I was going to originally write about the narcissistic attitude of many heterosexual males that any heterosexual female must somehow be dressing or acting in certain ways in order to attract or repel attention.
The problem is much deeper than that.
It’s endemic in our society. It’s not just men who seem to think that if a woman wears a particular style of clothing, or a particular kind of makeup, or acts in a particular fashion, then she MUST somehow be desiring the attention of a man (usually considered to be desiring the attention of “any” man). Women have that attitude too. Hell, every form of gender identity has some form of “disapproval” of certain choices that they blame on low self-esteem and a desire for attention.
America (and by extension Americans) have so focused on the idea of independence that we have developed the idea that each of us is the center of the Universe. I’m not saying that other countries or nationalities don’t have the same norm, but we here in the USA seem to have developed it into an art form.
Both ego-centrism and narcissism have their roots in the idea that we each are the leading role in our own life movies, and everyone and everything else are disposable and interchangeable cardboard cut-outs that can be manipulated and moved around by our own will, and for our own amusement.
The only real difference between the two is that self-approval is required for the narcissist. They must always be able to consider themselves to be “the best,” and anyone who does not agree with that concept must automatically be an enemy, as is anyone who makes them feel that they are not “special little dew-drops.” The egotist, on the other hand, doesn’t need to approve or disapprove of themselves, because they know at the base that they are supposedly superior in every way to anyone else in the world. The narcissist may feel self-doubt, the egotist rarely does.
This is the same kind of thinking that leads many people to the illusion that they have some sort of grandiose Destiny to be fulfilled. The idea that we are each just some speck of dust in an infinite Universe scares people who think like this. So, in retaliation to the Universe for making them feel insignificant, they essentially think they can do anything or be anything, because in the “grand scheme of things” it makes no real difference.
The problem is, self-interest only goes so far before you start to realize that in order to maintain the you-centered focus of your life you actually have to do some variants of good out of sheer self-interest. Let’s look at it the way that Christianity does, as a shepherd and his flock. A shepherd makes his money from the wool that the sheep grow, and the meat of the sheep. But, if he slaughtered his entire flock, he would only have so much money and no replacement for it. So, instead, out of self-interest he works to make sure that the flock is fed well, any illnesses are dealt with swiftly and completely, and that the flock is protected from predation.
It’s the fact that some of those people who have allowed themselves to become that egocentric start to forget about the long-term. Say you make your money from steel or petroleum. Getting the product out of the earth in the quickest possible way does wonders in the short term for giving someone lots of money. The problem is, in the process, you are killing off the consumers of your product.
Give me someone with “enlightened self-interest” more than someone who claims to be “truly altruistic.” The person who is self-interested, but also aware of the long-term affects of their choices is going to be far more reliable and less controlling than the person who wants to tell you how to live and what to do simply because they think it is the “best thing for you.”
Sadly, the egotist, if they have been shown how insignificant they are in the ‘big picture,’ seem to think that if we are so insignificant, then any and all actions and choices are good – because they won’t matter in the end.