Monday, November 29, 2010


A news item in the NY Times ( reported that “Narcissistic personality disorder” is going to be deleted from the upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due out in 2013.

NPD isn’t the first entity to get bumped from the DSM. In 1973, homosexuality was deleted after years of debate. It finally happened when enough gay psychiatrists came out, causing their straight colleagues to observe, “Gee, I know those people and they seem fine. So maybe they’re normal.”

Psychiatric diagnoses rise and fall from a show of hands: it's no more scientific than that.

If you wonder why NPD, of all behaviors, no longer looks abnormal, take a look at Facebook, where hundreds of your “friends” can’t wait to tell you they bought a jar of Skippy this morning. Take a look at television, where people ache so much for their fifteen minutes of attention that they wait in line to make fools or felons of themselves. Notice that we gaze into one another's eyes less than at our cell phone screen’s display of messages, messages to US. 

Yup, narcissism’s getting relieved of its “disorder” burden because a significant number of psychiatrists have had the courage to admit that they, too, have become navel-gazers. Narcissism is now officially normal. What gets rehabilitated next, greed?


  1. Yes, greed is simply institutionalized in our government to keep an over-zealous bureaucrat from sending someone on Wall St. to needs neither diagnosis nor cure when our politicians are paid by industry not to police, and the rest of us are powerless to change them...

    But as I have watched Walkmans replaced by omnipresent ipods and phones, I launch my pitiful resistance against the narcissism of our culture by not joining Facebook and networking sites....but I fear the Reader Comments on New York Times site are a slippery slope...and equally kidding myself to think it is more sociable to make comments on other people's blogs rather than start my own....

    But isn't a world where everyone has a blog, all devoid of, or sparsely populated with, comments, proof positive everyone has narcissism?

    I wonder what Mark Twain would have to say about everyone in the internet age being a Great Writer, and no one listening? His unabridged autobiography is released this year, 100 years after his death, as that, he felt, was sufficient distance for his true feelings to be vented. How different from today, when everyone wants their every twitter to be shared...

    I cannot wait to read it, because if we had to wait 100 years to hear it, it must have potency....

    I like this blog because Dr. Kane reminds of us timeless truths that will be easily as true 100 years from now as they were 1000 years ago. Human suffering has been changeless, and will ever exist, despite religions, medicines, and technology....

  2. I just LOVE how you wrote: "I launch my pitiful resistance against the narcissism of our culture by not joining Facebook and networking sites."

    I personally don't Facebook; "I phonebook" as Betty White would say: I do have a Twitter account, but I only use it to follow newsworthy items or organizations (charities) that I am interested in. I prefer to keep in touch with my friends by calling or writing them personally. Besides, I'm not so full of myself that I expect people to take time out of THEIR day to log on their computer/smartphone to see what I am up to.

    I liked Dr. Kane's comment about how we gaze onto the screen of our smartphones more than each other's eyes --- I actually broke up with my partner because he was always using his to update his status or send out tweets or whatever (apparently this was part of the reason his former wife left him) -- even while I was talking to him (and I'm not a big talker or anything). Ironically, that is how I broke up with him; he was busy tweeting/texting etc. and I sent him a text message: "This is the only way I can get you to pay attention to me. I don't want to date your BlackBerry anymore."

  3. Ha! We need a bumper sticker that says, "DON'T DATE BLACKBERRIES." I'm so forgetful these days that I carry a little check register in my pocket in which to write myself notes. I call it my "Whiteberry," which amuses my wi-fied friends not at all.

    Jeff Kane