Friday, August 27, 2010

Mel Gibson's gospel versus The Joy-Secret of "Otherism"

Body, mind and spirit make one you. We need sympathetic sensitiveness.

The gospel according to Mel Gibson . For the narcissist, revenge is a holy cause, demanding overwhelming force.

Let us enter, you and I, into the moral universe of the modern narcissist.

The narcissistic person is marked by a grandiose self-image, a constant need for admiration, and a general lack of empathy for others. He( or she, if you like a female ) is the keeper of a sacred flame, which is the flame he holds to celebrate himself.

There used to be theories that deep down narcissists feel unworthy, but recent research doesn't support this. Instead, it seems, the narcissist's self-directed passion is deep and sincere.

His self-love is his most precious possession. It is the holy centre of all that is sacred and right. He is hypersensitive about anybody who might splatter or disregard his greatness. If someone treats him slightingly, he perceives that as a deliberate and heinous attack. If anyone threatens his reputation, he regards this as an act of blasphemy. He feels justified in punishing the attacker for this moral outrage.

And because he plays by different rules, and because so much is at stake, he can be uninhibited in response. Everyone gets angry when they feel their self-worth is threatened, but for the narcissist, revenge is a holy cause and a moral obligation, demanding overwhelming force.

Mel Gibson seems to fit the narcissist model to an eerie degree. The recordings that purport to show him unloading on his ex-lover, Oksana Grigorieva, make for painful listening, and are only worthy of attention because these days it pays to be a student of excessive self-esteem, if only to understand the world around.

The storyline seems to be pretty simple. Gibson was the great Hollywood celebrity who left his wife to link with the beautiful young acolyte. Her beauty would not only reflect well on his virility, but he would also work to mould her, Pygmalion-like , into a pop star.

After a time, she apparently grew tired of being a supporting actor in the drama of his slf-magnification and tried to go her own way. This act of separation was perceived as an assault on Gibson's status and thus a venal betrayal of the true faith in Gibson's 'gospel'.

It is fruitless to analyse her end of the phone conversations because she knows she is taping them. But the voice on the other end is primal and searing.

That man is like a boxer unleashing one verbal barrage after another. His breathing is heavy. His vocal muscles are clenched. His guttural sounds burst out like hammer blows.

Gibson pummels her honour, her intelligence, her womanhood, her maternal skills and everything else. Imagine every crude and derogatory word you've ever heard. They come out in waves. he's not really arguing with her, just trying to pulverise her into nothingness, like some corruption that has intertwined itself into his being and now must be expunged.

It is striking how morally righteous he is, without ever bothering to explain what exactly she has done wrong.
It is striking how quickly he reverts to the vocabulary of purity and disgust.
It is striking how much he believes he deserves.
It is striking how much he seems to derive satisfaction from his own righteous indignation.

Rage was the original subject of Western literature. Rage was the opening theme of Homer's Iliad . Back then, anger was perceived as a source of pleasure. "Sweeter wrath is by far than the honeycomb dripping with sweetener." Homer declared. And the man on the other end of Grigorieva's phone seems to derive some vengeful satisfaction from asserting his power and from purging his frustration - from the sheer act of domination.

And the sad fact is that Mel Gibson is not alone. Are you one like him? There can't be many people at once who live in a celebrity environment so perfectly designed to inflate self-love. Even so, a surprising number of people share this trait. If you are, then you need real salvation.

A study conducted at the National Institutes of Health suggested that 6.2 per cent of Americans had suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), along with 9.4 per cent of people in their 20s.

At least since the 1970s, we have suffered from national self-esteem inflation (Source The Narcissism Epidemic, by Jean M Twenge and W Keith Campbell). They cite my favorite piece of sociological data : In 1950, thousands of teenagers were asked if they considered themselves an "important person". Twelve (12) percent said yes.

In the late '80s, another few thousand were asked. This time, 80 per cent of girls and 77 percent of boys said yes.

That doesn't make them narcissists in the Gibson mould, but it does suggest that we have entered an era where self-branding is on the ascent and the culture /sub-culture of self-effacement is on the decline.

Every week brings a new assignment in our study of self-love. And at the top of the heap, the Valentino of all self-lovers, there is the former Braveheart (watch this movie by Mel Gibson yet?). If Gibson really were that great, he's have figured out that the lady probably owns a tape recorder. You just read a comment/analysis by David Brooks.

The Joy-Secret of "Otherism"

Let us do good unto all . From Paul of Tarsus epistle to the Galatians. ( use this verse too)

There hangs a little card which bears the words : THE SECRET OF JOY - God first, others next, Self last. Is this indeed the secret of joy? Then most of us are sadly wrong. We think that joy comes by the reverse order ; and it is this mistake which lies behind the worship of wealth, the passion for power , and the pursuit of pleasure. Verily we are wrong,as we surely discover sooner or later . The first secret of joy lies in otherism - a going out of one's heart toward others. Egoism is the supreme enemy of true joy. By many providences God seeks to break our egoism down. Indeed, the very relationships which condition human family life are designed to that end.

John Oxenham beautifully puts it:

I, Thou (You), We, They,
Small words, but mighty, in their span
Are bound the life and hopes of man.
For first his thoughts of his own self are full,
Until another comes his heart to rule ;
For them life's best is centred round their love
Till younger lives come all their love to prove.

The parental relationships of life are meant to break our egoism down. Many shun from marriage and bear children because of egoism buildup.
"A man or a woman cannot be a member of a family, and remain an utter egoist."
"No greater day ever dawned than that on which the first human child was born."
Certainly the mother teaches the child ; but in a far deeper way, is it not the child who teaches the mother ? - and the little one teaches nothing sublimer than just this very thing - otherism. ! The supreme transition in a human heart is that from "selfism" to "otherism".

"One man is no man at all," says an anciet proverb. "A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel"! "A woman wrapped up in herself makes a very small parcel ,too" . A life which is always getting and never giving is a Dead Sea. No even one fish can survive in it though it has water. The Lord Jesus Christ says : "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone " - self-preservation the cause of loneliness! Then He adds, "But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit " - self-sacrifice the cure of loneliness !

OTHERISM ! The joy-secret of otherism. Let the word otherism burn into the mind. Like a flame shot into a dark room it suddenly exposes our fundamental error. Like the white flame of a forge let it strike into the thick rust of our selfishness. Oh, if we could but believe it, if we would but receive it, the first secret of true joy lies just here.
We miss joy because we seek it ! Is not the very seeking of joy for its own sake a subtle form of selfishness? - and is not selfishness the very thing that kills joy ?
Joy is a will-o-the-wisp to those who run after it ; but in some self-forgetting hour when we are touched by another's need, and we sacrifice to give succour, we suddenly find our hearts aflame with a glorious joy that has come unsought ! It is thus that we come to know a like joy to that of our dear resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. In self-sacrificing service for others we discern the marks of His sandals, and follow in the steps of His example, and share His real joy. Must we roam afar to find glory Need we find our own joy and glory? nay, the secret of pure joy and glory lies behind our own doors, in otherism. I am enjoying the otherism in you, dear friend and others.

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