Is Narcissism Our National Passion?

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page contemplates whether "mirror kissing" has become a hallmark of American life.

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Donald Trump (Getty Images)

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page contemplates whether "mirror kissing" has become a hallmark of American life.

Psychological experts are engaged in a heated debate over a curiously underappreciated issue of our times: Should "narcissistic personality disorder" continue to viewed as a mental illness? Or should we concede, in my view, that mirror-kissing personalities have become not only the norm but a national passion? ...

Narcissism is generally defined as an exaggerated sense of one's own wonderfulness, a self-love so intense that, even when alone, the narcissist can barely resist the urge to hold his or her own hand. Narcissists constantly seek attention, treasure material wealth, worship good looks and put up with the rest of us only as long as we feed their appetite for praise and appreciation.

Yes, in today's world of cutthroat business, hardball politics, YouTube fame and speed-dating, some narcissistic traits -- like self-confidence, indifference to critics, narrow-focused vision -- can bring big benefits. The inventive narcissist only needs to remember at least one rule of thumb: Playing an obnoxious egotistical jerk on TV can be entertaining. Trump knows. But when you forget how to stop playing one when you get home, you may need to seek help.

Read Clarence Page's entire column at the Chicago Tribune.

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