Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Pursuit of Happiness - Part 2

2. The empty self is infantile.

The "perpetual adolescent" is in view here. They say, "The infantile person is controlled by cravings and constantly seeks to be filled with and made whole by food, entertainment, and consumer goods. Such a person is preoccupied with sex, physical appearance, and body image. He or she tends to live by feelings and experiences. For the infantile personality type, pain, endurance, hard work, and delayed gratification are anathema. Pleasure is all that matters, and it had better be immediate. Boredom is the greatest evil; amusement the greatest good." (pp. 19-20)

3. The empty self is narcissistic.

Narcissism is being preoccupied with self-interest and personal fulfillment. "Narcissists manipulate relationships with others (including God) to validate their self-esteem, and the cannot sustain deep attachments or make personal commitments to something larger than ego. Self-denial is out of the question."

They also say, "Spiritually, the narcissist dethrones God and His purposes in history from the center of the religious life and places his or her personal fulfillment in the middle. The Christian narcissist evaluates the local church, books, and religious practices based on how they will further his or her agenda." (p. 20)

4. The empty self is passive.

"The couch potato is the role model for the empty self, and there can be no doubt that Americans are becoming increasingly passive in their approach to life. We let other people do our living and thinking for us: The pastor studies the Bible for us, the news media does our political thinking for us, and we let our favorite sports team exercise, struggle, and win for us. From watching television to listening to sermons, our primary agenda is to be amused and entertained." (p. 21)


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