites on the Web, are basically information exchanges, designed to feed the insatiable information hunger, without the kind of information that tends to generates ideas.

We have become information narcissists, so uninterested in anything outside ourselves and our friendship circles or in any tidbit we cannot share with those friends that if a Marx or a Nietzsche were suddenly to appear, blasting his ideas, no one would pay the slightest attention, certainly not the general media, which have learned to service our narcissism.

Amira made me realize the need to expand previous post.


Charles Gramlich said...

Strange, I was just talking about William Shatner on my blog. :)

Mariana Soffer said...

Charles: Sorry I checked your blog but did not spot the connection. Do you mind explaining?

tipota said...

if we are the most informed, i wonder how much weight or value the information has. it also reminds me of ADD (attention deficit disorder). seems to mirror some symptoms of narcissism, and there are a great many people being diagnosed as such recently...

knowing has almost no value, aside from technical knowledge, such as how to mix colors on a palette for a painting. in the field of human experience life is not simply a linear route. if 'knowing' closes the doors of investigating, then i think even the meaning of the word "knowing" has shifted away from knowledge and towards information. in other words, as you say, knowing gets in the way of thinking, but not only does it get in the way of thinking, it seems to get in the way of experience in general.

the walking man said...

Oddly enough this present age of narcissistic thought connects very much with the 19th century philosophy of Utilitarianism. That to was information driven to the exclusion of almost all of our "good" emotion.

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Robyn said...

Well said. I enjoyed this post, thank you.

Harlequin said...

always love your posts.... you manage to hook into the zeitgeist of the moment;
on the narcissist... there is a phenomenon in higher education called the quarter life crisis, whereby students, reaching their 25th year of age, are thrown into deep crisis because they have not yet achieved the stardom that had been both expected and deserved.
i think narcissism is quite relevant for this quarter life crisis phenomenon.

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