When does self-esteem cross over into narcissism?
Simon Blackburn: “A modest degree of self-esteem is what Milton called a ‘pious and just honouring of ourselves’. It is no more than a decent self-respect. It can actually stand in the way of vanity, which is an undue concern for the admiration of others.
“The road to narcissism, or a fixated self-love, goes via conceit: if the vain person is too concerned with how he stands in the eyes of others, the conceited person has learned to ignore the others and just thrive on his own good opinion of himself. Narcissism is the fatal extreme of this.”
Is technology making us more narcissistic?
“Probably not. It gives us more opportunities: I can interrupt your life and that of dozens of others with an Instagram of my breakfast, which I couldn’t have done 10 years ago. But I think of that as having more to do with vanity – and, indeed, lack of self-confidence – than with true narcissism. And there has always been the tendency to impose oneself on the scene.
“Byron scratched his name into the supreme temple at Sounion, and compared with that a selfie is quite harmless.”