Collective Narcissism - Narcissism, Culture, and Society

Written by Sam Vaknin

In their book "Personality Disorders in Modern Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis state, as a matter of fact, that pathological narcissism wasrepparttar preserve of "the royal andrepparttar 132312 wealthy" and that it "seems to have gained prominence only inrepparttar 132313 late twentieth century". Narcissism, according to them, may be associated with "higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs ... Individuals in less advantaged nations .. are too busy trying (to survive) ... to be arrogant and grandiose".

They - like Lasch before them - attribute pathological narcissism to "a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification atrepparttar 132314 expense of community, namelyrepparttar 132315 United States." They assert thatrepparttar 132316 disorder is more prevalent among certain professions with "star power" or respect. "In an individualistic culture,repparttar 132317 narcissist is 'God's gift torepparttar 132318 world'. In a collectivist society,repparttar 132319 narcissist is 'God's gift torepparttar 132320 collective'".

Millon quotes Warren and Caponi's "The Role of Culture inrepparttar 132321 Development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders in America, Japan and Denmark":

"Individualistic narcissistic structures of self-regard (in individualistic societies) ... are rather self-contained and independent ... (In collectivist cultures) narcissistic configurations ofrepparttar 132322 we-self ... denote self-esteem derived from strong identification withrepparttar 132323 reputation and honor ofrepparttar 132324 family, groups, and others in hierarchical relationships."

Having lived inrepparttar 132325 last 20 years 12 countries in 4 continents - fromrepparttar 132326 impoverished torepparttar 132327 affluent, with individualistic and collectivist societies - I know that Millon and Davis are wrong. Theirs is, indeed,repparttar 132328 quintessential American point of view which lacks an intimate knowledge of other parts ofrepparttar 132329 world. Millon even wrongly claims thatrepparttar 132330 DSM's international equivalent,repparttar 132331 ICD, does not includerepparttar 132332 narcissistic personality disorder (it does).

Pathological narcissism is a ubiquitous phenomenon because every human being - regardless ofrepparttar 132333 nature of his society and culture - develops healthy narcissism early in life. Healthy narcissism is rendered pathological by abuse - and abuse, alas, is a universal human behavior. By "abuse" we mean any refusal to acknowledgerepparttar 132334 emerging boundaries ofrepparttar 132335 individual - smothering, doting, and excessive expectations - are as abusive as beating and incest.

There are malignant narcissists among subsistence farmers in Africa, nomads inrepparttar 132336 Sinai desert, day laborers in east Europe, and intellectuals and socialites in Manhattan. Malignant narcissism is all-pervasive and independent of culture and society.

It is true, though, thatrepparttar 132337 WAY pathological narcissism manifests and is experienced is dependent onrepparttar 132338 particulars of societies and cultures. In some cultures, it is encouraged, in others suppressed. In some societies it is channeled against minorities - in others it is tainted with paranoia. In collectivist societies, it may be projected ontorepparttar 132339 collective, in individualistic societies, it is an individual's trait.

Yet, can families, organizations, ethnic groups, churches, and even whole nations be safely described as "narcissistic" or "pathologically self-absorbed"? Wouldn't such generalizations be a trifle racist and more than a trifle wrong? The answer is: it depends.

Human collectives - states, firms, households, institutions, political parties, cliques, bands - acquire a life and a character all their own. The longerrepparttar 132340 association or affiliation ofrepparttar 132341 members,repparttar 132342 more cohesive and conformistrepparttar 132343 inner dynamics ofrepparttar 132344 group,repparttar 132345 more persecutory or numerous its enemies,repparttar 132346 more intensiverepparttar 132347 physical and emotional experiences ofrepparttar 132348 individuals it is comprised of,repparttar 132349 strongerrepparttar 132350 bonds of locale, language, and history -repparttar 132351 more rigorous might an assertion of a common pathology be.

Such an all-pervasive and extensive pathology manifests itself inrepparttar 132352 behavior of each and every member. It is a defining - though often implicit or underlying - mental structure. It has explanatory and predictive powers. It is recurrent and invariable - a pattern of conduct melded with distorted cognition and stunted emotions. And it is often vehemently denied.

The Emerging Water Wars - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Growing up in Israel inrepparttar 1960's, we were always urged to conserve precious water. Rainfall was rare and meager,repparttar 132310 sun scorching, our only sweet water lake under constant threat byrepparttar 132311 Syrians. Israelis were being shot at hauling water cisterns or irrigating their parched fields. Water was a matter of life and death - literally.

