Thursday, March 01, 2007
I wrote about self-esteem some time ago, specifically about a meta-study that showed there is no scientific basis for the belief that self-esteem is good for you. Now American research has found an epidemic of narcissism among college students. Curiously it is not just the misguided educational cult of promoting self-esteem that is blamed, but also social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube which 'permit self-promotion far beyond that allowed by traditional media'. This makes sense. Harmless and even benign as these sites may seem, they do encourage a me-me-me posture towards the world - as, I'm afraid, do blogs. All these devices make one aware of a much larger chorus of competing voices than the old networks of friends and families. It becomes necessary, therefore, to shout ever louder. I had previously been thrilled by these developments, but this gives me pause. Self-esteem is frequently highest among criminals and, as the latest report's lead author says: 'I'm concerned that we are heading to a society where people are going to treat each other badly, either on the street or in relationships.' It would be peculiarly irritating to be mugged by a YouTuber who felt exceptionally good about himself.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 11:42 am