The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch (Quotations)

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© 1998-2018 by Zack Smith. All rights reserved.
Christopher Lasch


These are quotations from Christopher Lasch's book, The Culture of Narcissism. Some are very good, some are merely handy. I can't say that Lasch was right about everything -- I don't think he was -- but one never gains wisdom by limiting one's sources of knowledge. To advance, you have to consider multiple viewpoints, and if possible all sides of an issue. It is in the contradictions that you are forced to think deeper and gain not just knowledge, but wisdom. And in the case of Lasch, it's not a waste of time to consider what he says.

Be sure to also check out my selected quotes from Henry David Thoreau's Walden.


Preface xvii

Many radical movements in the past have drawn strength and sustinence from the myth or memory of a golden age in the still more distant past.

Preface xviii

A denial of the past, superficially progressive and optimistic, proves on closer analysis to embody the despair of a society that cannot face the future.

Chapter The Awareness Movement and the Social Invasion of the Self

Page 5

To live for the moment is the prevailing passion -- to live for yourself, not for your predecessors or posterity.

Page 12

...the agressive, punishing, and even self-destructive past of the superego is usually modified by later experience, which softens early fantasies of parents as devouring monsters. If that experience is lacking -- as it so often is in a society that has radically devalued all forms of authority -- the sadistic superego can be expected to develop at the expense of th ego ideal, the destructive superego at the expense of the severe but solicitous inner voice we call conscience.

Page 22

In his emptiness and insignificance, the man of ordinary abilities tried to warm himself in the star's {famous person's} reflected glow.

Page 23

Neither drugs nor fantasies of destruction -- even when the fantasies are objectified as 'revolutionary praxis' -- appease the inner hunger from which they spring.

Page 23

Personal relations founded on reflected glory, on the need to admire and be admired, prove fleeting and insubstantial.

Page 28

Quoting Richard Sennett, who is describing how society has changed as people have become more narcissistic