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“The Culture of Narcissism is the antithesis of the integral culture, the opposite of a world at peace.”Ken Wilber, BoomeritisI
s our society becoming more narcissistic? If so, is this taking us further away from any sort of integral “tipping point” that would lead to the dawning of a genuine integral age? Or is it possible that our current challenges around entitlement, narcissism, and moral indignation are exactly the sorts of challenges that will give rise to integral solutions in the first place?
All of us carry some streak of narcissism within us. Properly integrated, we experience this as confidence, self-assurance, and healthy pride. But when we are not conscious of our own narcissistic tendencies (or when we’ve convinced ourselves that we have evolved beyond narcissism altogether) it opens the door for delusions of of intellectual or moral superiority, entitlement, and spiritual bypassing.
This can be particularly true for integral communities like ours, where a sense of developmentally-earned “specialness” and knowing things that others don’t know can artificially inflate and calcify our egos. This is also true for fringe communities such as Qanon that convince its followers they have a secret decoder ring that gives them special insight behind the curtain of our political theater. And this can be especially challenging for many spiritual communities who mistake the separate self with the transcendent Self, and use their spiritual imaginings to perpetuate their own unconscious immortality projects.
In this episode of Witt & Wisdom we take a careful look at these narcissistic tendencies and how they express themselves in all four quadrants, and at every major stage of development. We hope that this discussion will help you identify whatever narcissistic traits you may be carrying with you, and to consciously wield your positive self-esteem without being seduced by our own self-importance.
Music by Justin Miles and Stuart Davis
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About Keith Witt
Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.