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When we use existential as in existential psychology, existential alienation or an existential vacuum, we the authors mean only that the topic under discussion relates to the satisfying, mediocre or disappointing lifestyle men and women choose or have thrust upon them by society. For us, existential or life style values, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and choices have no connection with the purposeless European philosophy formerly called existentialism or know now as secular nihilism.
The anti-spiritual or too pragmatic devotees of nihilism which is a selfish belief in disbelief (or of meaninglessness) have devastated entire nineteenth and twentieth century generations with a hundred million battle deaths plus a great many political, religious and financial disasters within many nations. Life can still become nasty, brutish and short for many na?ve or simply unfortunate women and men from a society that seems to have lost the ability to serve its members with wisdom.
Consider the sad fate of the millions of families who have lost their employment,life savings, educational opportunities and homes since 2008 because of the greed of a relatively few narcissistic investment bankers like Bernie Madoff and his ruthless narcissist peers who dominate the American Congress so completely that our much despised legislators have only a nine or ten percent approval rating by their victims.
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It was Sigmund Freud who resurrected the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus who was so enamored with his own beauty and charm that he rejected the worth of all other persons and eventually destroyed himself. Freud wove this all too common human failing into his psychoanalysis treatment system to represent the many neurotic souls who remain too selfish to co-operate with women and men in sound relationships and ventures.
The narcissistic scams that caused the world wide financial disaster of 2008 -- with a double dip recession threatened across Europe in 2011 and 1912 when few new jobs were created -- were neither acts of God nor the normal vicissitudes of fate. They were orchestrated by no more than three hundred or so wicked investment banker sharks and their greedy remoras. These were the primary users and abusers One percent of society who invented the mortgage bundling and other wicked schemes that sabotaged the world?s financial system in order to increase their already vast personal and institutional fortunes. Those greedy investment bankers certainly verified the old French witticism:
Behind every vast fortune is someone?s limitless greed and his great crime.
This was surely the case during the early twenty-first century mortgage scam that ravaged the world by those three hundred or so financial manipulators who control so much wealth that they fancy themselves beyond the physical, political, legal, financial and pychospiritual values and traditions that keep most ordinary persons honest stewards of their responsibilities and rewards.
These financial narcissists that included reactionary politicians, fundamental preachers and ideological plutocrats -- certainly did not feel required to obey the rules and regulations of governance and business that keep the peasants of society laboring for as little income as possible! The limitless narcissism of no more ideologues who could be carried aboard one Boeing 747 on a single flight, has made it much more difficult for we honest, hard working people to find consistent sources of life-style satisfaction for ourselves, our families and our institutions.
We reasonably well adjusted homosapien creature-selves have always been self-centered to some degree, although the narcissistic approach to existence emerged full blown from the anti-spiritual European assumption that we humans evolved by chance from a series of meaningless events - that we sentient beings appeared on earth because of a great Cosmic accident. Thus, a rigorous spirituality and sound ethics seemed pointless superstitions to deeply secular men and women. Both spirituality and ethics were often replaced by the less demanding feel-good esthetics of literature and the arts. Therefore, since the origins of life per se were considered a random event and human life a meaningless accident rather than spiritual and purposeful in nature -- the powerful triad of narcissistic users and abusers emerged in society; they prospered in virtually all research universities, governments, association, religions and corporations -- eventually deciding that our grubbing for personal possessions, power, prestige and pleasure could satisfy our souls. Thus, it seemed to make sense to secular minded manipulators that ordinary people should be satisfied by simply eating, drinking, fornicating and being merry because tomorrow we die. The narcissistic triad that we shall later discuss in greater detail include the following narcissists with their most damaging yearnings that well up out of their badly wounded souls --
REACTIONARY POLITICIANS WHO CRAVE TOTAL POWER OVER HUMANITY
FUNDAMENTAL PREACHERS WHO CRAVE OBEDIENCE AS GOD?S PROPHETS
IDEOLOGICAL PLUTOCRATS WHO CRAVE ENOUGH WEALTH TO DEFY DEATH
The cleverly orchestrated financial assault pre-2008 against society eventually self-destructed because great greed creates conflicting bubbles that inevitably burst after the perpetrators have taken to their golden parachutes. The recent financial manipulators simply couldn?t bring themselves to stop raiding our industrial civilization when they had already garnered enough wealth from ordinary families to cripple the entire world. This is why eight out of every ten contemporary Americans report that they are deeply frustrated with the way our nation?s politicians have stopped protecting the ordinary citizens who have neither the knowledge and wealth nor the time and strength needed to protect themselves from clever abusers who so corrupted our political system that the people cannot rely on it. Our many reactionary legislators have allowed this narcissistic triad of manipulators to cripple our once affluent middle class with its vast purchasing power that for decades kept America prosperous. As the great Elizabethan Era Lord McCauley wrote - virtually every dynasty, society, company or religion eventually commits suicide when the vested aristocracy refuses to adapt as circumstances shift and the powerful elite must change their ways or perish.
Much personal and communal cooperation simply fades away among the secular users and abusers who live primarily for possessions, power, prestige and pleasure -- who often plunge ruthlessly along without a lasting sense of spiritual purpose for their labors and permanence in their relationships. Faith, hope and love are considered delusions of weak souls who haven?t the ruthlessness and strength to wrest everything they desire from a na?ve society. The peasants shall have to be satisfied with their weak families and friends, their work and simple games and their absurd worship -- while the manipulators skim the cream off the top. This is still the rationalization of wounded souls who are driven neurotically to seize so much wealth and power from society that they can never be challenged again. Not even by death! Of course this self-defeating narcissism of crippled creature-selves appeals to the young, restless and discontented as well as to many narcissistic adults who are determined to become powerful and prestigious in life regardless of whom they use and abuse along the way.
Living for more and more possessions, power, pleasure and prestige alone, rather than completing purposeful activities and developing permanent relationships, goes against the grain of every personalized or living religion and every legitimate philosophy of existence. Normally healthy women and men are first, last and always spiritual creature-selves who need both the mystical and earthy aspects of life within the Cosmos in order to become completely human. Unfortunately, narcissism and nihilism do virtually nothing to open avenues of personal meaning in places where we belong communally among good people with whom we share love, labor and leadership.
Nevertheless -- despite our inevitable frustrations and challenges of a life crippled by its obvious legitimate secular and materialistic needs, the application of Frankl and DeVille Logotherapy concepts and processes does indeed remove many discontents and frustrations through a sound psychospiritual development of personal meaning in places where we belong among good persons. Download Your Search For A Meaningful Life, to read more.
Mini-Quiz WRITE A SAMPLE SENTENCE OR TWO THAT DEFINES THE TERM ?EXISTENTIAL", ?TO YOUR SATISFACTION.
WHEN HAVE YOU HAD TO COPE WITH THE EVIL NARCISSISTIC TRIAD OF REACTIONARY POLITICIANS, FUNDAMENTAL PREACHERS AND IDEOLOGICAL PLUTOCRATS? THEIR VICTIMS.
Jard DeVille has published more than a score of psychology books, seminars and psychological assessment instruments. His book NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST was a powerful best seller. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LEADERSHIP was New American Library's offering in their Executive Development Series. Download Your Search For A Meaningful Life and visit Logotherapy Learning Center and The Fulfillment Forum for Free Ebooks.