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Not narcissistic please stop hatin' on me!

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Somethin’ I often get is someone telling me that weight trainers are narcissistic ‘cause they want a good physique. But what he/she ultimately wants to say is that they do not have a good self-esteem. I must admit I get this mostly from very religious people.

What I don’t understand is their logic, according to them you will allow yourself to get fat if you have a good self-esteem ‘cause you don’t care how you look, ‘cause you don’t care what other people think. I really think this is BS. What I want to ask is how one counters such logic. Usually when I try and explain this, they think even more that they are right.

What motivated me to post this is a film I saw last night Chuecatown (Boystown). This film is a farce/murder mystery with a Bear couple as the heroes. But for me this is a comic version of American Psycho, just another film that hate on people that are successful and like looking after themselves.

Edited by Superman123
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"To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living."

Reason: I know that healthy dieting and exercise will increase my health in the moment, my life's longevity, and my physique. These are metaphysical facts. Chocolate in excess makes you fat. Being a couch potato in excess makes you fat. I choose to increase my quality of life by working hard at the gym, and choosing healthy "fuel" for my body.

Purpose: I want to live life to the fullest, looking my best, feeling my best, so that I may achieve my career goals, pursue my love interests and attain happiness on earth.

Self-Esteem: I love myself. I love living. I love doing. I know that my life has value and that I am competent and worthy of living. If that is considered narcissistic than it is a virtue.

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Their premise is likely that appearance only involves other people evaluating your look as good or not. To care about how you look would then indicate you are a vain person and only want the attention of other people. Why not be happy with how god made you? Don't be so narcissistic and try to grab the attention you don't need. As long as you're healthy, you don't need to alter how you look. It's what's on the inside that counts!

Such a premise is not true. How you look can be about yourself, *expressing* your values. Caring about how you look means you care about your body, because you'd be acknowledging that there is no mind/body dichotomy. The above paragraph is a great example of advocating a mind/body dichotomy. As long as you're mentally well, why care about going the extra mile for your body? That's all sorts of wrong, because your appearance is a manifestation of your mental well-being anyway. While it is true that not all people value working out, there are many ways to show how you value your appearance, whether it be makeup, clothing, or whatever other form of styling. Looking your best needs to be explained as valuable in terms of putting yourself as the standard of value. People often define "looking your best" as some standard defined by popular media, which is a narcissistic standard if anyone pursues beauty by that standard.

Edited by Eiuol
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As cliche as it is.. (and as much as I feel it is traditionally used as a one phrase catch all by morons).

There is some truth to the saying

"haters gonna hate"

People need to feel good about themselves. Some people do it in a productive way by getting in shape, learning and improving themselves.

Others, go about it by believing in god and that they are his special child and live perfectly according to a set of rules which are impossible to practically follow.

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But for me this is a comic version of American Psycho, just another film that hate on people that are successful and like looking after themselves.

Off topic, but if you think the characters in American Psycho are just "successful people looking after themselves" I think you missed the point of the movie. I've never seen a more perfect portrayal of Peter Keatings.

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@BlackinMind Perhaps if you carefully analyse the film. But most people are not Objectivists. I must say this will be interesting for me to study and come back to you. In the mean time here some things to consider how the film was received.

I would like to qoute wiki's American Psycho (film) article under 'Reception'

'Newsweek magazine's David Ansen wrote, But after an hour of dissecting the '80s culture of materialism, narcissism and greed, the movie begins to repeat itself. It becomes more grisly and surreal, but not more interesting'

'Bloody Disgusting ranked the film at number nineteen in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article praising "Christian Bale’s disturbing/darkly hilarious turn as serial killer/Manhattan businessman Patrick Bateman, a role that in hindsight couldn’t have been played by any other actor... At its best, the film reflects our own narcissism, and the shallow American culture it was spawned from, with piercing effectiveness. Much of the credit for this can go to director Mary Harron, whose off-kilter tendencies are a good complement to Ellis’ unique style."'

Aslo I want to tie in with the post (see plot):

'The film cuts to Bateman's apartment, where he describes, in detail, his morning routine, which includes daily exercise, a healthy diet, and an extensive cleansing ritual.'



*Ultimately it leaves the audience with the impression that people who are successfull and look after themselves must have some psychological flaw underlying their motivation for success.*

But i think it will still be interesting for me to study further.

Thank you  Blackinmind.

Edited by Superman123
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Eh, I think there is a lot of interesting things to discuss in the American Psycho movie.

I never really felt that people who look after themselves were psychologically flawed at all..

I came away with the impression that people tend to want things and be driven to do things without knowing why. It also seemed that the movie was pointing out that to a large degree, people go through life on auto pilot with no real appreciation for what they have and only have it as a status symbol in the first place..

I do think there is a tendency by people to assume that people who are in shape are trying to compensate for something..

but, as I said.. that is more because people justify their own reasons for not being in shape.. and then take this malformed logic and apply it to people who *are* in shape and thus, the person who is over weight and has a real problem, now sees everyone else in the world through a filtered lens suggesting the people who are actually in shape have the problem.

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@Superman123 You're welcome :-). It's definitely one of my favorite films. I think the big giveaways to me that the characters in the film are complete second handers are the moments where Bateman mentions things such as "Because I want to fit in" or the fact that he is able to avoid being caught as a killer due to everyone constantly mistaking everyone else for each other. Its really clear the reason the characters are so obsessed with their looks, wealth, etc. is to impress others.

