Narcissism of ‘Smarts’

Psychological tendencies we dislike and critique, that irritate and get on our nerves, can over time get rooted in us, as much out of repulsion as attraction.

One becomes so troubled by what one observes in others, or in general social norms and trends of ‘thought’, that one is compelled to amplify its importance, its negative impact, and so one sets out to set things right.

One crafts various ‘charms’ to keep the unpleasant influences away, but this often just brings them closer in less obvious ways. Not infrequently, even when I think I’m speaking on my own behalf, I’m just foolishly trying to account for and make up for the lack of thinking I perceive, or rather project, in others. The narcissism implied in the attitude is obvious. This easily becomes occasion to make a fool of myself, in displays of seriousness that convey more than anything my own frustration and anger at not feeling I fit in or can relate. The other side of this coin is dissimilation, withdrawal, multifarious pity.

One acts as if the grief and fury funneled into a musing might propitiate the entire assemblage of confusions that seemed to have made it necessary, including one’s own beguilement at having anything more to do with it – as is often the case with ‘political tirades’ that are as vehement as they are self-consciously impotent.

Some part of ourselves rises up to have its voice heard, as it supposes to bring clarity to chaos, but often it is only a release of tension, a performance meant to reassert a prowess, superiority, or self-respect. It is a way to gain distance from a conflict by announcing it and putting oneself in conflict with it. An act of intellectual war.

Followed, often enough, by a bad hangover consisting in futility, regret, embarrassment, powerlessness—isolations inevitably accompanying a mind that ‘betrays too much’ of its own inner workings, often enough just to demonstrate to itself it still ‘works’.

The beautiful soul fails to recognize that he not only contributes to, but in a way produces from within himself, the intellectual disorder he perceives as bearing down on him from the outside world.

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