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So I replaced the 13-year-old original speakers in my car this weekend:  nothing special, just the cheapest little Kenwood drop-ins:  6 1/2” on all four corners.  But damn if it didn’t take almost 4 hours!  The O.E. speakers are non-standard size and/or built into mounting brackets.  So required custom mounting brackets/adapters front and rear (thank you Crutchfield!).  And the rear speakers top-mount to the deck under the parcel shelf, which required removal of the parcel self – after removal of the rear seats.  The fronts are in the doors, but were riveted in – had to drill the rivets.  All-in-all it all went well – only had one glitch:  the Crutchfield-supplied wiring adapter for the rears had the wrong connector.  It was the correct shape, with the correct pins, but the alignment bar was wrong.  So I had to pull the pins and go without the connectors.  Still better than without the wiring adapter since I just plugged in the pins and wrapped with tape, but took an extra 20 mins to disassemble the connectors, etc.  The front wiring harnesses were exactly right, and were the perfect length too.  I just can't believe it took like 4 hours to install cheap “drop-in” replacement speakers.  But they do sound better, so it was 4 hours well spent.
In the 2012 election, Democrats won the popular vote in the aggregate, resulting in a Democratic president and an expanded Democratic majority in the Senate.  Yet, at the same time, we installed the second-largest Republican House majority in 60 years.

So how did Republicans expand their House majority despite more Americans voting for the other party?  How does Congress enjoy a 90 percent incumbency rate despite a 10 percent approval rating?  Gerrymandering.  Extreme gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a primary cause of the crazy bi-polar politics we are seeing.  After Republicans swept into power in state legislatures in 2010, the GOP gerrymandered key states, redrawing House district boundaries to favor Republicans.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats received half of the votes in House contests, yet Republicans hold about three-quarters of the congressional seats. In North Carolina more than half of the vote went for Democrats, yet Republicans fill about 70 percent of the seats.  Democrats drew a majority of votes in Michigan, yet hold only 5 out of the state's 14 congressional seats.

The idea behind gerrymandering is to create safe House seats for the party doing the redistricting.  It has been done for years by both parties.  But lately the conservatives have successfully drawn geographically nonsensical district maps around pockets of political extremists, thereby creating electorally unassailable, extremely (and unrealistically) conservative districts.   Political scientist Larry Sabato published an analysis finding that 375 of 435 seats — 86 percent — are safe.  So even if incumbents' aggressive, extremist bargaining positions poll terribly nationally, back home in their districts they are heroes.  "The electoral threat of them angering anybody outside of their base is pretty low," Gary C. Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, tells the National Journal, meaning "incentives for most House Republicans would encourage more — not less — confrontation as the standoffs proceed."

Indeed, these incumbents can do anything they want without fear of electoral reprisal.  The vast majority of GOP lawmakers are safely ensconced in districts that would never think of electing a Democrat. Their bigger worry is that someone even more conservative than they are -- bankrolled by uncompromising conservative groups -- might challenge them in a primary.  In fact, this is  already happening:  a few House Republicans are facing serious threats from within their own party.  In each of these upcoming races, Republican incumbents will have to answer criticism that they’re insufficiently conservative and haven’t done enough to combat the Obama agenda.  In short, most of the Republicans behind the shutdown have no reason to fear that voters will ever punish them for it, and in fact would be punished for not digging in.

Compared to the last U.S. government shut downs in 1995-96, Republicans in the House represent much safer, more homogenous districts, where the only challengers are other conservative Republicans.  Comparing today's 232-seat Republican majority with the 236 seats Republicans held in 1995-96 underscores the extent to which GOP legislators have succeeded in fortifying themselves into homogeneously conservative districts.

On every measure, Republicans today represent constituencies that lean more lopsidedly toward their party. According to David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report, 79 of the 236 House Republicans serving during the last shutdown resided in districts that Clinton won in 1992. Today, just 17 of the 232 House Republicans are in districts that Obama won in 2012.  According to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index, in 1995 the average district held by House Republicans had a GOP advantage of roughly 6.6 points. Today the average district held by House Republicans has a GOP advantage of roughly 11.1 points.  These changes are the results of extreme gerrymandering, not changing political views.

