King Saul and David (1 Samuel 18)
In the previous post I introduced the concept of narcissism. Perhaps a working definition is needed prior to proceeding:
extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
The Narcissism of our Present Age
The core conceit of current narcissism is this:
The evidence-less presumption that I and my like-minded comrades stand at the absolute pinnacle of human virtue. Therefore, anyone who deviates from my worldview, regardless of if they are my contemporaries or lived centuries earlier, can be motivated only by a combination of inexcusable stupidity and evil.
Although the above description is useful in a general sense, there remains a significant gap between it and a compelling explanation of its application to our particular time and place. I finally ran across a passage, from a piece discussing the current situation in France (by Christopher Caldwell) that excellently fills this need (emphasis added):
Upwardly mobile urbanites, observes Guilluy, call Paris “the land of possibilities,” the “ideapolis.” One is reminded of Richard Florida and other extollers of the “Creative Class.” The good fortune of Creative Class members appears (to them) to have nothing to do with any kind of capitalist struggle. Never have conditions been more favorable for deluding a class of fortunate people into thinking that they owe their privilege to being nicer, or smarter, or more honest, than everyone else. Why would they think otherwise? They never meet anyone who disagrees with them. The immigrants with whom the creatives share the city are dazzlingly different, exotic, even frightening, but on the central question of our time—whether the global economic system is working or failing—they see eye to eye. “Our Immigrants, Our Strength,” was the title of a New York Times op-ed signed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo after September’s terrorist bomb blasts in New York. This estrangement is why electoral results around the world last year—from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump—proved so difficult to anticipate. Those outside the city gates in la France périphérique are invisible, their wishes incomprehensible. It’s as if they don’t exist. But they do.
Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that these “fortunate people” are deluded to a degree that is nothing short of scandalous. That they occupy the pinnacle of power in our nations can only be explained by a monumental failure of the temporal Christian church, parenthood, government, education and media, among others. This is what civilizational failure looks like. In the following post I will address the central delusion that has resulted in this sorry situation.