Back to Christopher Lasch, The Narcissistic Personality of Our Time: Table of Contents

Recent critics of the new narcissism not only confuse cause and effect, attributing to a cult of privatism developments that derive from the disintegration of public life; they use the term narcissism so loosely that it retains little of its psychological content. Erich Fromm, in The Heart of Man, drains the idea of its clinical mean­ing and expands it to cover all forms of “vanity,” “self-admira­tion,” “self-satisfaction,” and “self-glorification” in individuals and all forms of parochialism, ethnic or racial prejudice, and “fa­naticism” in groups. In other words, Fromm uses the term as a synonym for the “asocial” individualism which, in his version of progressive and “humanistic” dogma, undermines cooperation, brotherly love, and the search for wider loyalties. Narcissism thus appears simply as the antithesis of that watery love for hu­manity (disinterested “love for the stranger”) advocated by Fromm under the name of socialism.