Look at the leaders of the defund-Obamacare effort in the House: Georgia Rep. Tom Graves, a Tea Party Caucus member, represents a district where Obama won just a quarter of the vote. Fewer than two in five voters in Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie’s district backed the president for reelection. And Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a poster child of the conservative Club for Growth, is in a district where Obama got just 32 percent.

We saw the conservative political echo-chamber in full effect in 2010 when Karl Rove and Romney and others were completely blind-sided by the Democrat's sweep.  And now their echo-chamber has been amplified for a large number of incumbents who are representing artificial, geographically nonsensical districts that don't reflect the actual demographics of their states, nor even accurately reflect the demographics of the geographic regions they supposedly represent.

Added to the echo-chamber amplification, is the reality that even if a widespread public backlash does develop against a shutdown or potential government default, many Republican incumbents are well insulated against electoral consequences and are less sensitive to shifts in public attitudes that could threaten their party's national image or standing in more closely contested parts of the country.  These guys are beholden only to their base of extremists and can do extreme and unreasonable things with impunity.

And the frustrating and sad thing is, there is no clear way out of this mess since the forces at play seem only to want to make things worse.

17 September 2013 @ 10:35 pm
Excerpts from an interview with theologian John Haught.  Wherein he argues science and religion are not necessarily at odds: they just ask different questions and look at things in different ways.

Full interview at Salon:

What do you say to the atheists who demand evidence or proof of the existence of a transcendent reality?
The hidden assumption behind such a statement is often that faith is belief without evidence. Therefore, since there’s no scientific evidence for the divine, we should not believe in God. But that statement itself — that evidence is necessary — holds a further hidden premise that all evidence worth examining has to be scientific evidence. And beneath that assumption, there’s the deeper worldview — it’s a kind of dogma — that science is the only reliable way to truth. But that itself is a faith statement. It’s a deep faith commitment because there’s no way you can set up a series of scientific experiments to prove that science is the only reliable guide to truth. It’s a creed.

Are you’re saying scientists are themselves practicing a kind of religion?
The new atheists have made science the only road to truth. They have a belief, which I call “scientific naturalism,” that there’s nothing beyond nature — no transcendent dimension — that every cause has to be a natural cause, that there’s no purpose in the universe, and that scientific explanations, especially in their Darwinian forms, can account for everything living. But the idea that science alone can lead us to truth is questionable. There’s no scientific proof for that. Those are commitments that I would place in the category of faith. So the proposal by the new atheists that we should eliminate faith in all its forms would also apply to scientific naturalism. But they don’t want to go that far. So there’s a self-contradiction there.

So if you’re a person of faith who wants to be intellectually responsible, you can’t just shove all this science into a drawer. You do have to deal with it.
Exactly. Theology has always looked to secular concepts to express, for its particular age, what the meaning of God is. In early Christianity, St. Augustine went to Neoplatonism. Later on, Thomas Aquinas did something adventurous: He went to a pagan philosopher, Aristotle, to renew the understanding of Christianity in his own time. Islamic and Jewish philosophers and theologians have done the same thing. But as we move into our own time, theology has to deal with other concepts in order to make sense of its faith. Darwin’s thought seems to be more important intellectually and culturally than it’s ever been. My view is that theology, instead of ignoring or closing its eyes to it, should look it squarely in the face. It has everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing so. In my view, Darwin’s thought is a gift to theology.

You have carved out an interesting position in the debate over science and religion. You are critical of atheists like Dawkins and Dennett, who believe evolutionary theory leads to atheism. Yet you testified at the 2005 Dover trial against intelligent design. What’s wrong with intelligent design?
I testified against it because, first of all, teaching it in public schools is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. There is something irremediably religious about the idea. Try to deny it though they might, advocates of intelligent design are really proposing a kind of watered-down version of natural theology. That’s the attempt to explain what’s going on in nature’s order and design by appealing to a nonnatural source. So it’s not science. I agree with all the scientists who say intelligent design should not be made part of science. It’s not a valid scientific alternative to Darwinian ideas. It should not be taught in classrooms and public schools. It’s also extremely poor theology. What intelligent design tries to do — and the great theologians have always resisted this idea — is to place the divine, the Creator, within the continuum of natural causes. And this amounts to an extreme demotion of the transcendence of God, by making God just one cause in a series of natural causes.

