Discuss the psychoanalytic concept of narcissism with special reference to its applications in contemporary consumption
Narcissism is a psychoanalytic concept first introduced by Freud in an essay from 1914 which was dedicated to the topic, over the following century psychologists continued to study it and it has now become a central concept in contemporary psychoanalytic inquiry and is used extensively within the field of psychology to diagnose and explain a number of fundamental human mental conditions. The term is a reference to a Greek myth from which Freud drew inspiration; the myth revolves around the story of a handsome Greek adolescent Narcissus who, after rejecting the advances of the nymph Echo, falls in love with the image of himself reflected in the clear waters of the lake. He was unable to consummate his love and was so absorbed by his own image it lead him to spend hours and hours gazing into the water, eventually turning him into a flower which bears his name to this very day; the narcissus. This idea of ‘self-love’ lies at the very heart of narcissism and within this essay I will explore some of the central theories developed by leading psychologists, as well as the different ways in which people may carry out this form of love directed towards the ego, with special reference to types of narcissism that present themselves in the modern consumer.
Freud (1914) put forward that a certain level of narcissism is a natural part of the human psyche, this he referred to as primary narcissism described as the energy which drives each person’s survival instincts. According to Freud (1914), when a child is born and throughout the very early stages of its life it cannot distinguish between its own ego and the rest of the outside world, so in a sense it lacks a basic concept of self. Secondary narcissism occurs later in life once we have developed a sense of self, or ego, which happens through experiences and interactions...
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