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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Narcissism and the Middle East

Last week I posted comments regarding the Middle East. For this post, I am going to discuss narcissism and its implication for peace or lack of peace between men. Hopefully this additional information will provide more insight and help to more fully explain the psychological-social issues that exist today. In doing so, I refer and rely on Sigmund Freud’s concept of narcissism. First, the term relates to the famous Greek legend in which the beautiful lad Narcissus rejected the love of the nymph Echo. In doing so, Nemesis (goddess of revenge) was angered because Echo died of a broken heart. So Nemesis’s punishment was to have Narcissus fall in love with his own image, by looking into the water of this lake. Because of Narcissus self-admiration, he stared, at his reflection, for a while into the lake, and as a result fell into the lake and thus died.

Freud believed that the development of narcissism begins in early infancy (being unable to differentiate self from others) and continues its development throughout one’s life. And under optimal conditions, the individual is able to have productive relationships and love with others. This can be referred to as benign narcissism. Or, under extreme conditions a malignant orientation is developed and the person develops too much “I” and not enough “we” or “us” and has impaired interpersonal relationships. Freud postulated that we all retain our narcissism throughout life and it’s also important and necessary for our survival. With a positive development of narcissism, we are able to love others, work and live productively to further mankind. In other words, if we are too preoccupied with self (degree of narcissism too strong) this can limit and affect our interest, involvement and behavior in the outside world- other people. Scarcities or impaired relationships, disrespecting other cultures or others different from ourselves, economic discrepancies or injustices (lack of opportunity) having feelings of inadequacy and unreality are part of the profile of a narcissistic orientation. With unhealthy narcissism, the narcissist can be sensitive to criticism and his self-image can be attached and related to things, people, or ideas that society has determined as deviant.

The development of unhealthy narcissism can affect capacity for objective thought, prudent reasoning, ability to love, as well as engaging in socially acceptable behaviors. However, with insecurities, feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, and powerlessness along with other a distorted narcissistic view of self, a narcissist seeks unconsciously external mechanisms for strategies to become more secure in a frightful and dangerous world.

Many unhealthy narcissist’s unconsciously look for a powerful leader, cause or group in order to fuse, identify, or become part of in order to acquire the strength and safety that one is lacking. So with insecurities and low self-esteem there is an unconscious attempt to be compensated by something or someone outside of oneself. When a striving for submission or submissiveness occurs, this often results in the development of the individual entering into and either being a masochistic (victim) or exhibiting sadistic (persecutor) behavior patterns. And of course, a masochistic dependency can be rationalized, as looking for love and or being loyal. Or, the rationalization of being a sadist, is based on the belief that” I know what’s best for you.”

So in the Middle East, for example, a terrorist group becomes a focus for participation in order to protect oneself from being alone in the frightful world. And, individual narcissism becomes or is transformed into group narcissism. Participation in group narcissism can result in becoming part of a clan, nation, race, or religion. So membership in the group can be rationalized as being better, more just, more pious, more religious, and more pure, etc. than the other group. The other group could be (Christians, Jews, infidels or any others) and are perceived as being inferior, dangerous, dishonest, irresponsible, immoral, etc. and thus hate, killing and destruction is therefore justified. In other words, the fanatical religious group can speak or justify its behavior in the name of God, but unfortunately it sounds like that God is the God of evil or hate
In becoming part of the group, the member believes in their righteousness, their superiority of religion and their outlandish tactics. It’s necessary for them to have some form of achievement, such as sending rockets toward civilians, beheading, or even capturing an Israeli soldier. In other words, the survival of their group depends on some achievement along with their belief that the groups mandate is of greater importance than their even their own lives. So it’s not surprising that we see and read about suicide bombings.

It’s not unusual for the fanatical to have a distorted sense of reality along with a narcissistic impaired self-inflation coupled with the lack of objectivity and rational judgment. We could say there is a thinking disorder, employing defenses of denial, rationalization interjection, etc. With a narcissistic injury (like a defeat), it’s not uncommon to see this group disrespect a flag, place of worship or religious documents of the other.

Clearly, “love thy neighbor as thyself;” “or love of thine enemy” is missing, and not part of the psychology or moral teaching equation at present. With the rise of individual and group narcissism, social media, radio and TV biases, economic inequalities, moral deficiencies, values and attitudes, these components interfere with the development of man becoming a more complete “human” being. Remember we all inhabit one planet.


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