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Raw Concepts: Collective Narcissism

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In recent posts I’ve been discussing the connections between individual psychology and other forms of psychology that focus on collective behavior, like group psychology, cultural psychology, and evolutionary psychology. I want to do more posts in the future showing how understanding individual behavior can help clarify collective behavior.

Another example is collective narcissism, and I thought this table from the Wikipedia entry for collective narcissism captured it quite well:

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8 Responses to “Raw Concepts: Collective Narcissism”


  1. To wit:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

    The Farrans said the HOA had a reputation for hard-line stances. In one case, board member Don Hughes compared some residents’ refusal to install window-pane dividers to the “cat and mouse game Saddam Hussein played with the USA,” e-mails show. Ultimately, Hussein “paid the price,” he said, concluding that the residents should comply.


  2. Good stuff Mark


  3. You could say that the typical cult member is a narcissistic type who is too beaten down or passive to go it alone.

    How could you possibly buy into something like Scientology without thinking, very fervently, you have a Special Calling?


  4. Plenty of narcissists vastly overestimate their ability to influence people just as many greatly exaggerate their beauty. But none the less a few people are quite stunning, whether they are narcissists or not. I’d say the same about people who are naturally influential; despite the over-fawning that narcissists do there are a few individuals who are genuinely talented at influencing people and they can’t all be narcissists.


  5. Hey Ricky you should check out the book “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer if you’re getting into group dynamics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Believer

    Hoffer points out that people often join mass movements not because they believe in what the group seeks to accomplish but because they don’t have faith in themselves.

    From the wiki article:

    “Mass movements appeal to frustrated people who are dissatisfied with their current state, but are capable of a strong belief in the future. As well, mass movements appeal to people who want to escape a flawed self by creating an imaginary self and joining a collective whole.”


  6. there are a few individuals who are genuinely talented at influencing people and they can’t all be narcissists.

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that I believe anyone who is talented at influencing people must be a narcissist. I don’t believe that. I think among people who ARE talented at influencing others though, the ones who can’t keep the followers because they either keep burning bridges or lead them into disaster are the narcissists. It’s not just the charm alone so much as what they do with the charm once it works that defines the narcissist.


  7. Thanks for that Keith. I was about to put in an Amazon order for some books on cults, I will add that to the list. I was getting two books by Arthur Deikman about cults, I’ll add your recommendation too.


  8. I know these are just generalisations and I’m being pedantic as always but surely some of these statement aren’t necessarily narcisstic?

    “I am an extraordinary person” If Hilary Clinton said this it wouldn’t be narcisstic would it? If someone really was extraordinary and acknowledges it does that make them a narcissist?
    So many narcissists feign modesty (unconvincingly) anyway that I feel it may not be a very good predictor. Unless its the haughty, arrogant manner in which its said?

    “I like to be the centre of attention”

    Don’t most people like to be the centre of attention? Isn’t it more a need or obsession with attention that makes one a narcissist? (in part)

    “I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world”

    OK so your Buddhist Monk/ enlightened person doesn’t give a crap what the world thinks cause they’ve reached Nirvana but for your average person to want to amount to something in the eyes of the world (I submit) does that make them a narcissist (as opposed to someone who has a narcissistic component to their ego). Who DOESN’T want to amount to something in the eyes of the world?

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