This becomes the “God of the gaps.” When you can’t explain something by science, you say God did it.
Paul Tillich, the great Protestant theologian, said that kind of thinking was the foundation of modern atheism. Careless Christian thinkers wanted to make a place for God within the physical system that Newton and others had elaborated. That, in effect, demoted the deity as being just one link in a chain of causes that brought the transcendent into the realm of complete secular immanence. The atheists quite rightly said this God is unnecessary.

Einstein is certainly relevant in this context. He called himself a “deeply religious nonbeliever.” He talked about having genuine religious feelings when he marveled at the inherent order and harmony in the universe. But he thought the idea of a personal God was preposterous. He couldn’t believe in a God who interfered with natural events or intervened in the lives of people.
Let’s look at why Einstein found that idea of God objectionable. Einstein was a man who thought the laws of physics have to be completely inviolable. Nature is a closed continuum of deterministic causes and effects, and if anything interrupted that, it would violate the fundamental scientific worldview that he had. So the idea of a responsive God — a God who answers prayers — would have to violate the laws of physics, the laws of nature. This is why Einstein said the problem of science and religion is caused by the belief in a personal God. But it’s not inevitable that a responsive God violates the laws of physics and chemistry. I don’t think God does violate those laws.

What do you make of the miracles in the Bible — most importantly, the Resurrection? Do you think that happened in the literal sense?
I don’t think theology is being responsible if it ever takes anything with completely literal understanding. What we have in the New Testament is a story that’s trying to awaken us to trust that our lives make sense, that in the end, everything works out for the best. In a pre-scientific age, this is done in a way in which unlettered and scientifically illiterate people can be challenged by this Resurrection. But if you ask me whether a scientific experiment could verify the Resurrection, I would say such an event is entirely too important to be subjected to a method which is devoid of all religious meaning.

So if a camera was at the Resurrection, it would have recorded nothing?
If you had a camera in the upper room when the disciples came together after the death and Resurrection of Jesus, we would not see it. I’m not the only one to say this. Even conservative Catholic theologians say that. Faith means taking the risk of being vulnerable and opening your heart to that which is most important. We trivialize the whole meaning of the Resurrection when we start asking, Is it scientifically verifiable? Science is simply not equipped to deal with the dimensions of purposefulness, love, compassion, forgiveness — all the feelings and experiences that accompanied the early community’s belief that Jesus is still alive. Science is simply not equipped to deal with that. We have to learn to read the universe at different levels. That means we have to overcome literalism not just in the Christian or Jewish or Islamic interpretations of scripture but also in the scientific exploration of the universe. There are levels of depth in the cosmos that science simply cannot reach by itself.
08 September 2013 @ 03:36 pm
On Friday the Crown Vic failed to run. Normal start, but would not run at all no matter what. Had to go back home from my work to take Penny in to her work.  That sucked.  Messed our morning, and our afternoon.

Turned out to be a massive vacuum leak. Source? EVAP system. It had been throwing EVAP codes for several months, at least since March, but apparently now the system is stuck wide open, sucking unmetered air into the intake manifold. Didn't take too long to track down and fix, er, I mean work around. Simply pulled the hose from the intake and capped both the hose and the manifold. Problem solved. Did also find another vacuum leak which I repaired as well. Also the IAC is on its way out. Pulled it and cleaned it. But will need a new one soon. Anyway, the car starts and runs again now. Total cost of repairs = around $6.

Glad we don't live in a place where this would cause it to fail inspection.  Properly diagosiing and fixing the EVAP system would probably cost at least $200 minimum, and may end up being a bitch to do.  As it is, the new IAC is going to be about $100.  I think that will be the third replacement IAC.
26 August 2013 @ 12:22 pm

My Acer 1410 netbook died last night. Very sad. I love that computer. Top of the line netbook when it was new. It was my first laptop.

No power from AC. Runs fine on battery, but no power when plug it in. Once the battery went dead, no computer. Didn't notice problem until battery was practically dead. Only enough time to transfer a couple of new/important files. Everything is backed up, but backup is a couple of months old.  But there is no data loss anyway since hard drive is fine. Bummer that I am out a really nice netbook.

It is not the charger. The charger is putting out correct voltage and the computer is also dead when plugged into another charger that we have.

