Quotation by Richard Sennett

As a character disorder, narcissism is the very opposite of strong self-love. Self-absorption does not produce gratification, it produces injury to the self; erasing the line between self and other means that nothing new, nothing "other," ever enters the self; it is devoured and transformed until one thinks one can see oneself in the other—and then it becomes meaningless. This is why the clinical profile of narcissism is not of a state of activity, but of a state of being. There are erased the demarcations, limits, and forms of time as well as relationship. The narcissist is not hungry for experiences, he is hungry for Experience. Looking for an expression or reflection of himself in Experience, he devalues each particular interaction or scene, because it is never enough to encompass who he is. The myth of Narcissus neatly captures this: one drowns in the self—it is an entropic state.
Richard Sennett (b. 1943), U.S. social historian. "The Actor Deprived of His Art," The Fall of the Public Man, Cambridge University Press (1977).
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