Monday, November 24, 2014

Life, liberty, and the #pursuitofoverstimulation

A few months ago #VivianGornick sought to rehabilitate American #self-absorption (“In Defense of #Narcissism”). The intellectual target she chose, though, was not psychologist #JeanTwenge. Rather, she sought to deconstruct #ChristopherLasch. An alleged “age of diminished expectations”? “That, unfortunately, was the way the world looked to a white, middle-class man without the gift of empathy who found all the social tumult depressing rather than stimulating” – or so Gornick thinks. In fact, Lasch did realize that the multi-pronged rebellion that broke out in the 1960s was quite stimulating. He described how the human quest for freedom turned mostly into an exhilarating pursuit of overstimulation – until meta-habituation (and relativistic non-judgmentalism) set in.