Only hope is that the plug went bad suddenly, which is a common problem on these, apparently.  Will try replacing it. Otherwise it's bricked :(

Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Ohio's recently passed budget bill combines the Republican's anti-contraception and anti-abortion agendas and packs a one-two-three punch making it harder for women to prevent pregnancies, harder for women to terminate pregnancies, and harder for low-income women to keep their babies. In fact, it is so bad that if a rape crisis center counsels a woman who asks about abortion, they will also be defunded.

Make no mistake:  the anti-choice/anti-abortion movement is just the tip of a conservative anti-contraceptive movement.  I believe I have mentioned this before.  For a substantial number of conservatives, anti-abortion language is just a gloss put on measures that are actually larger-reaching anti-contraceptive laws.  It is not about regulating abortion, it is about regulating women's sexuality.

If these conservatives actually wanted to reduce abortions they would support contraceptive access and proper sex-education.  But they don't.  For some reason, they seem to want people to spread STDs and produce unwanted babies (well, only the poor people)  but then they also cut the welfare funding that would help care for those poor unwed mothers and their babies.  They say there are too many people on welfare, but then they do everything they can to increase the number of babies born into welfare.

This is illogical, hypocritical, and mean-spirited.

Who could possibly support this?  How did these people get elected?

Facts sourced from Slate article.
03 July 2013 @ 12:08 am
WTF?  You have to read this story to believe it.  This country has gone fucking insane:

Elizabeth Daly, 20, was walking to her car in the supermarket parking lot around 10:15 p.m. on  April 11th when 7 plainclothes agents approached her, suspecting her blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. One agent jumped on the hood of her SUV; another pulled out a gun as her roommates seated inside looked on in horror.  It goes on from there......the girls (quite reasonably) got scared and fled, got charged with felonies, went to jail, etc.

Is this normal?  Is it standard procedure for seven agents to converge on a 20-year-old girl suspected of buying some beer?  Seven agents?  Really?  With guns?  Seriously?  Are 20-year-olds buying beer really that big of a threat to public safety that we spend those kinds of resources staking out the grocery store?

Maybe that manpower could have been used busting a crack house, or a meth lab, or doing some other real police work preventing/solving real crimes.  At least then they might have had a legit reason to pull their guns.

I do not want to believe that we live in the sort of police state where a normal law-abiding citizen can be taken down by a team of plain-clothed enforcers and slapped with felony charges over an innocent trip to the grocery store.  But unfortunately that seems to be the case.

Nearly all of the responses to the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA are dead WRONG. This was not a civil rights ruling. The Court did NOT rule on gay marriage. It was a simple Constitutional issue of states' rights.

Defining marriage is not a power given to the federal government by the Constitution. Therefore, according to the 10th Amendment (see below), this is a power held by the states. Civil and legal matters such as this are left to the states to decide for themselves. This has long been a cornerstone position of the Right in their arguments against overreaching federal government and is, in fact, a major platform of the Tea Party.

So I find it terribly ironic that Conservatives are up in arms over a Supreme Court ruling that affirms the conservative position of states' rights.

Once again Conservatives are demostrating their infintilism, hypocrosy, and lack of basic understanding of the Constitution and how the Supreme Court works.

But the liberals aren't much better in this instance. They are also treating this as a SCOTUS civil rights affirmation of gay marriage, which it is not. Gay rights advocates' statements are just as broadly sweeping, over the top, and incorrect.

Everybody on both sides needs to calm down and stop overstating the case.

The matter is simple: states have the right to define marriage, and the federal government must abide by those decisions.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I just don't understand why the decision was so close. It's pretty plain and simple. How could four of the justices not get it? It's right there in the Constitution.

But a lot of others don't seem to get it either.

For an especially dumbfoundingly incorrect response from the right, take a look at what Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, had to say:

"We are encouraged that the court . . . . refrained from redefining marriage for the entire country. However, by striking down the federal definition of marriage in DOMA, the Court is asserting that Congress does not have the power to define the meaning of words in statutes Congress itself has enacted. This is absurd. The Defense of Marriage Act imposes no uniform definition of marriage upon the individual states. However, the states should not be able to impose varying definitions of marriage upon the federal government. The ruling that the federal government must recognize same-sex 'marriages' in states that recognize them raises as many questions as it answers."

