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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Narcisissm and its Compensations

Sure, everyone hates other peoples'' narcissism. That's the easy part. In my case, a feeling that I had reached a certain level that others hadn't alienated me from others in my own field. I wrote some books reviews that made me some enemies. It made it very hard for me to relate to weaker graduate students, and even some stronger ones.

Recognizing my narcissist strain, I actively try to compensate for it.

(1) Just recognizing it in yourself is the first step. True narcissists wouldn't be worried about being narcissistic. That's a problem for other people. A kind of meta-consciousness is very helpful, because then you won't be one of those people lacking self-awareness.

(2) I try to write for an audience, not for myself. A really clear and engaging style is my ideal. I read my own work from the perspective of another person, as much as possible.

(3) I find that having a poetic work of my own, one that my ego is invested in, is very difficult. It almost demands a certain narcissism. So I don't take myself too seriously as a poet. I can write a poem as good as the next person, or probably better, but I don't have a sense of my work as a poet. If I took myself seriously as a poet, I'd be twice the narcissist than the one you already know and hate.

(4) I don't take enormous satisfaction from my political convictions. I view those as pretty much a given, not something that I can take pride in. So I don't have the political narcissism of the typical Humanities Professor.

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