Hence, with social media and the internet, ‘narcissistic entitlement’ is a condition that has now extended into virtually all classes and groups of people, given that social media and the internet increases virtually anyone’s ability to garner publicity and visibility not only locally, but also on a global scale, thus shifting both the scale and the scope of the ‘narcissistic entitlement’ that was once limited for the most part to a certain class of people and limited to a certain scale and scope. And with the increased volume and scale of narcissism in the world, it follows that there is now an increase in the number of people who suffer from the “inner void” stemming from narcissism and was mentioned at the end of the previous essay. What comes into the place of the increased and expanded inner void is essentially what is now a universal business model that is being employed by many entities and individuals around the world, namely, the fostering of both addiction and manipulation as a strategy and a set of tactics in order to exploit the inner void which has now extended into a wider population.
An interesting point which the late American political psychologist Jerrold Post made was that any ego or any sense of self is essentially a “wounded” ego or a “wounded” self. Post was initially a psychiatrist working for a DC hospital during the ‘Cold War’ period when he was snatched by the CIA to work full-time creating psychological profiles of politicians and world leaders. Because the ego and self as it stands is essentially a “wounded” one, the ideal condition, according to Sufi philosophy and thought, is the “annihilation” or “effacement” of the ego and self in order to make way for something totally new and healthy. As the Sufis have argued, as long as there is an ego or sense of self, there is “duality.” And when there is duality, many problems arise.
Moreover, there is “contingent” being on one hand and there is “necessary” being on the other hand. Thus, the contingent “self” is nothing without the necessary being or condition. While the contingent makes the necessary manifest, the necessary is in no need of making the contingent manifest. Nevertheless, the individual often and instinctively buoys and preserves the contingent and “wounded” ego and self in order to prevent its annihilation and effacement, and this is done generally in one of two ways, based on the findings and thoughts of the famous existentialist philosopher and psychologist Irvin Yalom. For one, there is the upkeep of a sense of grandiosity and exaggerated self-worth. Or, one can place their belief, faith, and hope in a leader or savior-type figure. For instance, why Donald Trump became the political figure that he is today is because other people derived their own sense of greatness and self-worth through Trump, which is quite a complex and astonishing social phenomenon. Hence, the focus of the “narcissistic entitlement” need not necessarily be on the leader himself or herself, but rather, the focus should be on the people who enable the leader’s sense of narcissistic entitlement by following the leader.
Thus, while the annihilation or effacement of a “wounded” ego or self is painful and torturous and can prompt a certain degree of grief and sadness, it nonetheless gives way to something entirely healthy and stable, and something which even the most powerful, famous, and wealthy people are desperately seeking. As Rumi wrote in a poem titled “Locked Out of Life”:
Again it happens in my sleep.
A core of wakefulness opens.
But I have ways of ignoring that.
You say, How long will you beg from others,
when there are things born of you
that emperors want?
Why waste time in meanness?
Who else can say what you say to me?
If I could repeat it,
people passing by would be enlightened and go free.
You are an ocean in my chest,
where everyone changes places,
believer-unbeliever, cynic-lover, dervish-king.
Last night, you came to my sleep asking, How are you?
Locked out of life, waiting, weeping.