Monday, May 28, 2012

Narcissus Didn't Love Himself: The Echo

If you remember Ovid's rendition of the Greek myth, there was someone else who cared about Narcissus:  Echo.  And, like Echo, I repeat myself.

Someone can place so much emphasis on maintaining an outward image -- a public persona of strength and confidence -- while the true self inside is hurting and goes neglected.  But rather than maintaining this image, it is far better to tend to the happiness of the true self, and to resume getting the help one needs.  The tragedy was that Narcissus did not realize this.  But it did not, and does not, have to be that way. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Narcissus Didn't Love Himself

Narcissism -- in both the clinical and colloquial sense -- is commonly considered malignant self-love.  But today it occurred to me that the Narcissus of Greek myth doesn't really love himself; he loves his reflection, which is merely a surface image.  The image has visual traits derived from the real Narcissus, but it is far from encapsulating the whole person. 

Narcissus focuses on maintaining the image -- just as some people maintain their outward persona -- while the needs of his true self go neglected.  Narcissus was therefore self-sacrificial; he sacrificed the life and fulfillment of the true self for a much lower priority, an image.