Intimate Relationships as a Form of Narcissim?

A book I’m editing quotes the following, from Richard Sennett (The Fall of Public Man [New York: Norton, 1992], 259). Make of it what you will.

The reigning belief today is that closeness between persons is a moral good. The reigning aspiration today is to develop individual personality through experiences of closeness and warmth with others. The reigning myth today is that the evils of society can all be understood as evils of impersonality, alienation, and coldness. The sum of these three is an ideology of intimacy: social relationships of all kinds are real, trustworthy, and authentic the closer they approach the inner psychological concerns of each person. This ideology transmutes political categories into psychological categories. This ideology of intimacy defines the humanitarian spirit of a society without gods: warmth is our god. The history of the rise and fall of public culture at the very least calls this humanitarian spirit into question.

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3 comments so far

  1. chad on

    I want to be close to you, Jeff. Intimate. Warm.

  2. Josh on

    Interesting. Beautiful sentiment, Chadly. The quote reminds me of Bonhoeffer’s (and others, I just first encountered it with B) idea that the only way to love someone well is to relate to them through Christ. Christ mediates our relationships, otherwise our intimacy is narcissism.

  3. Isaac on

    It contains good information,and i will like you to give me update when new articles come out.


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