Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dr. Sanity, Ego Stroking Madness

And the cult of self-esteem. Don't leave home or go to school without reading it.

Dr. Sannity: "For years now, pop psychology and the ego-stroking madness of the self-esteem gurus have mesmerized the culture at large with their theories about how exceptionally vulnerable children are to not feeling 'special'. . Like the do-gooders at the school John Miller's daughter goes to, they are preoccupied at how psychologically damaging it is for a child to accept that other children might actually possess superior skill, talent, or intelligence than they do. Protecting them from such awareness (i.e., from reality) is felt to be the greatest and most caring achievement that educators can do these days."

Is self-esteem over-rated? Can it truly be bestowed from outside oneself and one's struggle? Can it ever come from living in a false sense of reality (in love, in career and even in spiritual matters?), rather than be earned through our own long-term efforts in a world of all kinds of soft and hard knocks, i.e. reality?

Reality can often have very sharp teeth. Life can be tough and the sooner we get it, the better. Right? Well at least that's the way it used to be.

Here's another question to ponder: Is giving self-esteem to children---as if it can really be given---really an act of love in the long-term? Or is love supporting and encouraging our children and ourselves in our own journeys to do the best we can, let the chips fall where they may, and then move on from there with lessons learned ready to go forward with a little more maturity?

I believe we live in a society so steeped and overcome with narcissism and radical relative individualism that none of us are exempt from suffering from it. Unless and until we begin to live on principles.

I believe for instance that narcissism has turned our concepts of family and marriage on its ear with potentially devastating effects: The Institution of Marriage is no longer considered established for the Greater Good of Society as well as the family. Rather the Institution of Marriage is being redefined as the Narcissistic Divine Right of the individual, ANY INDIVIDUAL, who ultimately demands to define it any way he or she chooses, for as long, and for whatever reason they choose.

And we are supposed to go along with this anything goes approach to Life, Marriage and raising children with one criteria in mind: Don't let anybody's feelings get hurt. It might damage one's self-esteem. If you have hurt feelings it must be because you didn't have good enough individual boundaries. If we can change enough laws, allow enough freedom to the individual, then we won't have anymore hurt feelings and everyone will live with a glorious sense of self-esteem. Right?

Where this narcissistic train loaded with "high self-esteem" passengers demanding their individual rights---without thoughts of responsibility or even a twinge of hurt feelings---is ultimately taking us is surely a monumental train wreck waiting to happen and possibly the disintegration of society. It will surely happen unless we individuals start thinking about the Greater Good of Society as well as ourselves. What can we give as individuals as well as take, instead of obsessing about our individual hurt feelings and raising self-esteem above all else in a faux world of magical thinking?