Narcissism is a very interesting phenomenon in contemporary society. Present day cynicism and its associated narcissism are observed by analyzing dynamics in the community of interest. In this case, the two phenomena are examined by examining dynamics in the American and European society. Take, for example, the available social and economic data in the society. You can then weigh the discrepancies between the two forms of data (social and economic data).
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Consider each of the phenomena’s stands on various issues in the society. The various issues include, among others, capitalism, conditions at work, crime, and the provision of healthcare services. They are some of the factors that inform social interactions in today’s communities. Upon keen scrutiny, one will find that what we thought were two peas in a pod are actually dissimilar entities. According to such scholars as Peter Baldwin, Europe is much more diverse than how it is conceived in popular belief.
It is important to note that the European and American societies are significantly different. The differences between the two societies are evident in spite of the many similarities between them. For example, the European social model significantly differs from the American model, especially on government intervention.
In Europe, government interventions cushion the populace from the harsh effects of unchecked capitalism. It is a fact beyond doubt that capitalism has benefited contemporary economy significantly. However, the same is detrimental to the society if it remains unchecked, hence the need for government intervention. When it comes to such matters as life spending on education or overall enthusiasm for the free market, American and European societies appear to read from the same page.
Americans, as a people, are not as cynical as the Chinese or the Europeans. The differences between the two sets of community are evident in spite of the fact that the citizens on both ends may be facing similar economic and social problems. For example, consider the degree of a somewhat overt religious faith among Americans. It should be appreciated that many Europeans are religious in one way or the other. However, those same Europeans are likely to engage in acts of contempt towards their minister of the gospel.
It appears that the Europeans do not revere their religious leaders like the Americans. The religious difference between the two communities is characterized by a sense of emancipation that exists among the various faiths. For instance, in Middle America, there are towns with churches of different denominations. The availability of different churches provides people with alternatives as far as attending a church service is concerned.
Across the border in Europe, however, the story is very different. In Europe, church membership is established at birth. The individual hardly changes their religion from that within which they were born. In spite of all this, Americans are unlikely to portray nonchalance towards their faith. It is interesting to note that, the faith rigidity notwithstanding, many Europeans tend to be indifference towards religion.
The enfranchisement exhibited by Americans has extended to the secular authorities. According to many Americans, the country’s governance structures assure them of success as long as they work hard in whatever they are doing. It is important to note at this juncture that not many Americans agree with some of the unpopular actions associated with their government. However, the confidence that Americans have in the functionality of their systems sets them apart from cynical and hard- to- please Europeans.
The ‘trust’ or confidence that Americans have in their systems is looked down upon by many Europeans. For example, it is viewed as naiveté by a host of left wing Europeans.
Owing to their dislike for American systems, most Europeans argue that upper class Americans have learned to manipulate ordinary citizens into voting against their own interests. The elite Americans achieve their goal by talking about issues like gun control and gay marriage. Such notions, the left wing Europeans argue, are a ploy meant to ensure that conservative politicians are elected into office.
Peter Baldwin alludes to this reality in his book The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike. The scholar supports the notion of the existence of two ‘Americas’. He argues that the black community still faces human rights injustices despite the official end to slavery decades ago.
According to him, the black community, which is considered under class in terms of earnings, is a classical example of explicit discrepancies between America and Europe. The scholar argues that if the rate of homicide within the black community is reduced, the rate of murder in America will be lower than that of Europe.
Whereas Americans enjoy some sense of enfranchisement, Europeans are largely cynical. Some parts of Europe are characterized by such forms of cynicism as natural suspicion, caution, and desolation among individuals with no actual stake in power. To such cynics, the world is merely a zero sum game. Giuseppe di Lampedusa wrote about peasants during the 19th century Sicilian era. According to him, peasants will deny any knowledge of the existence of their village to a stranger owing to their mistrust.
Presently, Europe is severely affected by the cynicism of tax evaders. Such people work on the assumption that, just like them, government officials steal from the state. Such practices have led to an increase in corruption. In addition, they are an impediment to international trade. For instance, an individual in Italy will find it easy to bribe a government official than follow the required procedure.
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For a long time, majority of citizens in China were powerless. As a result, cynicism and the overwhelming fear of ‘being tricked’ play a huge role in this society. It is common to find the ordinary folk arguing in a market out of fear of being double crossed or conned. In Europe, such arguments are also evident, especially at political levels.
In countries with some history of feudalism, angry insinuations that someone will not be taken for granted by their superiors or duped by the government are common. As a result of such persuasions, people regard bending of rules to suit their needs as a normal aspect of the society. However, in America, such narcissistic tendencies are rare owing to the emancipation culture.
Therefore, the various tendencies of narcissism brought about by cynicism can only be resolved by emancipation. Societies with a feudal history or aggression from foreign powers must begin to overcome the various fears and emancipate the people from mental slavery. As a result of emancipation, the negative effects of narcissism will not affect the people’s way of life. In addition, cynicism will begin to appear positive as Plato eventually comes to learn from Diogenes