Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Empathy and Narcissism
Glad to know it's not just me.
The opening paragraph of Laura McLean-Ferris's essay in Mousse #55:
Two terms glint out at me over an endless horizon of essays, art exhibitions, political think pieces, cultural reviews, and books. The words are empathy (more prevalent) and narcissism. They are locked into an intermittent flashing spin, as that of a lighthouse lamp, because they are two words that function as a kind of alarm signal, manifestations of confusion in the current climate. From Pokémon Go to Trumpian speech, from filter bubbles to safe spaces, there is a sense that the shared public space of politics is more and more evacuated each day, and so we are left with an endless succession of overlapping realities that do not always care to meet each other, or do not even notice that they don’t. My reality! No, my reality! Strange new weather (but isn’t it always?). In a hospital waiting room recently, I saw a weather report on a hurricane, repeated on a loop. The weather reporter kept repeating that the hurricane was going to “sit and spin” for days, gathering energy.