Also I'm a huge Peter Gabriel-era Genesis fan, and that whole scene where he analyses 80's Genesis cracks me up. "Before Phil Collins took over, they were too artsy for me" :lol:

Edited by BlackInMind
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This weekend I have again taken out the movie American Psycho. Funny that this film seems so much less gruesome now that I am older. When I was younger it seemed so very dark.

Firstly, as I have stated before, what bothers me the most about a movie like this is someone would look to this specific case of narcissism and generalize it, even if just subconsciously. The most grievous complaint that I have of the film is that there is not one character that is successful and motivated by a healthy self-esteem. Almost every character obsesses over the most superficial matter/thing in the film, for example Batman and his mates fuss over whose business card is the best. The only thing the film is successful in doing is showing the hateful nature of narcissism which is generalized as being a symptom in society.

The film does give us some interesting lines and themes. Some are ‘I just want to fit in’, Bateman thinking to himself ‘what’s inside does not matter’. *Anther very interesting theme: Bateman has a very intellectual understanding of music. He likes music and understands their themes very well. He clearly has a good understanding of politics, psychology and most certainly philosophy. Yet although he understand all these themes in the music so well it does not penetrate passed his own ‘skin’. It makes no difference to him whatsoever. * This is a classic symptom of narcissistic personality disorder. I think perhaps that is the redeeming character of this film is that you really get to see this disorder at work. Thinking over this I read up an article I have read which I would like to quote:

“The focus of such people is always externally motivated; i.e., on how they are perceived, rather than how they can improve, and it reveals a profound lack of self-esteem and an overriding fear of life itself. For if anyone can be a threat, if anyone can take what you have, then you never really had a firm grip on it (and thus the right to it) in the first place.” - A QUESTION OF CHARACTER: The Objectivist Versus The Machiavellian by John Little, You can find the article here http://www.mikementzer.com This is almost a mini summary of the theme of the film.

Now looking at Keating, is he like Bateman? Well at first he seems to be. Although Keating does seem to have many similar characteristics the difference between Bateman and Keating is that Bateman definitely has a narcissistic psychological disorder and Keating does not. This is some thing that I personally had to learn in my own life. There is a *BIG* difference between someone that is behaving narcissistically and someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder. Bateman is incapable of love and real feelings; his feelings are a haze of greed and hate not much more. Bateman understand what he does and his predicament. He says right in the start of the film that he is no more than a floating abstraction that there nothing inside. Keating is capable of feelings and does love Catherine Halsey, Ellsworth Toohey's niece. Keating does not know his own predicament. Keating is misguided and does seem to act narcissistically but Keating and Bateman are worlds apart.

For me the American Psycho lacks a Howard Roark. Someone who is fit, healthy and successful with a good self-esteem. This is why this film hates on everybody that strives to be successful or even just want to look good.

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I have looked again at why I like being fit and weight training. Simply because I like doing it. I like training and seeing my body respond to exercise. I like riding bike and how it feels to have the wind blowing through my hair. Perhaps I have become too uptight worrying about the science of it, the psychology and philosophy of it. Fitness is the first thing that I really loved and liked doing and somehow I let other people’s opinions interfere. I do like the benefits that I get from it. Like being at a club and being able to take off my shirt but so what. I only live once.

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• The ancient Romans used to say: “A healthy spirit is in healthy body”. I’d add to this that a healthy body is a beautiful body. Beautiful means harmony and beautiful form usually means perfect function. In “The Fountainhead” Roark’s structures were beautiful because their forms reflected their function. In regard to the human body beauty means optimal function which promotes and enriches the goodness of the human’s life. Here is the point where aesthetics becomes ethics. For man a beautiful body means good life. Therefore a desire to have an esthetical shaped body represents a deep, often subconscious benevolent sense of life and healthy self-esteem. A man, who is training even for the sole purpose to have beautiful toned body, loves himself and his life. However, there is another type of body builders. They are pumping iron as like as their very life depends on it and consume steroids in industrial quantities... They develop incredible unnatural mass of bulging muscles. The ugly sight speaks loudly that their bodies are unhealthy. Even more disgusting the sight of women who engage in this kind of “sport”. The question why do they do it? I don’t have one simple answer. Endorphin addiction is maybe one of them. A desire to punish oneself maybe another. But more likely, that such a people try to acquire in such a way the self esteem which they don’t have. Self-esteem is a deep metaphysical sense that the life is good and one is inherently equipped to live and to enjoy one’s life. Self-esteem is inseparable from the sense of life. People who punish themselves in gyms apparently don’t have it. Their attempt to substitute the self-esteem by the ugly disproportionally bulging muscles is a failure. They don’t work out in order to live and enjoy but live in order to work out.

In regard to “American Psycho”-I never saw the movie, but from the description I understand that a hero belongs to the kind of men which I just described.This also reminds me the situation with American Superheroes (Superman,Batman, Spederman etc...)They all seeking a self-esteem via altruism. The problem of Batman and the other superheroes is not the inability to love. Their real trouble is that they constantly have to choose between their own private happiness and the selfless service to humanity which gives them the false sense of self-esteem. Usually altruism wins which is not surprising, since this is a dominant philosophy of our times. Batman at least managed to marry his sweetheart in the 3rd or 4th sequel. Superman never made it...shame...

Edited by Leonid
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