Drought often conspires with man-made disasters. Macedonia experienced its second worst dry spell duringrepparttar 132312 civil strife of last year. Benighted Afghanistan is having one now - replete with locusts. Rapid, unsustainable urbanization, desertification, exploding populations, and economic growth, especially of water-intensive industries, such as microprocessor fabs - all contribute torepparttar 132313 worst water crisisrepparttar 132314 world has ever known.

Governments reacted late, hesitantly, and haltingly. Water conservation, desalination, water rights exchanges, water pacts, private-public partnerships, and privatization of utilities (e.g., in Argentina andrepparttar 132315 UK) - may have been implemented too little, too late.

Rising incomes lead torepparttar 132316 exertion of political pressure onrepparttar 132317 authorities by civic movements and NGO's to improve water quality and availability. But canrepparttar 132318 authorities help? According torepparttar 132319 World Bank, close to $600 billion will be needed by 2010 just to augment existing reserves and to improve water grade levels.

The UNDP believes that halfrepparttar 132320 population in Africa will be subject to wrenching water shortages in 25 years. The environmental research institute, Worldwatch, quoted byrepparttar 132321 BBC, recommends food imports as a way to economize on water.

It takes 1000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain and agriculture consumes almost 70 percent ofrepparttar 132322 world's water - though only less than 30 percent in OECD countries. It takes more thanrepparttar 132323 entire throughput ofrepparttar 132324 Nile to growrepparttar 132325 grain imported annually by Middle Eastern and North African countries alone. Some precipitation-poor countries even grow cotton and rice, both insatiable crops. By 2020, saysrepparttar 132326 World Water Council, we will be short 17 percent ofrepparttar 132327 water that would be needed to feedrepparttar 132328 population.

The USA withdraws one fifth of its total resources annually - proportionately, one half of Belgium's drawdown. But according torepparttar 132329 OECD, Americans arerepparttar 132330 most profligate consumers of fresh water, more than doublerepparttar 132331 OECD's average inrepparttar 132332 1990's. Britain and Denmark have actually reduced their utilization by 20 percent between 1980 and 1996 - probably due to sharp and ominous drops in their water tables.

Stratfor, a strategic forecasting firm, reported on May 14 that Mexico andrepparttar 132333 USA are inrepparttar 132334 throes of a conflict over Mexico's "failure to live up to its water supply commitments under a 1944 treaty", which allocates water fromrepparttar 132335 Colorado, Rio Concho, and Rio Grande amongrepparttar 132336 two signatories.

Mexico seems to have accumulated a daunting debt of 1.5 million acre-feet overrepparttar 132337 last 8 years -repparttar 132338 result of a decade long drought. Each acre-foot is c. 1.2 million liters. Mexico's reservoirs are less than 25 percent full. Some ofrepparttar 132339 water, though, has been used to transform its borderland into a major producer of fresh vegetables forrepparttar 132340 American market - atrepparttar 132341 expense of Texas farmers.

Faced withrepparttar 132342 worst drought in more than a century in some states,repparttar 132343 Bush administration has announced on May 3 that it is considering sanctions, including, perhapsrepparttar 132344 suspension of water supplies fromrepparttar 132345 Colorado to Mexico. Texas lawmakers demanded to re-open NAFTA and amend it punitively.

Mexico is a typical case. Only 9 percent of its streams and rivers are fit for drinking. Its underground water is almost equally polluted. Its infrastructure is crumbling, leading to severe seepage of more than two fifths ofrepparttar 132346 water. Half ofrepparttar 132347 rest evaporates in open canals.

Moreover, water is under-priced, thus encouraging wasteful consumption, mainly by farmers. Stratfor cites an estimate published inrepparttar 132348 May 5 issue Fort Worth Star-Telegram - more than $60 billion will be needed overrepparttar 132349 next decade to refurbish Mexico's urban and rural networks.

William K. Reilly, former administrator ofrepparttar 132350 EPA, writing inrepparttar 132351 "ITT Industries Guidebook to Global Water Issues", mentionsrepparttar 132352 human cost of water scarcity: a million dead children a year, a billion people without access to treated water, almost double this number without sanitation.

More than 11,000 people died in a cholera epidemic induced by polluted water in Latin America inrepparttar 132353 1990's. Every year, according torepparttar 132354 World Bank,repparttar 132355 amount of water polluted equalsrepparttar 132356 quantity of water consumed. In many parts ofrepparttar 132357 world, notably in Africa, people walk for hours to obtain their contaminated daily water rations.

Water shortage hobbles industrial production in places as diverse as Sicily and Malaysia. The lower estuaries ofrepparttar 132358 Yellow River - China's most important - are now dry two thirds ofrepparttar 132359 year. The water table beneath China's fertile northern plane is falling by 1.5 meters a year.

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