Personal gratification is the root cause of the war that is plaguing our society Christopher Lasch contends in his article The Culture of Narcissism (Cummings 658)Written in 1979 I found it interesting that Lasch was already arguing that greed and corporate interests were were becoming the motivating factor of our society. As we saw in the 1980s individualism and instant gratification were taken much farther. Lasch says that competitive individualism and  personal gratification is destroying families, harming children and promising people power, wealth and status.  He contends that the new narcissist has forfeited the security of the group in exchange for insecurities that come with seeing everyone as a potential rival in a competitive world (Cummings 658).

Lasch sees society’s indifference to the past as a  cultural bankruptcy. He further explains that the attitude of cheerful and forward-looking optimism that surrounds the “narcissist” proves that there is an impoverished psyche and an inability to be satisfied with our own experiences and the narcissist thereby allows others to define their needs (Cummings 660).   Narcissist is the good term to describe the corporate executive who deliberately disregards their employees and others to pursue a profits.  The typical consumer who is enticed to buy products in our commodity and service based economy  relies on others to define their needs as Lasch pointed out.  But is this narcissistic behavior or just a by product of a capitalist society?  Is competitive individualism a survival mechanism for living in our world or is it “war against all” as Lasch says?


Cummings, Michael S. “The Culture of Narcissism (1979) ”.  American Political Thought. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015. 658-662. Print.