"This shit ain't easy. It's work man, work." ~Caliban's Sister

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." ~Bishop Desmond Tutu

"That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not." ~James K. Feibleman

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flanner O Connor

“If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation.” ~Haruki Murakami, Town of Cats

"Even though a person might begin life as a prisoner of the natural endowments he was given and the circumstances under which he was raised, he cannot remain a 'victim' of his environment forever. Eventually, every person must come to terms with him or herself. To know oneself, to fairly judge one's strengths and weaknesses, and to attain true mastery over one's most basic instincts and inclinations are among life's greatest challenges.

"But ultimately, anyone's rise to a life of integrity and merit can only come as a result of a full self-awakening. A person must come to know himself as well as others without deceit or denial. He must honestly face and reckon with all aspects of his character. Only then can he freely take on the burden of disciplining himself for the sake of himself as well as the sake of others. It is the free choice to take up this burden or 'cross' that defines love. And it is the willingness and commitment of a person to carry this cross even to death that opens the door to a higher plane of existence." ~ Dr. George Simon

"Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying." ~Fran Lebowitz

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night." ~Charles M. Schultz

"It is the paradoxical truths of human existence that we know ourselves as separate only insofar as we live in connection with others, and that we experience relationship only insofar as we differentiate other from self." ~Dr. Carol Gilligan

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm---but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~T.S. Eliot

"When people are driving themselves crazy, they have neuroses or psychoses. When they drive other people crazy, they have personality disorders." ~Albert J. Bernstein

"More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." ~Woody Allen

"Even though it is of no use, you must keep on trying." ~Gore Vidal

Otto Kernberg, Severe Personality Disorders. Page 193: "People with narcissistic personalities tend to be inordinately envious of other people, to idealize some people, from whom they expect narcissistic supplies, and to depreciate and treat with contempt those from whom they do not expect anything (often their former idols). Their relations with others are frequently exploitative and parasitic. Beneath a surface that is often charming and engaging, one senses coldness and ruthlessness. They typically feel restless and bored when no new source feeds their self-regard. Because of their great need for tribute and adoration from others, they are often considered to be excessively dependent. But they are, in fact, unable to depend on anyone because of a deep underlying distrust and devaluation of others and an unconscious ‘spoiling’ of what they receive related to conflicts about unconscious envy.”

"The formulation of the commandment to love your neighbour is highly portentous: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself". The suggestion is, then, that a person should first learn to love himself, and then to love his neighbour no less. 

In the years after the Second World War an immense change in attitudes came about, with people being taught to love themselves. This was done scientifically. Physics was brought to bear, and chemistry and biology, and medicine with all its remarkable achievements in stomatology, cosmetology, and surgery. Psychology raced ahead with persuasive arguments. A multitude of ways were found to assist in the expression of self-love. Factories began producing, representatives started selling. This was a gold mine! Biochemistry devises creams and lotions, designers create sketches of new, even more comfortable trainers, chemists make new anti-allergenic materials, couturiers produce their latest fashion collections. The whole enormous industry seductively whispers, gradually raising its voice to a bellow, "Love yourself! Indulge yourself! Give yourself pleasure! You are worth it!" And how else can anyone express love of themselves? 

To go back to the beginning: has happened to the vertical? What has happened to the horizontal? Everything merges in a single focus, love of oneself. A whole civilisation has grown up which urges the individual on to a sterile, aimless love which leads nowhere. "Narcissism" is a term introduced by the world-famous doctor from Vienna, who was highly knowledgeable about the classical world, and here too we find the ancient Greeks were ahead of our own times. 

The mythical youth Narcissus was in love with himself, and to this day such infatuation is known as Narcissism. The wise in all ages and all nations have known of this deadly disease of love. 

Love is reduced to a solitary point, and all its variety and its nuances vanish: no verticals, no horizontals. There is no longer any creativity, or gratitude, or delight at the world. Even the instinct of love dissolves, the erotic love which urges people into embraces. Love of children, of parents, of friends is blunted. Dr Freud designated the early phase in a child's development "auto-eroticism", a primary emotional discovery of oneself and the surrounding world. As the child develops, this phase passes and the first promptings of the emotion of love directed beyond oneself appear. What happens to Narcissus can be seen as a pathological regression, not evolution but inversion. Are we here on the verge of a discovery? The optimistic notion of eternal progress, of movement in some generally forward direction, seems to have taken a knock. In these deliberations, however, we are concentrating on just one aspect, difficult to define but definitive of the very characteristic of being human, and associated with the ability to "deliver" love. But where is it to be directed? 

"Why, love yourself, my own dear reader!" Russia's great poet Alexander Pushkin exclaimed sarcastically. The sarcasm passed unnoticed, but the call was heard and understood only too literally. A new literary hero appeared. In the English-speaking world he was Byron's Childe Harold, in the Russian-speaking world Yevgeny Onegin. Both were among the cleverest people of their times, but unquestionably ideologists of egotism, and both had an unenviable fate. Alas, what a bunch of admirers they have spawned, who lack their undoubted merits. "You can be a thoroughly sensible person and think of beautiful fingernails," Pushkin claimed, but someone who thinks of nothing but beautiful fingernails cannot be a sensible human being. 

There is now a whole army of people of very varied nationalities, educational levels, professions, and ages. The assistant in the food shop and a great actress, the sportsman, the businessman and the plumber, the schoolboy and the old age pensioner each to the best of their ability and financial means tries to respond to the siren call: "Love thyself! You deserve the best! You're worth it!" ~Narcissism: the Deadly Disease of Love

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