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Friday, April 17, 2015

David Brooks, "When Cultures Shift": The Need to Climb Out of a Narcissistic Chasm

Hillary Clinton will be spending $2.5 billion to be elected president of the United States, and notwithstanding the fact that we know very little about this person, most voters think she will win. Do we know where she stands vis-a-vis Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran? Not a chance. Do we know Hillary's position regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Nada. Do we know whether she still has intimate relations with Bill, or is, or has been, involved with someone else? No way, Jose. After all, there was a reason why all of those thousands of emails were erased: What we don't know about Hillary can't hurt her, because, in the final analysis, it's all about her.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "When Cultures Shift," David Brooks describes an American "cultural shift" over the past 70 years to "the Big Me." Brooks's conclusion:

"The romantic culture of self-glorification has to be balanced with an older philosophic tradition, based on the realistic acknowledgment that we are all made of crooked timber and that we need help to cope with our own tendency to screw things up. That great tradition and body of wisdom was accidentally tossed aside in the late 1940s. It’s worth reviving and modernizing it."

Okay, but how do you go about dragging Narcissus away from his reflection? Even the ancient Greeks recognized that it's not so easy.

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