Wow, what an idiot.  Everything he says is in direct opposition to the 10th Amendment

And from Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee:

"With one stroke of the pen, this court has redefined the universal, historical and biblical ideal of marriage as a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman."

Again, NOT what the Court did. And like I said, those on the left, including Obama, are also overstating the case almost as badly.

For a different and surprisingly refrained response from within the Southern Baptist Convention, check out what Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, had to say:

I must say I am impressed by his lack of vehemence or vitriol, and his inward focus on the church.

The only reasonable response I have heard has been from the Libertarians who seem to be the only political group who are able to see the SCOTUS opinion on DOMA for what it actually is. Our local Libertarian radio host was all over Alito's dissent for being unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court made the Constitutionally correct decision on DOMA and anybody arguing otherwise is just plain wrong. If you have an opinion on the legal definition of marriage, take it to your statehouse.


In my previous post I linked narcissism and religious fundamentalism. Some of you may think that is going too far but I really don't think so. Religious conservatism gives the narcissisticly disordered person a safe place to go where their pathological behavior appears normal and is, in fact, viewed positively. One could even argue that joining fundamentalist religious groups is a successful coping strategy for narcissistic people. If we compare the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) to the traits of religious fundamentalism/conservatism we see a striking overlap. Do notice here that I am using religious fundamentalism and religious conservatism almost interchangeably since fundamentalism is a severe form of religious conservatism.

Below I shall list the generally agreed upon traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I will then show how those traits manifest in religious fundamentalism/conservatism using current and historical examples from various religious as they apply, if they apply, and then take score.

As you will see, religious fundamentalists/conservatives display 61% of the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder just through the expression of their religion.

So here we go:

  • Vulnerability to shame and humiliation rather than guilt.

    Give themselves a pass on guilt since they are righteous and doing everything in the name of God. Are highly susceptible to shaming by other believes when found to be sinning. Within the religion shame and humiliation is often used in conjunction with criticism of members' incorrect behaviors.

  • Reacting to criticism with anger / Hypersensitivity to any perceived insults, real or imagined; resulting in outbursts of narcissistic rage.

    A religious conservative's response to opposing viewpoints is often quite vehement: even sometimes to the point of physically attacking the non-believers. The all to familiar vehement lashing out of the “righteously indignant” religious conservative. Any
    perceived opposition or threat to their beliefs shake the foundations of their worldview and elicit powerful ego defense responses. The devout are not open to discussion or compromise. They cannot concede an inch when confronted and will only dig in deeper and attack more strongly.

  • Exploiting others

    Religion, especially conservative religion, is a control structure where those at the top hold undue sway and influence over those on the bottom. It is no coincidence that religion and politics are so closely intertwined among conservatives.

  • Exaggerating own importance or self-worth. Value themselves as inherently better than others.

    an exclusive connection to God and Truth, that your group is special to God and that everybody else is wrong but you: that's exaggerating your own importance. God likes us best, we are going to heaven, we are righteous.

  • Belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth

    All the non-believers are sinner and evil doers, they reject the truth and are an abomination and are going to hell.

  • Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance

    The belief that they are righteous and assured of going to heaven and being with god and the angels.

  • Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others

    Constantly going to church and being reinforced in their beliefs, stroking and being stroked by their compatriots at Sunday School, Sunday Service, Sunday Evening Service, Wednesday Evening Service, Church Socials, Retreats, Church Picnics, Mission Trips, Deacons' Meetings, etc., every day of the week year round.

  • Becoming jealous easily / being envious of others

  • Hard-hearted / disregarding the feelings of others / appearing unemotional

    By considering their beliefs inviolate and normative for all others, they reject the possibility of morality outside their system of beliefs, are hard-hearted to those outside their fold, and trammel the rights and feeling of others, as in the gay marriage issue, for example.

  • Lacking empathy / Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people

    Quite literally cannot comprehend a different perspective or point of view. They often either ignore conflicting data and viewpoints as false unreality, or just fail to perceive them altogether. Therefore cannot empathize with others.

  • Being obsessed with self

    What they think is all that matters, since they are right.

  • Problems distinguishing the self from others

    Believe their rules and beliefs are normative for all and apply universally to everybody. Therefore everybody everybody's worldview is an extension of theirs and everybody sees the world through their same lens.

