I was recently torn to pieces by some of my enemies (in this case, my PC, gender feminist, political gay and Cultural Left enemies) for stating in a post that I was solipsistic but not excessively narcissistic and especially for admitting that I come first and everyone else comes second.
Although most would think that is a definition of narcissism, instead it is probably better seen as a definition of solipsism. And truth is, to be brutally honest, that everyone cares more about themselves than about anyone else.
There is even a story told by Buddhist monks that goes along those lines. The King’s wife keeps having these terrible dreams where it seems like she cares more about herself than anyone else in the whole world. This disturbs her greatly as she sees herself as an empath. The King advises her to go consult the Buddha to find the answer to her dilemma. She goes to see the Buddha and the Buddha says:
This is true.
We all care more about ourselves than about anyone else in the whole world.
And so the queen goes forth with a becalmed mind.
I tell this story to people sometimes and I often get objections from people, mostly women, who claim that they care more about others than about themselves. They give examples of heroism and whatnot when people risk their lives to save others.
I would argue that while this is noble altruism, it may not be as altruistic as we think. For instance, a lot of us act altruistic not only because we are empaths who care about others and want to help them, but we also do it for another, more selfish reason. I would argue that many of us who behave altruistically do so out of egotism because we expect to earn brownie points as a “good person” either to ourselves or to others. In other words, we do it boost our egos and think better of ourselves. And the hero who risks his life for another does it not only as self-sacrifice but also once again to show himself and the world what a brave, noble and heroic person he is.
The more you think about it, there are few very things that we do in life that do not have some sort of a selfish motive. And that’s ok!
Because I would argue that if there ever exists a person who truly cares more about others than about themselves, that person will soon be dead because such solipsism in humans is part and parcel of a basic survival mechanism. If we are to survive and thrive in a hostile world, we are mandated to put ourselves first if only out of self-preservation if for no other reason.
About narcissism, most psychologists agree that all humans are narcissistic in one way or another. Narcissism is a normal and healthy part of the human condition. When narcissism wanes, you start seeing serious Depression and often suicidal behavior. That’s what happens when you quit loving yourself.
Laypeople often go on and on about the need to love ourselves and indeed, this is important. These same people then turn around and rip narcissism as pathology. But honestly, what else is loving yourself if not narcissism? If you love yourself, you are narcissistic by default. Obviously.
The problem with narcissism and solipsism in humans is not that they exist in some of us and those are the bad people and those of us who have no narcissism or solipsism are the good people. Clearly both narcissism and solipsism are present in all humans.
The problem here, as with so many things, is the Rule of the Mean. Narcissism and solipsism are unhealthy when taken to the extreme.
Pathological narcissists truly do not care about you and have no interest in anything you say or do. They will ask you how you are doing out of politeness and then when you start to answer, 30 seconds into your answer they start looking around the room like they are bored. And they are bored. You are boring. They have no interest in you or your life despite the phony question they asked out of propriety. Pathological narcissists are hard to take.
They are severely damaged people and worst of all, most of them have no idea whatsoever that they are unhealthy and even if can get them to see their narcissism, they will tell you that they like it and that they “don’t want to get better.” Like so many folks on Axis 2, the narcissist gets off on being sick. After all, narcissism is pretty fun. We were all 6 years old once upon a time.
Solipsism too can be taken to the extreme. This is where the person is so wrapped up in themselves that they simply do not have any time or energy to worry about someone else. It can be hard to connect with a self-absorbed person. It is as if they have some sort of a wall or shell around themselves.
In order to truly connect with others, we need to dissolve our shell, walls and physical boundaries to get outside of our bodies and ourselves for once and in some way or another merge with others.
Like a snail out of its shell, we are a bit naked and vulnerable when we do that, so many prefer to lock themselves in. Some even construct elaborate castles and forts of defensive systems that are nearly Rube Goldbergian, with hidden entries and exits, moats, guard towers, mine fields and multiple defensive layers even outside the castle. And this is where we get into the Axis 2 folks or better known as the Personality Disorders.