  • Pursuing mainly selfish goals

  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships

  • Setting goals that are unrealistic

  • Wanting "the best" of everything

  • Views tend to be contrary to reality.

    Age of Earth, Earth rotates around Sun, literalistic interpretation of the Bible, etc.

  • Views tend to be most exaggerated in the agentic domain, relative to the communion domain.

  • Are selfish when faced with resource scarcity.

  • Are oriented towards success.

  • An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges

  • A lack of psychological awareness

    Unquestioning, blind believing and following. Lack of introspection and examination of beliefs and motivations.

  • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them

  • Detesting those who do not admire them

    Anybody opposed to the religious conservative is a sinner and an abomination to god.

  • Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements

  • Claiming to be an "expert" at many things

  • Denial of remorse and gratitude

  • Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using cognitive distortion and illusion known as magical thinking.

    Use double-think and rationalization to make their reality and religious intgerpretation fit the world.

  • Use projection to dump shame onto others.

    Dump shame and sin onto the non-believers.

  • Sense of entitlement. Unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance. Expecting others to go along with their ideas and plans.

    Since they have the Truth, and their beliefs and worldview and morals are normative, they are surprised, outraged, and unable to understand when others don't agree with them. They expect the law of the land to correspond to their religious teachings. They are entitled to God's special favor and are going to heaven.

  • Believing that you can associate only with equally special people

    Affiliating only with members of their church/religion. Only participate in church activities. Actively avoid associating with the wrong sorts of people or going into the wrong establishments/parts of town.

  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

    Very often perceived this way by those outside of their religion

  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness

  • Exaggerating achievements or talents

  • Expecting constant praise and admiration

    Since they are righteous they are deserving of praise and admiration. They spend all their time in their echo-chamber where they receive constant self-congratulation, and are surprised and offended and bewildered if found in a situation where they don't.

  • Believing that others are jealous of you

    Anybody opposing your religion/beliefs, as in the culture wars, are actually just lashing out out of jealousy

  • Setting unrealistic goals

  • Having a fragile self-esteem. Underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. They have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. They may be easily hurt and rejected. They may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make themselves feel better, they may react with rage, or contempt, or efforts to belittle the other person to make themselves appear better.

    Sooth their low self-esteem with the tonic of religiosity and by telling themselves God loves them better than others, and by surrounding themselves with other believers to provide narcissistic supply.

Total score: 22 of 38 = 61%

Following are the source lists from which the aggregated list was made:


  • Reacting to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation

  • Taking advantage of others to reach own goals

  • Exaggerating own importance, achievements, and talents

  • Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance

  • Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others

  • Becoming jealous easily

  • Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others

  • Being obsessed with self

  • Pursuing mainly selfish goals

  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships

  • Becoming easily hurt and rejected

  • Setting goals that are unrealistic

  • Wanting "the best" of everything

  • Appearing unemotional

  • An elevated sense of self-worth, valuing themselves as inherently better than others

  • Belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth

Campbell and Foster 2007 literature review

  • Think they are better than others. Perceive themselves to be unique and special people.

  • Views tend to be contrary to reality.

  • Views tend to be most exaggerated in the agentic domain, relative to the communion domain.

  • Are selfish when faced with resource scarcity.

  • Are oriented towards success.

David Thomas's 2012 book on narcissism

  • An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges

  • Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships

  • A lack of psychological awareness

  • Difficulty with empathy

  • Problems distinguishing the self from others

  • Hypersensitivity to any perceived insults, real or imagined; resulting in outbursts of narcissistic rage.

  • Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt

  • Haughty body language

  • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them

  • Detesting those who do not admire them

  • Using other people without considering the cost of doing so

  • Pretending to be more important than they really are

  • Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements

  • Claiming to be an "expert" at many things

  • Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people

  • Denial of remorse and gratitude

Hotchkiss and Masterson (2003) “seven deadly sins of narcissism”

  • Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

  • Magical Thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using cognitive distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

  • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

  • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

  • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

  • Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

  • Bad Boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations.

Mayo Clinic:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power or beauty

  • Believing that you are special or that you are better than others

  • Believing that you can associate only with equally special people

  • Requiring constant admiration

  • Having a sense of entitlement

  • Taking advantage of others

  • Having an inability to recognize needs and feelings of others

  • Being envious of others

  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness

  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents

  • Expecting constant praise and admiration

  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans

  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior

  • Believing that others are jealous of you

  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships

  • Setting unrealistic goals

  • Having a fragile self-esteem. Underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. They have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. They may be easily hurt and rejected. They may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make themselves feel better, they may react with rage, or contempt, or efforts to belittle the other person to make themselves appear better.

  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

26 April 2013 @ 12:48 am
Is religion really the root of all evil?  Well, nothing can be the root of all evil, unless perhaps it's greed and selfishness.  But then that's the problem with religion:  it systematizes and promotes selfishness and narcissism and the Will to Power.  The primary objective of most religions is to set the religious adherents apart from others as special, privileged, and blessed.  How selfish is that, to claim everybody else is wrong but you, to claim an exclusive connection to God and Truth, to claim a supernatural and immortal superiority to anybody who disagrees with you?

How easy, then, is it to trammel the rights of others based on your privileged position:
"I'm right, you're wrong.  I have the revelation of God.  I don't have to listen to you, or respect your viewpoint, or even acknowledge your position at all because you are wrong and going to hell.  The only way to live your life is to follow my rules and do as I say, and unless you do I will not accept you.  No, I will not listen to any of your arguments or to your so-called logic:  they are fundamentally flawed and disordered since they do not emanate from God.  And, no, I cannot see things from your point of view nor walk a mile in your shoes:  you see through a veil of evil and you are shorn in defilement.   Now don't get me wrong, I love you, it's just that I abhor you as an abomination, and unless and until you change your ways I will continue to hate everything about you from the bottom of my heart, even though I love you as a person.  In fact, since I love you so much, I'm going to compel you to follow my rules whether you want to or not, for your own good.  I'm sure you don't really want to continue in your repugnant lifestyle nor spend eternity in hell, so obviously you should do as I say.  Why do you continue to resist?   Why do you and the rest of you non-believers insist on ignoring the Truth and living your sinful lives and spreading your evil ways, even into the midst of my fellow believers?  You are enemies of God and it is my duty as a child of God, a servant of God, a defender of His faith, to stop your spread of evil by any means necessary.  I am on the side of the angels and stand alongside them in our spiritual war against you and the other hosts of Satan.  If you are not with us, you are against us."

So run the thoughts of many a religious adherent.

Since their truth is the one true truth and their reality is the one true reality which we all inhabit, it follows that (to them) their perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors are normative for everybody universally.  They quite literally cannot comprehend a different perspective or point of view.  They often either ignore conflicting data and viewpoints as false unreality, or just fail to perceive them altogether.

Even when they do acknowledge data or viewpoints that conflict with their worldview their response is generally vehement.  Their beliefs are deeply held and attach to their sense of self, their identity as people, their very personhood.  Any perceived opposition or threats to their beliefs shake the foundations of their worldview and elicit powerful ego defense responses since these threats defy the belief system by which they define themselves.  The devout are not open to discussion or compromise.  They cannot concede an inch when confronted and will only dig in deeper and retreat further into their echo chamber.   Should they let even one card fall they are compromising their self-identity, their God, their entire world.

As a result, effective communication with such religious people is impossible.

It would be tempting to dismiss these people, to write them off as nutters on the fringe.  But unfortunately there are a surprising number of them, many of whom wield considerable power and sway over others.  Their de-facto purpose is cultural domination and they see themselves as engaged in spiritual warfare.   Their doctrines command them to spread their beliefs through proselytization, indoctrination, and high birth rate.  The conviction of their beliefs drives them into action, into the all too familiar attitudes and behaviors expressed at the beginning of this essay, which makes them dangerous to others and to modern civilized society at large.  (Cue the violence and persecution)

I do not deny there are things we do not know, perhaps cannot know.  I do not flatly reject the possibility of non-corporal entities.  Nor do I dismiss spirituality and mysticism.  We are all brothers and sisters connected by the great mystery of life.  We all want to reach our full potential.  This is why I believe that any system that feeds our basest selfish tendencies and pits us against each other with intolerance, persecution , or spiritual warfare, even unto death, is wrong and surely contrary to the will of any God, should there be one.